The Orioles announced on Twitter that the organization has declined their half of the 2015 mutual option, worth $17.5 million, left on the contract of outfielder Nick Markakis. Instead, they will pay him a $2 million buyout, making him a free agent.
Markakis, who turns 31 in November, hit .276/.342/.386 with 14 home runs and 50 RBI in 710 plate appearances, helping the Orioles reach the ALCS for the first time since 1997. Markakis batted .258 in 31 post-season at-bats against the Tigers and Royals.
Markakis joins a free agent outfield class that includes former teammate Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, Torii Hunter, and Michael Cuddyer.
Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.
Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.
Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.
As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.