Orioles discussing four-year contract with impending free agent outfielder Nick Markakis

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From beat reporter Roch Kubatko of MASN comes word that the Orioles and impending free agent Nick Markakis have been “talking for weeks” about a new contract and that the current framework of the ongoing negotiations is a four-year deal. Kubatko expects that the two sides will reach an agreement “at some point in the not-too-distant future.”

Baltimore’s exclusive window to sign Markakis closes Monday at midnight, so it’s crunch time for these discussions. If a deal isn’t struck by Tuesday, the 30-year-old outfielder will officially hit the open market.

Markakis set career highs for homers (23) and RBI (112) as a 23-year-old in 2007 and hasn’t eclipsed those numbers in the seasons since, but he owns a solid .290/.358/.435 slash line in 1,365 total big league games.

The O’s declined a $17.5 million option on Markakis on Friday, but no hard feelings.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.