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.