“Less than a 50-50 chance” that Nick Markakis returns to the Orioles

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FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday that Nick Markakis returning to the Orioles is no longer a foregone conclusion and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun now hears that there’s “less than a 50-50 chance” that the two sides will work out a new deal.

This is quite a shift from what we heard about a month ago, as the Orioles and Markakis were having serious discussions about a four-year deal worth between $10-12 million per season. However, Connolly hears there “have only been a few conversations since then.” No word on the exact reason for the change, but word is that the Orioles are hesitant to commit four years to Markakis.

With Nelson Cruz off the board, the Orioles’ alternatives to Markakis in the free agent market include the likes of Melky Cabrera, Alex Rios, Colby Rasmus, Torii Hunter, Nori Aoki, and Mike Morse. The club has also reportedly discussed a Matt Kemp trade with the Dodgers.

Markakis, 31, batted .276/.342/.386 with 14 home runs and 50 RBI over 155 games this past season. He has spent his entire nine-year major league career with the Orioles.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.