“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.

Cubs acquire Martín Maldonado from the Royals

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Last night Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was placed on the injured list with a strained muscle in his right foot. That injury inspired the Cubs to go out and get another catcher. They acquired Martín Maldonado in a trade with Kansas City in exchange for lefty Mike Montgomery, in a deal that was announced after the Cubs loss to the Reds.

Maldonado, 32, was a Gold Glove winner in 2017 with the Angels. At the moment he’s hitting .227 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 74 games. Obviously, though, defense is his calling card, as he’s a .220 career hitter with 57 homers and 210 RBIs in 686 games.

Montgomery, 30, is 1-2 with a 5.67 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Cubs this year. He’s heading back to where his pro career began. He was drafted by Kanas City in 2008, though he was traded away in the James Shields/Wade David/Wil Myers deal in 2012. He made his big league debut for Seattle in 2015. Dayton Moore said last night that the Royals plan to use Montgomery in the rotation as a replacement for Homer Bailey, who was dealt to Oakland on Sunday.