In a recent interview with Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Braves outfielder Nick Markakis expressed frustration about how his contract talks with the Orioles broke down over the winter by saying, “Don’t believe a word they say…It was all because of my neck.” He apologized for those comments today.
According to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com, Markakis said he was responding to a specific comment from a reporter, who was told by a member of the Orioles’ front office that the team didn’t want to offer a four-year deal and was only willing to go three years. When Markakis was asked whether this was what caused talks to break down, it set him off:
“What I said wasn’t directed at any way to the Orioles organization or ownership. It’s just one of those things where I kind of said sarcastically, ‘B.S., I wouldn’t believe everything you hear. Don’t believe them.’
“I just want to put it behind me and I apologize for what I did, but there’s a reason why it came out of my mouth. I’m just tired of people thinking they know what happened.”
Clearly the Orioles were also concerned about Markakis’ neck — Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette has since acknowledged as much — but that information didn’t come out until he signed with the Braves. Based on what we know now, it sounds like the Orioles didn’t do anything out of line here. By not telling the whole story at the time, they were respecting his privacy. But Markakis had a lot of history with the Orioles and he was obviously interested in staying, so you can’t blame him for being emotional about it. Getting $44 million guaranteed and the chance to play closer to home should make it feel a little better, though.