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Braves sign Nick Markakis to one-year deal with option for 2020

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The Atlanta Braves have signed free agent outfielder Nick Markakis to a one-year deal with an option for 2020. He’ll make $4 million in 2019 and would make $6 million in 2020 if the option is picked up. There is a $2 million buyout, guaranteeing him $6 million.

Either way, that brings Markakis back to where he’s been for the past four seasons.

This past season was an All-Star campaign in which Markakis hit .297/.366/.440 (117 OPS+) with 14 homers and 93 driven in. He was, without question, a big part of the Braves’ unexpected NL East championship, though it’s worth noting that much of that impressive line came from a hot start and a good first half. After the All-Star break he hit just .258/.332/.369 (94 OPS+), which was closer to what he had done the previous couple of seasons. The upshot: it was a nice year for the now-35-year-old, but it was probably a bit of a late career fluke.

Not that he does not have value. Markakis played in all 162 games for the Braves last year and has long been seen as a leader in the clubhouse. With other, possibly better outfield options like Andrew McCutchen and Michael Brantley going elsewhere, and with reported flirtations with guys like Marwin Gonzalez apparently going nowhere, Markakis was an understandable fallback option for the Braves.

Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season

Kopech has opted out
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Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.

The statement from general manager Rick Hahn. said “we recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”

Kopech, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.

Now, however, Kopech has opted out.