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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.

Zack Wheeler hits first career homer

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Mets starter Zack Wheeler wasn’t content with just dominating the Phillies on the mound Tuesday night in Queens. The 28-year-old decided to have himself a three-RBI night at the plate, too, including his first career home run.

With the Mets already leading 3-0 with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, Wheeler lifted a first-pitch Zach Eflin fastball out to left-center field, landing well beyond the 370-foot sign on the wall. Wheeler had previously helped his own cause, lacing a two-run double down the right field line off of Eflin in the second inning.

Wheeler entered the night with 22 hits in 194 career trips to the plate. Of his 22 hits, five went for extra bases (all doubles). On the mound, through six innings, Wheeler has held the Phillies scoreless on five hits with no walks and 11 strikeouts.

Todd Frazier broke the game open in the fifth inning, hitting a grand slam off of Drew Anderson to push the Mets’ lead to 8-0. If the Phillies lose tonight, they will have lost five of their last six games.