Nick Markakis is opting back in to the 2020 season

Nick Markakis is opting back in
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I expected more players to opt out this week. I certainly wasn’t expecting to hear that Nick Markakis is opting back in.

David O’Brien of The Athletic reports that Markakis is rejoining the Braves, three weeks after he opted out. In so doing he becomes the first of the 14 major-league players who have so far opted-out to change his mind. “Markakis felt as if he had let the team down, particularly as he watched the Braves on TV during their opening 2-3 road trip,” O’Brien writes.

That contrasts with his comments back on July 6, when he opted out. In announcing his decision then Markakis said, “with everything that’s going on not just in baseball but in the world, it makes you open your eyes. I’ve got three kids that I’ve missed for 11 years now.” It was also reported at the time that the fact that teammate Freddie Freeman fell ill with COVID-19 shook Markakis. Freeman has since recovered and is playing. No doubt that has impacted his decision as well.

Markakis, a 14-year big league veteran who turned 36 this past offseason, hit .285/.356/.420 with nine homers and 62 RBI over 116 games in 2019. He’s under contract for $4 million in 2020, which was to be prorated to 60 games. Which now, I suppose, it’ll be further prorated.

Either way, Nick Markakis is opting back in. What a week this has been.

Padres claim 2-time All-Star catcher Gary Sánchez off waivers from Mets

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — The scuffling San Diego Padres claimed catcher Gary Sánchez off waivers from the New York Mets.

The two-time All-Star was designated for assignment after playing in three games for the Mets. He went 1 for 6 with three strikeouts and an RBI, looking shaky at times behind the plate.

With the disappointing Padres (24-29) getting meager offensive production at catcher, they hope Sánchez can provide a boost. Austin Nola is batting .131 with three extra-base hits and a paltry .434 OPS in 39 games. His part-time platoon partner, second-stringer Brett Sullivan, is hitting .170 with four extra-base hits and a .482 OPS in 21 games since getting called up from the minors April 16.

Luis Campusano has been on the injured list since April 17 and is expected to be sidelined until around the All-Star break following left thumb surgery.

San Diego is responsible for just over $1 million in salary for Sánchez after assuming his $1.5 million, one-year contract.

The star-studded Padres have lost seven of 11 and are 3-3 on a nine-game East Coast trip. They open a three-game series at Miami.

San Diego becomes the third National League team to take a close look at the 30-year-old Sánchez this season. He spent time in the minors with San Francisco before getting released May 2 and signing a minor league contract a week later with the Mets, who were minus a couple of injured catchers at the time.

After hitting well in a short stint at Triple-A Syracuse, he was promoted to the big leagues May 19. When the Mets reinstated catcher Tomás Nido from the injured list last week, Sánchez was cut.

Sánchez’s best seasons came early in his career with the New York Yankees, where he was runner-up in 2016 AL Rookie of the Year voting and made the AL All-Star team in 2017 and 2019.

He was traded to Minnesota before the 2022 season and batted .205 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs in 128 games last year.

With the Padres, Sánchez could also be a candidate for at-bats at designated hitter, where 42-year-old Nelson Cruz is batting .245 with three homers, 16 RBIs and a .670 OPS, and 37-year-old Matt Carpenter is hitting .174 with four homers, 21 RBIs and a .652 OPS.