3. Nick Markakis
Atlanta’s Nick Markakis has cleared waives and thus is available. The Braves have already dealt outfielder Jeff Francouer for two prospects in a three-way deal with the Rangers and Marlins. Why wouldn’t they also cash in Markakis?
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Getting Markakis would be an insurance policy against a late-season crash from second year outfielder Paulo Orlando. While Orlando is slashing a solid .315/.341/.420, his high .397 BABIP and relative lack of experience make some analysts wonder when his bubble will burst. Even with his inflated batting average, Fangraphs.com rates him as a slightly above average offensive player with a 102 wRC+ (runs created).
If Dayton Moore shares that skepticism, he could bring in Markakis as a veteran, league-average lefty bat that could become a platoon partner for Orlando. I’d expect Moore to send down outfielder Billy Burns if the Royals add Markakis.
The Problem With Nick Markakis
The problem is, Markakis is hardly an exciting option. He’s hitting .273/.346/.399 with a mere 9 home runs in 479 at bats for the Braves this season. However, his .346 OBP would make him a solid leadoff candidate for the Kansas City Royals.
Another issue is that Markakis has two-years and $22 million remaining on his contract after the end of the 2016 season. The KC Royals might not want to add that much salary with many of their core players hitting free-agency after the 2017 season. That money might be better spent keeping selected players in Royals Blue rather than paying a 32-year-old outfielder.
Next: Trade Target No. 2