Breaking: Braves’ Nick Markakis opts-out of 2020 season

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As the Braves arrive at Spring Training 2.0, several players are being forced to decide whether to participate in the 2020 season. On July 4th, veteran pitcher and Hall-of-Fame hopeful, Felix Hernandez, decided he will not be playing in 2020. Today, another veteran has chosen to forgo the opportunity and sit out the season — Nick Markakis.

On the decision, manager Brian Snitker said he respected it “150%” while also expressing just how much the team will miss him, calling him “the backbone for our club.”

The 14-year veteran has put together a hell of a career, compiling 160+ hits in 11 of those seasons, including four of them in his five years with the Braves (the one exception being last season when he only played in 116 games).

Atlanta signed Markakis to a one-year contract extension this summer worth $4 million. He wasn’t guaranteed a spot in the everyday starting lineup as he used to be. Still, with the DH coming to the National League, there was certainly a role for him to receive plenty of at-bats, especially against right-handed pitching.

Because Markakis is not viewed as a “high-risk candidate,” he will not be paid or receive service time. It will be intriguing to see how the Braves decide to replace him, whether they roll with someone already in the organization — like Rafael Ortega or perhaps even give top-prospect, Cristian Pache an opportunity.

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