Braves fans complained for years that Nick Markakis was “overpaid”. The reality is that he has been a model of consistency for Atlanta. Now that he is fully recovered from a neck injury that he suffered from a few years ago when signed, he is playing like he did back during his glory days with Baltimore.
Markakis must have changed the minds of these pessimistic fans because he is now leading all outfielders in the National League in All-Star voting. It would be the first All-Star appearance of his career.
He also chose a great time to surge as he is in a contract year with the Braves. But he has been so instrumental to the team’s success this season that they would be crazy to let him walk.
So how about a slight pay raise? For Markakis, who will turn 35 this offseason, that could be hard to turn down. Markakis has made $11 million annually in the contract he is playing out with Atlanta. So a 2-year contract in the $20-30 million range makes sense, and a team option could be the icing on the cake. At the end of the day, that may turn out to be a bit of an overpay. It is possible he would be available for less, but either way, it would be a short-term deal and there is no arguing that he deserves it.
The Braves have few short-term needs to be filled. This would fill a hole for Atlanta as they wait for Cristian Pache and Drew Waters to develop in the minors. Atlanta really does not have any outfield prospects of high caliber in the upper levels, making this even more of a no-brainer.
Fans would hate to see what this season would be like without Markakis in the lineup. The Braves should pony up some of the cash they have been saving in smart deals to keep the team chemistry intact.