The Atlanta Braves front office hit the ground running this off-season. A couple of weeks after the season ended, the club traded away fan favorite Jason Heyward. Then, one of the team’s most productive hitters, Justin Upton. In both deals, president of baseball operations John Hart acquired high-ceiling pitching prospects. He also grabbed SP Shelby Miller from the Cardinals. Miller should have an immediate impact on the Braves rotation in 2015.
After dealing JHey, the franchise signed veteran outfielder Nick Markakis. Markakis grew up in Woodstock, Georgia and followed the Braves throughout his childhood. His veteran presence will play a key role in the clubhouse filled with young players. He should fill the gap nicely and will provide a solid punch offensively.
Terms of the Deal
On December 3, 2014, Atlanta signed Markakis to a 4-year/$44 million deal.
Nick Markakis: A Class Act
It’s no secret that the Atlanta Braves go after admirable players. Markakis is a player that meets the “Braves way” that Hart is trying to rebuild. After Markakis departed Baltimore, he took out a two-page ad in The Baltimore Sun to thank Orioles fans and the organization.
The former Orioles outfielder returns to Camden Yards for a three-game series beginning July 27th. I expect him to receive a standing ovation.
Awards and Career Highlights
Markakis will flash his Rawlings’ leather glove in the outfield. Although he may not cover as much ground as Heyward, Markakis brings two Gold Gloves with him from Baltimore, earning his second Gold Glove this past season.
A career .290 hitter, Markakis is well-known for being a gritty hitter that does a great job working the count and getting on base. Additionally, he has not recorded more than 100 strike outs in a season since 2008. His plate discipline is evident as he posted a .342 OBP in 2014.
What to Expect
Steamer projections have Markakis with a 1.1 WAR. Which is down from his 2.5 WAR in 2014. Here’s a look at his 2015 projected slash line:
.266 AVG / .312 HRs / 71 Runs / 55 RBIs / .333 OBP
Much of Markakis success will depend on A) where he is batting in the lineup and B) how the other hitters perform. I’d like to see him batting 2nd where he’s posted a .384 OBP and a .313 average during his nine year career.
I was pleased with this signing as he’s a workhorse and brings leadership to a young team.