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Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Braves re-sign outfielder Nick Markakis to one-year deal

The Braves retained outfielder Nick Markakis on a one-year, $4 million deal Monday, the deadline for the team to decide on his $6 million club option.

Markakis was paid his $2 million buyout and signed for $4 million, giving him equal earnings he would’ve received if his option was picked up.

The move, which mirrors how the Braves handled catcher Tyler Flowers’ option earlier in the day, saves $2 million on payroll. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal was the first to report Markakis’ new deal.

Markakis, who turns 36 this month, has patrolled the Braves outfield since 2015. He handled both corner spots in 2019.

The Bill Buckner of our times keeps rolling along….

 

QLE Posted: November 05, 2019 at 12:27 AM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, nick markakis

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   1. bfan Posted: November 05, 2019 at 08:22 AM (#5898688)
This makes it more likely that, after he gets to 3,000 hits, he goes into the HOF with a Braves hat.
   2. Zonk WARRIORS ALONE! Posted: November 05, 2019 at 08:30 AM (#5898689)
Huh.

I'm sure the comparison has been made before, but if not - kudos to QLE.... Bill Buckner is a pretty good Markakis approximate, when you do all the era adjustments and whatnot.
   3. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: November 05, 2019 at 08:34 AM (#5898690)
Is there some accounting reason for doing it this way? Like, does the team pay the $2M buyout in 2019 and the $4M salary in 2020, which they consider preferable to paying a $6M salary in 2020?
   4. flournoy Posted: November 05, 2019 at 08:46 AM (#5898693)
#3: Yes. They did the same thing with Tyler Flowers, who had the same deal as Markakis.

The Braves aren't in any danger of approaching the luxury tax threshold, unless I'm much mistaken, so I assume that isn't really part of the calculus. Presumably just budgeting/accounting details.
   5. DL from MN Posted: November 05, 2019 at 08:46 AM (#5898694)
Yes, this makes Markakis more tradeable to teams close to the salary cap than if it was a straight $6M salary.
   6. Zonk WARRIORS ALONE! Posted: November 05, 2019 at 09:06 AM (#5898701)
If Markakis wants to make a run at 3000 hits - not sure re-upping with Atlanta is the best place to do it... I presume - if they don't resign Donaldson - Riley moves back to 3B.... but both Poche and Waters might be up at some point in 2020.
   7. SoSH U at work Posted: November 05, 2019 at 09:58 AM (#5898734)
Markakis has been a much, much better player than Buckner, while still being spectacularly short of Hall worthy. I just want him to be known as the best Greek-American player ever (even if he isn't). Take that Milt Pappas.

If Markakis wants to make a run at 3000 hits - not sure re-upping with Atlanta is the best place to do it


I was hoping he'd take a series of jobs on tanking teams to get the requisite at bats.
   8. Zonk WARRIORS ALONE! Posted: November 05, 2019 at 10:13 AM (#5898745)
Markakis has been a much, much better player than Buckner, while still being spectacularly short of Hall worthy. I just want him to be known as the best Greek-American player ever (even if he isn't). Take that Milt Pappas.


Nah - I think that's at least one, maybe two muches too many.

He's aged better than Buckner.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 05, 2019 at 10:19 AM (#5898747)
If Markakis wants to make a run at 3000 hits

645 hits is a LOT of hits. I think it's more likely he ends up short of 2700 than he breaks 3000.
   10. bfan Posted: November 05, 2019 at 10:29 AM (#5898754)
If Markakis wants to make a run at 3000 hits

645 hits is a LOT of hits. I think it's more likely he ends up short of 2700 than he breaks 3000.


Yes, Markakis would have to really continue his late in life surge.

Markakis walks once every 10.4 plate appearances; Buckner walked once every 22.4 plate appearances. That is a pretty substantial difference in an important hitting skill that serves (at least in comparison to Buckner) to suppress Markakis's career counting stats.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: November 05, 2019 at 10:58 AM (#5898765)
Nah - I think that's at least one, maybe two muches too many.


I think you're seriously underestimating how bad Billy Buckner was. Nick Markakis has been a solid regular for his entire career, with a nice, albeit brief, peak.

Even at his best, Buckner was, to quote Bill James about Jerry Remy, a drain on his team's efforts.
   12. PreservedFish Posted: November 05, 2019 at 11:05 AM (#5898768)
Seems harsh for a guy that put up about 20 WAR in his prime.
   13. Zonk WARRIORS ALONE! Posted: November 05, 2019 at 11:11 AM (#5898769)
I think you're seriously underestimating how bad Billy Buckner was. Nick Markakis has been a solid regular for his entire career, with a nice, albeit brief, peak.


Meh - I think you're reading too much into Buckner's Boston days, when he *was* a drain... but he had a couple 3+ WAR seasons with LA and the Cubs and was generally a ~1.5 WAR player. Overrated, sure.

I'll agree that Markakis was a bit better - generally a ~2 WAR player...
   14. flournoy Posted: November 05, 2019 at 11:15 AM (#5898770)
Bill Buckner had 10 seasons of negative WAR. I wonder what the record is. Bill Bergen had 10 as well (out of 11 total). Rafael Belliard had eight.
   15. SoSH U at work Posted: November 05, 2019 at 11:18 AM (#5898771)
Meh - I think you're reading too much into Buckner's Boston days, when he *was* a drain... but he had a couple 3+ WAR seasons with LA and the Cubs and was generally a ~1.5 WAR player. Overrated, sure.


No. I'm not.

Bill Buckner was above average four times in his career, finishing with -17.1 WAA.

Markakis is an above average player for his full career 2.8 WAA.

That's a two-much gap.

   16. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: November 05, 2019 at 11:42 AM (#5898776)
Through age 35:

Player      G    PA    AB     H   2B  3B   HR    BA   OBP   SLG  OPS+  WAA   WAR
Buckner  2023  8315  7795  2296  423  44  146  .295  .326  .416  104  
-7.7  19.1
Markakis 2117  9180  8172  2355  499  22  188  .288  .358  .424  109   2.8  33.0 


About 1 win difference is from the positional adjustment. Those look like similar players, it's just that one is better than the other.
   17. Zonk WARRIORS ALONE! Posted: November 05, 2019 at 11:54 AM (#5898779)
That's a two-much gap.


I really cannot see going higher than one much - my range would be maybe .75 to 1.25 much.
   18. Baldrick Posted: November 05, 2019 at 12:22 PM (#5898791)
Bill Buckner had 10 seasons of negative WAR. I wonder what the record is. Bill Bergen had 10 as well (out of 11 total). Rafael Belliard had eight.

A couple of those were half-seasons in which he was traded. Without double-counting 84 and 88 he 'only' had eight negative WAR seasons.
   19. PreservedFish Posted: November 05, 2019 at 12:41 PM (#5898800)
I really cannot see going higher than one much - my range would be maybe .75 to 1.25 much.

I might go lower. I think a muchless comparison would not be inaccurate. Or at least a small enough fractional much to round down. Like .4 much.
   20. mathesond Posted: November 05, 2019 at 12:44 PM (#5898802)
I really cannot see going higher than one much - my range would be maybe .75 to 1.25 much.


I'm getting a bit of a Casablanca vibe here:

"What watch?"
"Ten watch"
"Such much?"
   21. Zonk WARRIORS ALONE! Posted: November 05, 2019 at 02:06 PM (#5898840)
I might go lower. I think a muchless comparison would not be inaccurate. Or at least a small enough fractional much to round down. Like .4 much.


Maybe... I suppose it depends on whether we want to give Billy Buck any credit for being a nominally decent corner OF before his foot and leg problems.

But that seems like a lot of work for Hall of Very Played a Long Time consideration!
   22. escabeche Posted: November 05, 2019 at 03:42 PM (#5898891)
I thought you guys were joking about 3,000 hits, but it's actually not totally impossible! That's crazy. I guess being somewhat above average and almost never getting injured for years and years adds up.

I often think about what if Markakis had had the kind of career it looked like he was going to have when he was 25.
   23. Walt Davis Posted: November 05, 2019 at 03:52 PM (#5898894)
The point is that, through age 32 (cherry-picked to his last good season), Buckner had 17 WAR, -4 WAA. That's not good obviously but it is not a "drain", it's just a slightly below-average player. It's nice to have above-average players everywhere but it's a rather rare phenomenon. After 32 he was below-replacement and while he was solid enough in 83 and 85, he was indeed a "drain" on his team. That period falls into the "they kept paying me a half-million, real money in those days, to take up a roster spot, I'm only human" bucket.

But yes, the main point that Markakis has been much better than Buckner stands. They have been reasonably similar hitters except for that pesky walk rate which gives Markakis a 35-point OBP advantage which is far from trivial. It's about 325 walks in place of 325 outs pro-rated to Markakis's PAs. (So also "trivial" in that, given the length of these careers, we're talking about less than one extra walk per week but 'tis a game of trivial differences.)

Now if we want a more modern Buckner-ish Markakis comparison, how about Adam Jones? Now we don't have to worry so much about how the power context has changed between Buckner-Markakis

NM 288/358/424, 109 OPS+, 8.1 Rbat/650 PA
AJ 277/317/454, 106 OPS+, 5.2 Rbat/650 PA

That gives us the rough comp of 40 points of OBP vs 30 points of SLG. Some of that is BA, mostly walks. That's about 27 extra free reaches vs. about 20 extra bases per year or one walk per week vs <1 XB per week (give or take). Jones of course makes up the WAR difference on running and defensive value, slightly more WAA.
   24. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 05, 2019 at 04:55 PM (#5898922)
645 hits is a LOT of hits. I think it's more likely he ends up short of 2700 than he breaks 3000.

Yep. We were having similar conversations about Johnny Damon for a while and then he had one terrible year at age 38 and nobody was willing to sign him (or at least, nobody was willing to sign him as an everyday player) after that.

Markakis has been pretty durable and his injury this season was a broken wrist on a HBP, so more of a fluke than anything else. Broken wrists can be bad for hitters but Markakis hit .292 in 11 games after returning, followed by .143 in 5 playoff games, so who knows? He showed no power after the injury but he didn't have much power before the injury either.
   25. jingoist Posted: November 05, 2019 at 06:02 PM (#5898930)
Thrilled that Nicky has had the career he has had to date.
Adam Jones and Nick played alongside one another for many years so we don’t need to work out a park factor or timeline for those years.
My concern about Nick getting to 3,000 would be based upon the current reluctance to give a 39 or 40 year old player the necessary playing time, especially given the current in-vogue focus on younger less costly players with potential upside versus an aging, skills decreasing player.
I agree with the poster who stated that 2,700 hits was a more realistic goal.
Good luck Nick; I’m rooting for you!
   26. Walt Davis Posted: November 05, 2019 at 08:04 PM (#5898948)
younger less costly players

He's already lowered his price to $4 (or $6) and it will continue to drop -- so cost isn't really going to be a factor in how many more PAs he gets. Performance and health will have a lot to do with it of course. He's probably about a 1 WAR player right now (if full-time) which keeps him a reasonable bench guy (say 450 PA) but not a guy you want starting. And obviously he's just a small decline from replacement level. Damon put up 5.5 WAR for 36-37 and was in the lineup every day. Markakis hasn't had back-to-back years like that since ages 26-27. On the one hand, it's kinda amazing he was pretty much the same player at 35 as he was at 28 but he wasn't a very good player at 28.
   27. SoSH U at work Posted: November 05, 2019 at 09:41 PM (#5898970)
I think Damon could have gotten a bit closer to 3,000, but every team knew he was 3K chasing in his last offseason, and I don't think they wanted to deal with how he would respond to not playing every day.

As I noted above, I think the only chance Markakis has is if he simply signs cheap deals with teams in tank mode over the next few years. Re-upping with the Braves suggests he may be more interested in ring hunting than stockpiling base knocks.

   28. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: November 07, 2019 at 11:33 AM (#5899388)
If Markakis wants to make a run at 3000 hits

645 hits is a LOT of hits. I think it's more likely he ends up short of 2700 than he breaks 3000.


If you look at Markakis' similars, you'll see most of them drove straight off the cliff at age 36, as ballplayers tend to do. Even Le Grande Orange, who played til he was 41 (!) managed only 270 hits from age 36 on. Al Oliver had 462, and he still fell way short of 3K. (Eight players had over 1,000: Rose, Anson, Sam Rice, Honus, Ichiro!, Molitor, Jim O'Rourke, Yaz.)
   29. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 07, 2019 at 08:20 PM (#5899594)
Re-upping with the Braves suggests he may be more interested in ring hunting than stockpiling base knocks.

Maybe, although I think he's originally from Georgia, too. But your point stands that yeah, doesn't seem like getting to 3,000 hits is his highest priority (which makes perfect sense when you're 645 away).
   30. Howie Menckel Posted: November 07, 2019 at 09:49 PM (#5899607)
Markakis's more interesting category is Doubles, where he is 4th among active players (Pujols, MCab, Cano)

needs 30 doubles to move up 21 places

non-HOFers in CAPS

43. AL OLIVER (18) 529 L
44. Frank Robinson+ (21) 528 R
45. DAVE PARKER (19) 526 L
46. Ted Williams+ (19) 525 L
47. Ken Griffey+ (22) 524 L
48. Willie Mays+ (22) 523 R
49. GARRETT ANDERSON (17) 522 L
JOHNNY DAMON (18) 522 L
Ed Delahanty+ (16) 522 R
52. SCOTT ROLEN (17) 517 R
53. Joe Cronin+ (20) 515 R
54. Edgar Martinez+ (18) 514 R
55. MARK GRACE (16) 511 L
JIMMY ROLLINS (17) 511 B
57. Rickey Henderson+ (25) 510 R
58. Babe Ruth+ (22) 506 L
59. Tony Perez+ (23) 505 R
60. Roberto Alomar+ (17) 504 B
61. Andre Dawson+ (21) 503 R
62. Goose Goslin+ (18) 500 L
JOHN OLERUD (17) 500 L
64. NICK MARKAKIS(14, 35) 499 L
RUSTY STAUB (23) 499 L

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