Due to traveling, I had not known about this until last night, but Nick Markakis re-upped with the Baltimore Orioles in 2008 for only $455,000.
The news would not be anything worthy, but considering the caliber of player Markakis has become, his status on the team, and deals signed by some of his peers in their third year it seems fairly low.
Keep in mind, the Orioles have not done anything wrong - they offered a player the a little above minumum amount for his third year, and the contract was signed.
However, you have to really think long and hard if the Orioles are playing a game of chicken with arguably their best player. Granted, Baltimore does not need to just pay someone a lot of money for the sake of it, but considering the value of players these days, you would have thought the right fielder would have gotten more.
According to the Sun's Dan Connolly, Nick Markakis is not happy at all:
'Markakis isn't chirping publicly about the perceived inequity, the way Philadelphia's Cole Hamels or Milwaukee's Prince Fielder has in similar circumstances. Those close to him, however, say Markakis was angered by the end result and, in his understated way, he said it.Markakis is a quiet guy, and I don't really know of him griping in the public domain until now, but considering the entire rebuilding Baltimore plan, and his position on the team, it might be prudent to work on a long term deal for the youngster sooner rather than later.
"That's just how the Orioles feel," he said. "I don't have much of a choice. I'm just going to have to deal with it."
It's a tough spot for the Orioles. Give Markakis more money and set a precedent for other, less talented players while potentially boosting his bottom line in arbitration.
The alternative is having an unhappy Markakis. One that feels disrespected. And bitterness festers -- that's been an Orioles' specialty over the years.'
As for the low salary, if the Orioles and he sit down at the table, gather some numbers, and get a deal done, all will be forgiven. However, considering the deal that Grady Sizemore received a few years ago, along with Troy Tulowitzki, and Chase Utley, one could easily understand Markakis' frustration.
If the Orioles blow their chances with Nick, (it is far too early to tell), it would be nothing but a full revolt by the fans in the region.
MacPhail knows what he's doing and did nothing wrong, but in this case, he and the organization better not misfire with Nick as this stuff has a way of festering for a long time.
Alas, at the same time though, Markakis will more than get his worth if he keeps up his stellar play.