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Orioles offered three years to Nelson Cruz, still negotiating with Nick Markakis

Orioles rumors are trickling out from the GM meetings in Phoenix. Updates on the team's negotiations with Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis.

Rob Carr

Before Nelson Cruz became a free agent, the Orioles made a three-year offer to him for an unspecified amount of money. That's according to ESPN's Buster Olney, who also adds that the Orioles are continuing to negotiate with Nick Markakis, though there are unresolved issues that include deferred money.

Cruz is probably out there looking for a four-year deal, but that doesn't mean he's going to find one. If there are several three-year deals and the O's offer is competitive, or if they're willing to up their offer to compete with others, then we may yet get to see more of Cruz as an Oriole. Olney described the O's stance as "sitting back and waiting", which is effectively how they ended up with Cruz in the first place, although he's going to cost a bit more money this time around.

Still, for a 34-year-old defensive liability, it's hard to imagine four years will be easy for him to come by. The Orioles are in the game until it turns out they aren't.

With Markakis, if it's down to dickering over deferred dollars, don't you have to figure they are close to reaching a deal? When this negotiating might be taking place when his agent is not scheduled to meet with the Orioles this week is unknown - though plans can change in a hurry, anyway. O's reporters have consistently said that the team and Markakis have been discussing a four-year deal.

There might still be other issues than the deferred money schedule, though. Hot stove season is full of conflicting rumors that are impossible to parse. Until someone signs a contract and the ink is dry, the rest is just smoke. Still, if we're to go off of these, it seems like the door isn't closed for the O's to retain their outfield free agents.

Separately, there is this from Andy Martino of the New York Daily News:

Orioles beat writers appear to be silent on any news and rumors coming out of the GM meetings in Phoenix as a result of none of them being there, although they're all on top of an Orioles PR guy leaving to take a job with minor league baseball.