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Nick Markakis suitors now include Braves, Giants, Blue Jays, Orioles

Nick Markakis is picking up suitors like a wealthy heiress, which is actually pretty weird, especially since he's out there trying to get someone to give HIM tens of millions of dollars. The Orioles are still in the mix, supposedly.

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There wasn't much point in other teams trying to chase after Nick Markakis as long as it seemed like a certainty that he'd end up back with the Orioles. However, now that the momentum is stalled on a return to Baltimore, teams are coming around. Combining reports from several outlets, there's a picture of the market for Markakis. Teams chiefly involved are the Braves, Giants, Blue Jays, and the O's.

The Braves even sent a group including manager Fredi Gonzalez to dine with Markakis near his Monkton home on Monday night, according to the Baltimore Sun. Why do they care about him? Well, they traded away Jason Heyward and may end up trading away Justin Upton, so there's some room in the outfield. Markakis grew up in Georgia and reportedly has a home in the area there as well, so while the O's are the only organization he knows, there is the pull of where he's from.

Fox Sports' Jon Morosi is the latest to put the Giants as being in discussions with Markakis' representation. San Francisco, you just won a World Series and one way you go for another is to go out and try to get Nick Markakis? Well, they also have a departing outfielder in Michael Morse, though that space might be filled with Gregor Blanco,  whose performance was comparable to Markakis but will come much cheaper and for fewer years, since he's already under team control.

Jon Heyman placed the Jays in the Markakis sweepstakes on Tuesday. Toronto has already made a splash this offseason with its signing of Russell Martin and the recent trade for Josh Donaldson. They need an outfielder, with Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus both departing. Not that Markakis can play center field, but hey, he could man the opposite corner from Jose Bautista.

And of course, the O's remain in the mix, or at least that's what Dan Duquette is telling people. Following a Sun report from earlier in the week about the O's being less than 50-50 to retain Markakis, Duquette told O's reporters including Brittany Ghiroli that "rumors of our demise are largely exaggerated."

Largely, but not entirely? No, let's not split hairs over what Duquette says, because he just says words out of an obligation to say something, not out of a desire to communicate what he believes to be true to an audience. Maybe he just felt like paraphrasing Mark Twain. Who doesn't? Honesty is the best policy only when there's money in it. That was also Twain.

Anyway, the Orioles will either sign Markakis or not, and that will either be a good decision or not. Maybe he is moving towards making a decision with all of these suitors, or not. The offseason is fun. No one knows anything but everyone loves telling what they know all the same.