When the Orioles didn't re-sign Nick Markakis after he became a free agent last year, there was a decent reason to believe they could replace his production at a fraction of the cost. The Orioles outfield situation did not end up validating this belief. It's not like they would have suddenly been a playoff team if they only had Markakis, but it wouldn't have hurt, and with right field still unsettled, there's still some wistful longing on the part of O's fans for the player who was once here.
That longing has persisted all through this offseason too, as much as it's seemed ridiculous to ponder that the O's might try to get back a guy for three years of a contract they didn't want to give out in the first place. Would the O's actually try to make a reunion happen? It seems too out there to believe, and yet, according to Peter Gammons, they at least made a token attempt:
Orioles tried to talk to Braves about reacquiring Nick Markakis.— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) March 1, 2016
As with nearly every baseball rumor, there are a lot of unknowns here. How deep into the process did the discussions get? If the O's just asked, "Hey, any chance you'd part with Markakis?" and the Braves said no chance, it doesn't tell us much about how much the O's were really interested. If the O's inquired and the Braves said, "Sure, if you give us Hunter Harvey," we again know they weren't THAT interested.
We don't even know when this "tried to talk" happened. Was it yesterday? Two months ago? And when Gammons says "nyet" is he shortening "not yet" or writing the Russian word for "no"?
Nor should they have been THAT interested, of course, because while Markakis posted a .296/.370/.376 batting line in 2015, that was fueled by a BABIP of .338 - a higher number than he'd posted since 2010, when he was actually, you know, fast. The guy hit only three home runs last year. He no longer has power. It makes almost no sense that he was able to walk nearly 10% of the time with no power.
There's some temptation to look at that on-base percentage and think it would look good at the top of the O's lineup. It would, if he could post that number a second straight year. Maybe he will. More power to him if he does. But that ship has sailed. Even if the Braves are looking to dump salary for some reason, the O's shouldn't go for that reunion. They can't afford to trade inventory from the farm to get a 32-year-old for three years about which they had medical concerns.
But, it is interesting that they at least asked.