Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Nick Markakis and Adam Loewen, 2004 Topps #691

Here's proof positive that Nick Markakis has been an Oriole for a long time. The O's grabbed him with the seventh overall pick in the June 2003 amateur draft. That year, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays took Delmon Young with the first pick. Eleven years later, there's no such team as the Devil Rays, and Delmon is probably en route to his sixth team after spending this past season as Baltimore's pinch hitting ace. Later in the first round of that 2003 draft, the Montreal Expos spent the 20th overall selection on pitcher Chad Cordero. That one's a two-fer: a defunct team and a player who's out of baseball altogether despite making the All-Star Team in the Nationals' inaugural 2005 campaign. Just to hammer the point home, Markakis shared his rookie card with the Birds' previous first-round pick, Canadian junior college pitcher Adam Loewen. In the last decade, Loewen has switched from a pitcher to an outfielder/first baseman and back to pitcher again. As the longest-tenured member of the Orioles, Nick Markakis has enjoyed a level of stability that is foreign to Loewen, Young, Cordero, and scores of other baseball players.

Today, Nick celebrates his 31st birthday in an odd sort of limbo. The O's have bought out the $17.5 million option on his contract for 2015, paying $2 million for the privelege of making their senior player a free agent. Rumors and whispers make it seem like all but a foregone conclusion that #21 will stay in Baltimore, with a four-year contract in the $40-48 million range. But if it were so cut and dry, why would it take several weeks and counting to put it to paper? I know that the Orioles typically move at their own pace, but it seems like they're leaving things to chance. I'm sure some fans panicked when word leaked that Markakis' agent was meeting with other teams last week, though you'd have to chalk that up to due diligence.

I expect Nick Markakis to patrol right field in Camden Yards in 2015, just as he has ever since 2006. But until he signs on the dotted line, he is not officially on the team. He is still an Oriole, and yet he isn't. If I'm impatient and anxious about it, I can't imagine how Nick himself feels.

No comments: