For those of you that have been despondent about the Braves pivoting to Nick Markakis to fill their corner outfield vacancy, we understand. Markakis’ second half last year was pretty rough and his production overall in his time in Atlanta has been fairly meh. However, as several of us have stated publicly before, there are plenty of fruitful paths this offseason that signing Markakis to such a cheap deal allows for.
We don’t know for sure what the Braves will ultimately do. If the team signs Markakis and adds no other significant pieces, those pessimists amongst you will be absolutely right in seeing this offseason as a missed opportunity to improve the team’s roster coming off a year which saw the Braves win the division.
However, the offseason is far from over and there are some interesting tidbits floating around on the internet.
It's just the Nationals and Phillies in the N.L. East.— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) January 25, 2019
The Braves have been at least on the periphery of the Manny Machado sweepstakes, and could have another move in them if not MM.https://t.co/MTinlq9WiB
Now, this report brings about more questions than it answers. If Martino’s report is accurate, that would likely bring into question the future of Dansby Swanson with Josh Donaldson locked into the third base job. Nothing sounds imminent (what ever does with this front office’s strangehold on information?), but that the Braves are continuing to at least involve themselves in discussions for guys like Pollock or Machado does make one think that the Braves may be able to spend more than is being let on even if their willingness has yet to be determined.
Anthopoulos’ comments immediately after the Markakis signing were interesting in that it was clear that they had a very specific number in mind for bringing back Nick. With the timing of Pollock’s signing with the Dodgers seemingly after the Braves had agreed with Markakis (the reporting has been that Markakis and the Braves agreed to terms on Sunday evening), its possible that the Braves now have a clearer path ahead and it seems possible that Machado is a possible option.
Or this is nothing and we will laugh about this one day. Either way, Machado slashed .297/.367/.538 in 2018 with the Orioles and Dodgers on his way to a 5.7 rWAR season.