The Braves retained outfielder Nick Markakis on a one-year, $4 million deal Monday, the deadline for the team to decide on his $6 million club option.
Markakis was paid his $2 million buyout and signed for $4 million, giving him equal earnings he would’ve received if his option was picked up.
The move, which mirrors how the Braves handled catcher Tyler Flowers’ option earlier in the day, saves $2 million on payroll. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal was the first to report Markakis’ new deal.
Markakis, who turns 36 this month, has patrolled the Braves outfield since 2015. He handled both corner spots in 2019.
It remains to be seen if the Braves will use Markakis in an every-day role or platoon. He’s coming off a season in which he hit .285/.356/.420 in 116 games. Markakis missed 43 games with a fractured wrist.
The Braves’ outfield is unset around Ronald Acuna, who can play any spot but seems ticketed for right field long term. Ender Inciarte is still under contract and remains the best option in center field. Markakis, at worst, is quality depth who checks every box for intangibles.
Cristian Pache and Drew Waters are the franchise’s prized outfield prospects, though it’s unlikely either breaks camp with the club. The Braves might opt against longer term players in the outfield spots because of the duo, which adds further justification to keeping Markakis on a modest deal.
The Braves on Monday declined the $12 million club option on Julio Teheran’s contract for 2020.
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