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MacPhail needs to get Markakis signed now

I'm going to be honest. I really, really thought Nick Markakis would have been signed to a long-term contract extension before the free agency signing period begins tomorrow. Boy, was I wrong. As of yesterday, the Orioles hadn't even made the right fielder a definitive offer. I think club president Andy MacPhail's deliberate nature serves him well in a lot of cases. I don't hear too many people complaining about the returns in the Erik Bedard and Miguel Tejada trades, which took quite a while. But this is one case where I think MacPhail and the Orioles would be best served throwing caution to the wind. Use the seven-year, approximate $70 million deal that the Toronto Blue Jays signed outfielder Alex Rios to as a model and get it done. Markakis wants to be an Oriole long term and though he won't say it publicly, the closer he gets to free agency and the more both sides spend mulling over concepts and parameters, the more of a chance that the young outfielder changes his mind.

-- Jeff Zrebiec

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