Former teammates miss Nick Markakis at Orioles' annual FanFest event

At FanFest on Saturday, several Orioles players talked about former teammate Nick Markakis, who signed with the Atlanta Braves.
At FanFest on Saturday, several Orioles players talked about former teammate Nick Markakis, who signed with the Atlanta Braves. (David Goldman, Associated Press)

The departure of right fielder Nick Markakis, who after nine seasons with the Orioles signed a four-year, $44 million contract this winter with the Atlanta Braves, had a significant impact on the players he left behind in Baltimore.

"It's going to be different in the locker room," catcher Matt Wieters said. "Ever since I've been out here, he's been in his same locker. It'll be different going in there. At the same time, I wish the best for him. Nick was a great teammate, he's a great friend, and we'll stay in touch."


Markakis was the longest-tenured Orioles player and one of the club's most consistent performers, with seven seasons of more than 150 games played and a batting average that was never lower than .271 at season's end. A career .290 hitter, Markakis won a pair of Gold Glove awards in right field, and he was a big part of the clubhouse as well.

"To be honest, it was [sad] for me," right-hander Chris Tillman said. "I was disappointed. He was a good teammate, a good friend, but it's a business. It happens to everybody. No one feels sorry for us, and good for them. They got a good guy on their side now."

Center fielder Adam Jones admitted that the team likely will miss Markakis and the other departures, but he said he believes the Orioles will "still have a very strong and formidable team, and we're going to put forth that effort and do a lot in this division."

Around the horn

Closer Zach Britton said his representatives have had discussions with the Orioles ahead of his salary arbitration hearing, but he had no other update. Outfielder Alejandro De Aza, who is also set for a hearing, said he did not know any details of his negotiations. The third player yet to agree to terms, right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, was not at FanFest. … Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said the two items left on the team's offseason wish list are another reliever and utility infield depth behind Ryan Flaherty. … Showalter said 40-year-old left-hander Mark Hendrickson, who has been out of the major leagues since 2011, signed a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training.



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