Orioles manager Buck Showalter received a text message from former player Nick Markakis on his comments about his neck in USA Today. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun)
Before his departure for the Atlanta Braves, Nick Markakis was one of the Orioles' most respected players because of the way he let his play on the field speak for him.
Usually quiet and reserved, Markakis -- who signed a four-year contract with the Atlanta Braves in the offseason after the Orioles were concerned about the long-term risk of a lengthy deal -- had some harsh words to USA Today regarding his departure from Baltimore.
"Don't believe a word they say," Markakis told USA Today on Wednesday. "It was all because of my neck. They can say what they want to make them look good. It's all B.S. … But, things work out the way they do for a reason, right?"
There was no secret that Markakis wanted to remain with the Orioles after being a fixture in right field for the past nine seasons.
Shortly after signing with the Braves, Markakis had surgery to repair a bulging disk. The Orioles took an MRI on the neck also and had concerns about the neck over the course of a four-year deal, according to sources.
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones and Markakis remain good friends and still keep in contact with each other. Jones said Thursday that he talked to Markakis as recently as Wednesday.
"I'm glad he said something because he never says anything," Jones said. "He should say something. He has a lot on his mind. He's a very articulate man, a very smart man. He doesn't say a lot, but when he does, people listen and it got people's attention. That's why you all are in front of me now."
The Orioles' silence on the matter actually could have helped Markakis, because the injury might have scared other teams away from a multiyear offer. HIPAA laws also limit what teams can say officially about players, especially free agents.
"If [the neck] the real reason he's not here, I hope someone can man up and say it," Jones said. "Let's say it when everybody wants to know then and now. It always comes out later.
"That's just how this game is. But oh, well. We've got to defend the [American League] East. Markakis is in Atlanta, gonna try and win the NL East. So hopefully, we see each other at the end."