The Braves have conceded the 2015 season and beyond as president of baseball operations John Hart continues to turn over the roster and reclaim space on the club's payroll. The rebuilding project is now being compared to the one that led to the Braves' NL East dynasty, which included 14 division titles in 15 years from 1991 to 2005.
That's just great, but Markakis had finally gotten a taste of winning after averaging 158 games and just 68 wins during his first six major leagues seasons in Baltimore. He didn't get to fully enjoy the Orioles' three straight winning seasons after that because of a series of injuries, but he was a highly popular player both in the clubhouse and the community.
There's no reason to rehash all the reasons that he isn't on the Orioles' roster today. That's been done all spring. Suffice to say, he wanted to stay and his sore neck priced him out of the Orioles' plans.
The curious thing about all this was the willingness of the Braves to give a player pending neck surgery a four-year deal worth $44 million if they really didn't intend to compete this year and maybe next.
Hart clearly has a plan and he's more than capable of executing it. It's just hard to understand how the Markakis contract fits into any organizational attempt to get younger and cheaper.
Maybe the Braves were looking for the kind of quiet clubhouse leadership that Markakis provided in Baltimore. Maybe he's there to provide stability amidst the roster chaos. Who really knows?
What is apparent is that the Braves are likely to make him suffer through at least one more losing season and maybe more. He probably deserves better than that, but he played the market and took the best contract he could get, which is what players and their agents almost always do.