Inside Nick Cafardo's weekly notes column for the Boston Globe, the plugged-in reporter wrote Sunday that the Phillies have been eying Braves rightfielder Nick Markakis.
"Teams such as the Royals and Phillies are also looking at Atlanta’s Nick Markakis, though the money is an issue there, especially with the Royals," Cafardo wrote.
An interesting tidbit given the Phillies' need for some corner outfield offense, but it would be hard to see the logic behind acquiring a player like Markakis unless the Braves are willing to pay down a significant portion of his remaining salary.
Markakis, 32, is in the second season of a four-year, $44 million contract. In addition to what he's owed the rest of this season, he's due to make $10.5 million in 2017 and $10.5 million in 2018.
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That's not a crazy high salary in this day and age, but it's a lot of money for a guy with no power in a corner outfield spot. Markakis has one home run this season, which he hit this weekend against the Phillies. In 875 plate appearances with the Braves since the beginning of 2015, he has four home runs.
He's still a decent contact hitter from the left side, though. He hit 38 doubles with the Braves last season so the gap power is still there. And in nearly 7,000 big-league plate appearances, Markakis has hit .290 with a .359 on-base percentage. Despite his recent power outage, he'd unquestionably be a better offensive player than Peter Bourjos.
But given Markakis' contract status and the possibility that outfield prospect Nick Williams is ready within the next year, the only way Markakis would make sense for the Phillies is if he costs practically nothing in the form of prospects and also comes cheap. He's owed roughly $28 million over the next 2½ seasons. The Braves might have to pick up two-thirds of that to make it worth a team's while.