In a shocking turn of events, 36-year old veteran outfielder Nick Markakis has decided to return to the Atlanta Braves after opting out earlier this year.
At 3:02 PM today, fans of the Atlanta Braves learned that veteran outfielder Nick Markakis decided to rejoin the team. Three weeks after initially opting out early in July, Markakis has decided he needs to be back on the field.
This could provide the Braves with a much-needed boost as they have flailed to a 2-3 record thus far. Despite an encouraging start to the season in New York, Atlanta has been easily handled by the Tampa Bay Rays. This is in large part due to bad starting pitching and a surprisingly ineffective offense.
For the Braves, this is a good thing. Off-season acquisition Marcell Ozuna has been good at the plate. He has a .278 batting average and an OPS of 1.072 but is not the best fielder in the league anymore.
Markakis is still a Gold Glove level fielder. He won the Gold-Glove award in 2018 and finished with a fielding percentage of .995 in 2019.
At the plate, Markakis is the king of professional at-bats. He has a great eye in the batter box and gets regular contact, rarely striking out. Adding someone that has a low strike-out rate will be big for a team that currently leads the MLB in strikeouts by far through five games in 2020.
Last year, Markakis struck out just 59 times through 414 at-bats and walked 47 times as well. He carried a batting average of .285 and an on-base percentage of .356. He isn’t the best or most powerful bat, but right now he could be exactly what the Braves need in the fifth or sixth hole of their offense.
Aside from his on-field prowess, Markakis is one of the best club-house presences in the league. His constant professionalism is coveted by every manager in the game and he is an invaluable asset for club morale and mentor to young ball-players.
Nick Markakis returning to the Atlanta Braves at this time is great for the team in more ways than one. Hopefully, he can provide a much-needed boost to the club both on the field and in the locker room that he so often provides.
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