Markakis contract official
Not that there was any doubt, but the Orioles have officially announced the six-year, $66.1 million contract extension that has made Nick Markakis the second-highest-paid Oriole ever in terms of total guaranteed money, and third-highest in terms of average annual salary. Only Albert Belle ($13 million) and Miguel Tejada ($12 million) made more per year than Markakis will make through the 2014 season.
The total may be a little high for this market, but it was important for the Orioles to lock up the guy who has a chance to be the face of the franchise for a long, long time, especially in light of the possibility that they will not be able to sign Brian Roberts.
The deal also has escalator clauses that could add $7.5 million, a limited no-trade clause and a two-way option for the 2015 season at a salary of $17.5 million. If the O's want out of the extra season, they have to pay Markakis a $2 million buyout, but he also will have the option of becoming a free agent after 2014.
If you're wondering what an escalator clause is, it's an incentive structure that increases a player's salary for the remaining years of the contract if he achieves certain goals -- in this case, All-Star appearances. And, since Markakis may be the club's biggest star through the duration of his contract -- and there has to be at least one representative from every team -- he figures to make his share of All-Star teams.