Orioles Sign Markakis to Six-Year Contract

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Right fielder Nick Markakis and the Baltimore Orioles reached a preliminary agreement Monday on a $66 million, six-year contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The contract is pending a physical, the person said, speaking on
condition of anonymity because the deal has not yet been signed.

The deal, the second-richest in team history, covers three years
Markakis would have been eligible for arbitration and the first
three after he would have been eligible for free agency. The
agreement was first reported by The Sun.

Markakis hit a career-high .306 with 20 homers and 87 RBIs for
the Orioles last season, his third in the majors. He played in 157
games, drew 99 walks and led all AL outfielders with 17 assists.

The only higher deal for the Orioles was the $72 million,
six-year contract shortstop Miguel Tejada signed before the 2003

Markakis was selected by Baltimore with the seventh overall pick
in the 2003 amateur draft. The 25-year-old has a .299 career
batting average and has not played in fewer than 147 games in any
of his three big league seasons.

His best season was in 2007, when he batted .300 with 23 homers
and 112 RBIs in 161 games.

Markakis gives the Orioles a combination of speed, power and
defense. Besides possessing a strong arm and impressive
first-to-third speed, he stole 10 bases and had a .491 slugging

On August 22, 2006, Markakis hit three homers in a game - the
18th Orioles to accomplish the feat and the first since 1999.

In other news Monday, the Orioles obtained minor league pitcher
David Pauley from the Boston Red Sox for right-hander Randor Bierd.

The 25-year-old Pauley went 14-4 with a 3.55 ERA in 25 starts
with Triple-A Pawtucket in 2008 and is 56-52 with a 3.92 ERA in 177
minor league games over eight seasons. He went 0-1 with an 11.68
ERA in six games with the Red Sox last season.

Bierd was 0-2 in 29 games with Baltimore in 2008.