After getting a three-year, $40 million extension done with J.J. Hardy earlier in the day, the Orioles don't appear to be done. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the club is "pushing to complete" an extension with outfielder Nelson Cruz, with FOXSports.com's Jon Morosi adding that Cruz's new agents met with general manager Dan Duquette about a new deal earlier in the week. For his part, Cruz told reporters (including Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun) that there have not been recent "serious discussions" about an extension, and that his current focus is to win a World Series with the club.
The Orioles would also be willing to strike a last-minute deal with Nick Markakis, as reported by Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. According to a major-league source, nothing at all is close between the Orioles and Markakis, as the two sides have not yet discussed a contract extension. Though talks could heat up before the end of the club's exclusive negotiating period, it is unlikely that anything gets done with Markakis while the Orioles are still alive in the postseason.
Orioles making moves
Orioles making moves
The timing of the sudden action is strange, as the Orioles are less than 36 hours away from playing Game 1 of the ALCS in Baltimore. It seems very unlikely that the club would look to continue contract negotiations with Markakis and Cruz during the series, but it is expected that they try to strike deals with the pair of impending free agents before they hit the free agent market five days after the conclusion of the World Series.
Cruz has expressed interest in re-signing with the Orioles, who signed him to a one-year, $8 million deal before the season and have seen him position himself as one of the most coveted free agent outfielders available this winter. The 34-year old recently switched representation from Wasserman Media Group to Relativity Sports after hitting .271/.333/.525 with 40 home runs and 108 RBI in an All-Star season.
Markakis, who turns 31 in November, has spent his entire nine-year career with the Orioles and is set to hit free agency for the first time if he is unable to come to an extension.