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Cruz, Orioles at odds over contract length; Markakis close to re-signing

Cruz met with the Orioles on Friday, while Markakis could receive a four-year deal, per reports.

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After hitting an MLB-leading 40 home runs at age 34, Nelson Cruz wants a five-year deal, according to The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, a lengthy commitment in which the Orioles—Cruz's former team—seem to have little interest. Meanwhile, outfielder Nick Markakis, who has spent all 1,365 games during his nine-year career with the Orioles, appears close to signing a deal to return to Baltimore, though his agent is in talks with other teams, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. However, "both sides would like to get something done," as Crasnick reports.

Cruz, who turned down a three-year deal—seemingly a generous length—from the Orioles prior to free agency, according to ESPN's Buster Olney, met with his former club on Friday in Phoenix, per FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, and he is likely meeting with other teams as well. If Cruz doesn't back down from his five-year demand—a stipulation that has ostensibly created an impasse in the talks—the O's could pursue Cuban slugger Yasmani Tomas, as Rosenthal notes, though several teams appear to be in on the mix and Vice Sports' Jorge Arangure reported on Thursday that a deal "appears imminent."

Markakis, 30 (he turns 31 on Monday), could sign a four-year deal with the Orioles, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, a realistic goal considering both sides made "serious progress" after resuming extension talks on Wednesday. Markakis posted a .276/.342/.386 slash line last season and won his second career Gold Glove. He is a career .290 hitter with a .793 OPS, and he has registered double-digit home run totals in every season of his MLB career.

UPDATE: The Mariners have spoken with Cruz and his agent, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. As Morosi notes in his article, Seattle has needs in the outfield and at the DH spot, both of which Cruz spent extensive time at in 2014.