The Orioles and outfielder Nick Markakis have made progress in discussions about a long-term extension, according to reports from Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun and Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com. While it remains unclear if the sides will reach agreement before the end of the Orioles' exclusive negotiating period on Monday, Kubatko reports that he "expects an agreement in the not-too-distant future" and that the sides have been discussing a four-year contract.
The Orioles hold a $17.5 million club option on Markakis, but reports have indicated that they will decline it and try to negotiate a long-term deal with the outfielder. Baltimore has announced its option decisions on pitchers Darren O'Day (exercised) and Wei-Yin Chen (exercised) as well as catcher Nick Hundley (declined), but have not announced an official decision on Markakis, signaling that they are in the midst of discussions with him.
Markakis, who turns 31 in November, has spent his entire nine-year major league career with the Orioles. In 2014, he hit a respectable .276/.342/.386 with fourteen home runs and 50 RBI in 155 regular season games before hitting .258 with a home run in his first postseason. He is expected to draw significant interest from the Giants if he hits the free agent market, but the Orioles seem poised to lock him up before other teams can offer contracts.