What’s next for the Braves?

David O’Brien, Braves beat writer: While the Braves would’ve welcomed Markakis back for his leadership, their offseason priority was a big bat, by re-signing Marcell Ozuna or acquiring a comparable slugger. Once it became apparent there would be no DH in the NL in 2021, the Braves wouldn’t have had at-bats for Markakis because left field was earmarked for Ozuna once he re-signed in February. Ronald Acuña Jr. is entrenched in right field and top prospect Cristian Pache, an elite defender, is set to take over in center field. Markakis’ absence will be felt more in the clubhouse where he was a rock-solid leader.

Markakis’ legacy

Dan Connolly, Orioles senior writer: Markakis will be remembered as the consummate pro who eschewed headlines and spotlights and played hard every inning of every game for 15 seasons. He amassed almost 2,400 hits and won three Gold Gloves but was known as much for his quiet and steady clubhouse leadership. Only seven other players in baseball history appeared in more games at right field than Markakis; five of those are Hall of Famers.

Markakis memorable moment

Connolly: The beauty of Markakis is that there isn’t really one signature moment in his career. He showed up every day to play — in 11 of his 15 seasons he appeared in at least 155 games. The game that stands out most in his Orioles career, though, was on Aug. 22, 2006, when he homered three times against the Minnesota Twins as a 22-year-old rookie. The biggest at-bat for him may have been in October 2014, when he homered against Justin Verlander in Game 2 of the ALDS — his second playoff contest in his ninth season as a big-leaguer.

(Photo: Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)



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