Morning Marquee: Hot Stove season heating up; Braves sign Nick Markakis


With the Winter GM Meeting behind us, the wheels are starting to turn on this Hot Stove season. While only a handful of top free agents have found new homes, several more could be on their way soon as the action has heated up.

Nick Markakis and the Atlanta Braves have agreed to a four-year deal reported to be worth $44 million, as Markakis will return home to where he played his high school and college ball. The Braves had been pursuing him from the start, and this could indicate another move is coming. The Braves may now look to trade one of their other outfielders, either Justin Upton or Evan Gattis know that they have a replacement in place.

The Seattle Mariners acquired J.A. Happ from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Michael Saunders. GM Jack Zduriencik had two goals entering the winter. Sign a big bat. That is officially checked off with the official announcement of Nelson Cruz today. and now Happ adds a veteran pitcher, a left-hander, to give the Mariners more depth and experience in the rotation.

The Jon Lester race may have gained another suitor as it appears the Los Angeles Dodgers are throwing their hat into the ring as well, joining the Cubs, Red Sox and Giants. It was rumored that Lester would like to make his decision before the Winter Meetings, but that timeline may not be met. The Dodgers seem the least likely for Lester, a pitching isn’t a clear need for them with the likes of Clayton Kershaw and Matt Greinke, but there can never be too much pitching.

The Cubs non-tendered Wesley Wright and John Baker on Wednesday, as they join the list of 31 players who became new free agents yesterday. The move leaves only Welington Castillo and Rafael Lopez as catchers on the 40-man roster. Wright was a little bit of a surprise as he was effective in the Cubs bullpen, especially after the trade of James Russell to the Braves.

Here are some of the stories you might have missed:

‘In home stretch, Lester race gets late entrant’ –

‘Mariners trade Saunders for Jays’ Happ’ – Sodo Mojo

‘Atlanta Braves sign OF Nick Markakis’ – Tomahawk Take

‘Cubs non-tender Wesley Wright, John Baker’ – Cubbies Crib

‘Harvey “on board” with Mets plans for him’ – Call to the Pen