Asked about leaving the Baltimore Orioles over the offseason to sign with the Atlanta Braves, outfielder Nick Markakis said, "Don't believe a word [the Orioles] say."
Markakis signed a four-year, $44 million deal with the Braves in December after spending the first nine years of his career with the O's. His family reportedly wanted to stay in Baltimore, and the Orioles continued to negotiate with him after declining to pick up their mutual $17.5 million option for 2015.
After signing with Atlanta, Markakis underwent neck surgery to repair a herniated disk in December, which he was first diagnosed with before the 2013 season.
"It was all because of my neck,'' Markakis told USA Today. "They can say what they want to make them look good. Don't believe anything they say. It's all B.S."
"But, things work out the way they do for a reason, right?"
Orioles general manager Dan Duquette told USA Today that Markakis' neck condition was a factor in not re-signing him, saying the organization was "worried" about it.
In 155 games in 2014, Markakis hit .276 with 14 home runs, 50 RBIs and a .342 on-base percentage. He has a career .290 average and .358 on-base percentage with 141 home runs and 658 RBIs.
- Molly Geary