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Markakis, Orioles disagree on terms, so outfielder gets contract renewal

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Nick Markakis will get a raise in 2008, but his new contract didn't come close to fulfilling his expectations.

The outfielder and the Baltimore Orioles failed to agree to terms by the team's designated Tuesday deadline, so Markakis will have his contract renewed at $455,000 -- up from $400,000 in 2007.

Markakis wanted a more substantial increase after leading the Orioles last season in home runs (23) and RBIs (112). It was only his second full season in the big leagues.

Players that have less than three years of service are not eligible to go to arbitration. After Markakis and the team couldn't come to an agreement, the 24-year-old had no choice but to accept the contract renewal.

"Unfortunately, while we were able to reach an agreement with everyone else on the roster that fit into that category, we weren't with Nick," club president Andy MacPhail said. "It's not a terribly unusual thing in our industry. It's to be avoided if you can, but in this case we really weren't able to find any common ground."

Markakis will receive less money this season than teammates Adam Loewen and Jeremy Guthrie, both of whom have less than three years of service. But those pitchers signed major league contracts and received amateur signing bonuses spread over several years, which affects their annual salary.

MacPhail termed the contract situation with Markakis "regrettable, but not uncommon."

Markakis, however, was miffed. He left the team training complex long before the 5 p.m. deadline, but earlier in the day he told The Baltimore Sun, "That's just how the Orioles feel. I don't have much of a choice. I'm just going to have to deal with it."