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This is some great news! The roster is beginning to take shape for 2019.

As Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos maintained regular contact with Nick Markakis over the past couple months, he knew the veteran outfielder’s preference was to continue playing for Atlanta.

But a reunion was not consummated until Sunday night, when Markakis’ price dropped to a point that allowed Anthopoulos to maintain the financial flexibility necessary to potentially upgrade his rotation or bullpen.

Markakis will return to the Braves, agreeing to a one-year, $6 million deal that was announced Tuesday afternoon. The contract includes a $4 million guarantee for 2019 and a $6 million option ($2 million buyout) for 2020.

“Nick clearly wanted to be back,” Anthopoulos said. “He made that evident throughout this process.”

Markakis spent his high school years in the Atlanta area, played his college ball at north Georgia’s Young Harris College and spent each of the past four years guiding the Braves through a rebuild and toward last year’s division title. His parents attend most every home game, and most importantly his three sons have developed a love for the Braves.

“The tipping point was my kids,” Markakis said. “I asked them where they wanted me to play, and they all said, ‘Braves.’ How could I say no to that, especially with the organization and the group of guys that are here? I’m extremely happy with my decision.”

With Markakis back, Braves manager Brian Snitker is now leaning toward moving Ronald Acuna Jr. out of the leadoff spot to fill the void in the cleanup spot. This sets up the possibility that Atlanta’s first five hitters would be Ender InciarteJosh DonaldsonFreddie Freeman, Acuna and Markakis.

As the Braves pursued and evaluated other available outfielders, it was assumed their fallback option would be Markakis. But the eventual cost proved to be far less than expected. The 35-year-old outfielder drew an $11 million salary from Atlanta each of the past four seasons.

“I’m not mad at all [about the pay cut],” Markakis said. “I play a kids’ game and get paid a lot of money. How can I be disappointed in that? Everything works out for a reason.”

Source: Braves re-sign Nick Markakis