The Baltimore Orioles learned yesterday that right fielder Nick Markakis will miss six weeks of action after being diagnosed with a broken thumb. For a team that comes into today at 78-61 and tied with the Yankees for the top spot in the AL East, this is obviously a huge blow, as the O’s are unlikely to see Markakis again in 2012 barring an appearance in the later stages of the playoffs.
Markakis, 28, will finish the regular season with a solid .298/.363/.471 triple slash line, good for a .357 wOBA. Despite contributing negative win totals in the field (-7.8 UZR) and on the bases (-0.6), Markakis has been the fourth most productive position player in Baltimore this season with nearly 2.0 WAR.
The Orioles have managed to get this far despite the oft-mentioned negative run differential, so if any team figures to overcome an injury to a key player for what could prove to be a critical final stretch of the regular season, it’s them. That said, it won’t be easy to replace the steady production of Markakis. Despite having never received any All-Star attention, the right fielder is a consistent run producer with a career 117 +wRC, and he will be missed in Baltimore’s middle-of-the-pack offense.