Over the course of his career, Markakis has been a good player, but would never be confused with great. A .288, .358, .424 (.782) hitter for his career through 2018, he has been a useful regular player in the big leagues. He deserves respect as he has had a good MLB career. However, in 2018, he made his first All Star team. He has scored more than 100 runs in a season just once and driven in more than 100 runs twice- both early in his career with Baltimore. He also has just two 20 plus home run seasons. He has, though, recorded 40 or more doubles five times, including last year and added his third Gold Glove to his collection in 2019 as well.
Coming into 2019, Markakis has accumulated 2237 hits. The fact that he has managed to avoid injury, for the exception of his unlucky 2013 season, makes one think he can stand to play for another four or five seasons. His performance in 2018 was the best of his career to this point. Markakis hit .297 and had an OPS of .806- both highs since that unfortunate season of 2013. Since his rookie season of 2002, Markakis has averaged 172 hits a season. Based off the number of games he has played, the 172 average hits per season is a pretty solid number as there has been very little fluctuation in regard to the hit totals. If Markakis plays the next four seasons, he would need to average 191 hits a season to get to 3000 (3001) by 2022. If he played another five seasons, he would need to average 153 hits per season to get to 3000 (3002). If Markakis landed his career average hits per season, he would have 2925 hits at the conclusion of 2022.
All these possibilities are realistic and would make for an interesting Hall of Fame case. Craig Biggio stands out and though he had to wait until his third year of eligibility to get in, he had seasons from 1995-1999 that Markakis has not touched. Harold Baines is not a fair comparison, as many players not in the Hall would get in if that was a set comparable. Baines, while he had a good career, his numbers failed to distinguish themselves enough for it to be a suitable Hall of Fame comparison for any player.
The Markakis Hall of Fame thought process should start by stating his name. Do you think of Nick Markakis as a Hall of Famer? You probably do not. In fact, the one argument that could be made would require him to get 3000 hits. Maybe he does, maybe he does not. The percentage of players that continue to play consistently into their late 30's has dropped over the past five or so seasons. And in some cases, players have seen their careers end prematurely without any relation to their play. In other words, free agency knows no bounds now, as players are not guaranteed the chance to continue their careers anymore. Similar to the collusion cases of the 1980's, it is no longer completely the choice of the player as to how long they play. Healthy players are not getting contracts. It is fair to project Markakis over the next five seasons, and if healthy, it would be a shock for him not to average 153 hits a season. If that happens, he has 3002 hits and is a Hall of Famer. The unspoken about fear, though, is that he may not get a chance to play that many more seasons. Markakis himself had to wait until deep into free agency- (January 22, 2019)- to sign his one year contact with the Braves. It is difficult to expect him to get four more one year contracts.