The San Diego Padres sign Machado for 10 years at $300 million

The sweepstakes for Manny Machado have ended with a surprising turn. The San Diego Padres, a team not known for making big splashes in free agency, have landed the coveted infielder who was once linked to the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Machado has had a successful MLB career thus far, picking up two Gold Gloves in 2013 and in 2015 at third base, which is the same position he is listed at for the Padres. He has also appeared in four MLB All-Star games, most recently in 2018 for the Baltimore Orioles before getting traded to the Dodgers.  

While in Baltimore with the Orioles during the 2018 season, Machado put up excellent numbers. His batting average was .315 with 24 home runs and 65 RBIs. However, the Orioles were a very subpar team, and Machado was ready to move on. So he was dealt to the Dodgers on July 18, 2018 for five prospects in the Dodgers’ minor league system. However, his stay in LA did not have the impact that Dodgers fans wanted. Not only did his numbers drop, (.273 BA, 53 strikeouts) but he was also involved in controversy.

In the postseason, Machado dragged his leg while crossing first base and made unnecessary contact with Milwaukee Brewers’ first baseman Jesus Aguilar. Brewers players and coaches called out Machado for the antics, with Christian Yellich going as far as saying “It was a dirty play by a dirty player.” Machado was also quoted saying he is “not a hustle guy,” something that baseball purists crucified him for.

With the amount of money invested in Machado, the Padres and their fans are hoping for a rebirth of the Manny Machado of old, to say the least. After all, he did just sign the largest free-agent deal in the history of American professional sports.

Machado joins an infield with Eric Hosmer at first base, Luis Urias at second and, because he has accepted playing at third base instead of his desired shortstop position, the path is cleared for 20-year-old Fernando Tatis Jr. to step in at shortstop sometime during the season. Tatis is currently in the Padres’ farm system with the San Antonio Missions but is expected to make the jump to the Major League very soon.

Although the Padres have already spent big this offseason, reports say that San Diego is still in the Bryce Harper lottery. However, in order to sign Harper, they would need to put together an offer that is similar to what Machado accepted, and given that the Padres don’t have the bankroll of the major market teams like New York, Boston or Los Angeles, it seems unlikely that they would be able to sign him. But, the same was said about Machado.

If the Padres move on from the Harper race, it will most likely be for help on the mound. A move to sign Dallas Keuchel will be a welcome one in “America’s Finest City” and signing a pitcher of his caliber would be a great move for the Padres, considering their starting rotation is underwhelming.

For now, the Padres start Spring Training in Peoria, Arizona, where Machado’s signing was just announced. San Diego opens at home on March 28 against NL West foes, the San Francisco Giants.