The San Diego Padres shocked the entire baseball world Tuesday morning by agreeing to a deal for free-agent Manny Machado. The deal is reported to be 10 years, $300 million, which would be the 2nd largest contract in baseball history. The deal is also the largest free-agent deal in North American sports history.
While the Padres were rumored to be involved in talks with Machado and his camp, the assumption amongst baseball minds was that he would sign with the Phillies or the White Sox. Before this deal, the Padres’ largest contract came last February when they signed free agent Eric Hosmer for 8 years, $144 million. Prior to that, the club’s most lucrative contract was $83 million for outfielder Wil Myers. Signing large contracts has just never been a part of the San Diego Padres DNA; let alone a $300 million dollar contract for a bonafide superstar.
Machado, who is 26 years old and coming off a career season with the Orioles and Dodgers, is a four-time all star and has won multiple gold gloves. He has finished in the top 10 in MVP voting 3 times, mostly playing for a lifeless Orioles team. While there have been criticisms of his lack of hustle and attitude, the talent on both sides of the ball are unquestionably generational. The Padres hope that Machado can come in with this new contract and join Eric Hosmer as leaders on and off the field.
San Diego’s farm system is loaded with top-tier talent, but many believe those prospects are still at least a year away from being Major League ready. if a few of those pieces can reach expectations once they are called up, having Machado to mix with the young talent will potentially make the Padres a serious contender. One of those prospects is 20 year old shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. Regarded as a top 5 prospect in all of baseball, Tatis now has someone he can learn from as well as potentially team with to make a lethal left side of the infield. That is the idea, at least.
The Padres have made the biggest, and most surprising move in their team’s history. A move that some might even argue doesn’t make sense for a team with limited finances. What can’t be argued, however, is whether the Padres are trying to win as soon as possible. Signing a player like Manny Machado for $300 million answers any questions about that.
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