The San Diego Padres have agreed to terms with free-agent infielder Manny Machado, reports ESPN's Jeff Passan. Machado, 26, is one of the most coveted free agents in MLB history, and the Padres' landing of him marks a major coup this offseason. Mark Feisand of MLB.com has more on the contract details:
BREAKING: Manny Machado has agreed to terms on a deal with the Padres. According to a league source, it’s for 10 years and $300 million - the biggest free-agent contract in the history of American sports.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) February 19, 2019
Opt out in Machado deal is after the fifth year.— Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) February 19, 2019
That opt-out means Machado will have the option of re-entering the free-agent market following his age-30 season.
Machado is coming off a strong 2018 for the Orioles and then Dodgers, who acquired him leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline:
For his career, Machado boasts an OPS+ of 121 across parts of seven big-league seasons, and over that span he's averaged 31 home runs and 37 doubles per 162 games played. He proved last season that he's able to pin down shortstop on a regular basis, and he still profiles as a standout defensive third baseman. While Machado dealt with knee injuries earlier in his career, he's played in no fewer than 156 games in each of the last four seasons. At age 26 -- quite young for a free agent -- Machado fits any near-, mid-, and long-term planning on the part of the Padres. That youth in tandem with his broad base of skills, especially his power, is why he was able to command $300 million on the open market. Coming into the offseason,, behind only Bryce Harper, who remains unsigned as of Tuesday afternoon.
In San Diego, Machado becomes the signature addition as the organization begins to emerge from a thus-far successful rebuild. While Machado has stated he prefers to remain at shortstop going forward, it seems likely he'll return to third base with the Padres. In part that's because shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who's in the discussion for top prospect in all of baseball, figures to arrive in San Diego soon. Assuming Machado does slide over to third, here's what the San Diego lineup could look like on Opening Day:
- Ian Kinsler, 2B
- Manny Machado, 3B
- Eric Hosmer, 1B
- Wil Myers, LF
- Hunter Renfroe, RF
- Franchy Cordero, CF
- Luis Urias, SS
- Austin Hedges, C
Manuel Margot likely becomes the right-handed half of a platoon in center field. Tatis will very likely be ticketed for Triple-A to start the season, so he could be arriving in San Diego in short order. At that point, Urias could shift to second and bump the veteran Kinsler to a reserve role at multiple infield positions. Also on the way are catcher prospect Francisco Mejia and an unparalleled stock of arms. The Padres will bein 2019, even with Machado, but the future is uncommonly bright. As noted, Machado's age means he fits any timeline GM A.J. Preller may have in mind.
That doesn't move the needle as much as you might think, and even if the Padres overshoot that projection by a healthy margin the Dodgers will remain heavy favorites in the NL West. As noted, though, this is more about Machado's long-term outlook and how it dovetails with the Padres impressive young core.
Even after the Machado signing, the Padres are still under $115 million for payroll in 2019, so there's room to do even more if they're willing. It's also worth noting that because Machado was traded during the 2018 season, he was not eligible to receive a qualifying offer from the Dodgers. That in turn means that the Padres will not have to forfeit a draft pick for signing Machado.