"It's finally over," infielder Manny Machado said on Friday. "I'm finally a Padre."
Not long after the San Diego Padres stunned all comers by signing infielder Machado to , they held a press conference at their Arizona spring training facilities to introduce their new third baseman.
Yes, third baseman. Machado going into free agency had a stated preference to remain at shortstop, but now he'll slide over to third so that top Padres prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. has a clear path to shortstop at the big-league level. That makes sense given that Machado still profiles as an elite defensive third baseman. Tatis is ticketed for Triple-A to start the season, so soon enough the Padres will have in place their long-term infield of Eric Hosmer, Luis Urias, Tatis, and Machado.
"It made it a little easier to make the decision that they're confident in bringing me on board … " Machado said on Friday. "Just to come in here as a 26-year-old veteran, to try to give my knowledge to these guys and hopefully get back to the playoffs for the city of San Diego and bring a championship."
"Ultimately, at the end of the day, it's about bringing a championship to San Diego," general manager A.J. Preller said during that same press conference. "I think a lot of people have looked out over the last few years, they've been very patient with us as we've tried to build something that's going to stand up long-term. And obviously an exclamation point here today with the signing of Manny."
Anyhow, care for a glimpse of Machado in classic Padre brown,? As you wish ...
Among other teams, the White Sox came up short in their pursuit of Machado, much to the chagrin of their fans. On Friday, Machado deflected a question about the Sox's pursuit of him and kept the focus on San Diego. Padres owner Ron Fowler, however, indulged in no such discretion.
Hard to argue otherwise.
The Machado coup is of course story enough in what's now squarely a Padres town, but don't forget that the Pads may still be alive in the chase for Bryce Harper.