The race for Manny Machado is finally over.
The longtime Oriole and brief Dodger signed a whopping 10-year, $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres on Tuesday, immediately making him one of the highest-paid players in MLB history. Machado had his best season in the big leagues last year between Baltimore and Los Angeles, recording a .297 batting average, 37 home runs and 107 RBI's during the regular season. He had a disappointing playoff performance and was criticized for not hustling and playing hard, which led people to believe that he would not reach his desired amount of money this off-season. The Padres had other plans, and inked Machado to a deal that averages $30 million per year and this signing could help mark the end of a 12-year playoff drought that dates back to 2006. It's a move that tells the baseball community a lot about where the Padres stand, so let's take a deep dive into the signing.
When I first saw the report that Machado had signed with the Padres, I was really surprised, as I hadn't heard many discussions between Machado and San Diego. It's also surprising because San Diego has been very mediocre for the past decade and in the middle of another long rebuild, but it seems like San Diego has to desire to build a championship contender now. Will they win a title this year, next year, or maybe the year after? Probably not, as they are in the National League and their division is tough enough, but the Padres want to prove themselves as future contenders in a tough division, and they have the pieces to make it work. They have current studs like Machado, Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers, and Hunter Renfroe, and while their pitching staff may be bleak now, future prospects like MacKenzie Gore, Chris Paddack, and Adrian Morejon could change that in the near future, as well as Garrett Richards who is recovering from Tommy John Surgery. The Padres also have one of the best prospects in baseball in shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who could see some major league action this year, as well as top catching prospect Francisco Mejia and second baseman Luis Urias. All of these players I've mentioned are under 30 years old and under team control for a foreseeable future, so San Diego is primed to have a very bright future. Sure, the price tag is hefty, but if Machado can return them to relevancy, then the signing will easily be worth it. Here's a look at a potential starting line-up down the road:
Catcher: Francisco Mejia
First Baseman: Eric Hosmer
Second Baseman: Luis Urias
Third Baseman: Manny Machado
Shortstop: Fernando Tatis Jr.
Outfielder: Hunter Renfroe
Outfielder: Wil Myers
Outfielder: Manuel Margot
Starting Pitcher: MacKenzie Gore
Now that is a scary sight.
The obvious downside to this deal is the money. For Machado, it's everything he's wanted and more, but for the Padres it is a large amount of their budget allocated towards one player. This will hurt their chances at obtaining any other star talent in free agency, and they may have to rely through trades to bolster their roster. It doesn't help that Petco Park (the home of the Padres) is primarily a pitcher-friendly park, so Machado's production could take a dip. My main concern about this deal is that we've seen this type of deal happen before for small market teams and not pan out. We saw it when Alex Rodriguez signed his mega-deal with the Texas Rangers, then was shipped out after two years. The same exact thing happened to Giancarlo Stanton a couple years ago when he signed his lucrative deal with the Miami Marlins, only to be traded in the middle of a rebuild. Both of those players were tough to trade and get a good return for because of their contracts, and Machado would be in the same scenario if the Padres failed to improve with him. This a very risky deal for the Padres, and the cons may outweigh the pros as of now, but that could easily change in the future.