MANNY MACHADO IS SIGNED, SEALED AND DELIVERED TO THE PADRES
Manny Machado ended months of speculation when he signed a 10-year, $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres on Tuesday. It was a rather surprising move as it was believed other suitors like the Phillies, Yankees or White Sox would seal a deal with the perennial All-Star. Particularly, the White Sox seemed in a strong position to land the superstar. They were open publicly about their desire to sign him, negotiated aggressively and media pundits even gave the ChiSox an advantage because they signed Machado’s brother in-law, 1B Yonder Alonso earlier this offseason.
Despite all the factors that appeared in their favor, the White Sox lost out on the Machado sweepstakes to the surprising Padres. It was noted Machado had met with Sand Diego previously, but when he met with them a second time, the Padres were viewed more seriously as a place Machado would sign.
No one can deny Machado’s talent and ability, but I question San Diego’s timing in making this move. The club has had eight consecutive losing seasons and have not made the postseason since 2006. Through great scouting, they have amassed a wealth of minor league talent through the draft, trades and international signings. Entering last season, the Padres were ranked the #1 farm system in baseball highlighted by such names as Fernando Tatis Jr., MacKenzie Gore and Luis Urias.
With this pipeline of young talent in the minors and an emerging core of young talent at the major league level, I thought the Padres were going to stand pat and see how the youth developed. They lost 96 games last year so this wasn’t a case of a young team on the cusp of the postseason and adding a high-profile free agent would be the move to bring them to the next level. Machado will undoubtedly improve the Padres, but his addition doesn’t make them a playoff contender.
n fact, it hinders them from adding other legitimate pieces down the road. With the Eric Hosmer 8 year deal for $144 million last year, the Padres have tied up 42% of their payroll in just two players. This is a perilous road for a small market team. In my opinion, it is very doubtful Machado spends the length of the contract in San Diego, e.g. Giancarlo Stanton with the Marlins. The deal also is questionable due to some incidents and statements by Machado during last year’s postseason run with the Dodgers.
While his postseason was underwhelming with a .227 average, Machado made an infamous statement that sealed his fate with the Dodgers and I believe caused would be suitors to look at him with more scrutiny. On a play in which he did not run to first base, Machado said, “Obviously I’m not going to change, I’m not the type of player that’s going to be Johnny Hustle and run down the line and slide to first base and … you know, whatever can happen. That’s just not my personality, that’s not my cup of tea, that’s not who I am.”
He has since explained those comments as taken out of context, however, the MLB spotlight will shine bright on San Diego as the baseball world looks on to see how Machado does in his inaugural season out west.