Hot Stove

BREAKING: Padres reportedly land Manny Machado

Machado reportedly will be taking his significant talents to the west coast for the next 5-10 years. (Arturo Pardavila III)

According to a number of reliable sources, the San Diego Padres have reached financial terms in a contract agreement with free agent infielder Manny Machado.

The deal is reportedly for 10 years and $300 million, which would make it the largest total dollar value contract in American professional sports history. There is also reportedly a player opt-out after the fifth year of the deal.

This pushes the Padres, who entered the pursuit late in the off-season as a “mystery team”, over the $100 million total salary mark for the first time in franchise history.

With top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. considered nearly ready at shortstop, the Padres could either play Machado at third base and go with Luis Urias at short for now, or begin 2019 with Machado at short until Tatis is ready.

The Phillies were considered an early favorite for Machado, who met with club officials back in December at Citizens Bank Park. Despite both sides saying all of the right polite things, nothing seemed to ever get close between the Phillies and Machado.

The Chicago White Sox were considered co-favorites for Machado’s services at one point. The Chisox added Machado’s brother-in-law, Yonder Alonso, and signed their workout partner Jon Jay in order to help lure the free agent. Chicago reportedly had a seven-year, $175-million dollar offer on the table for the infielder and were confident in their chances.

Don’t be surprised if the White Sox now shift their full focus and resources into a battle with the Phillies in trying to lure Bryce Harper, with the San Francisco Giants and his former Washington Nationals team also still in the hunt.

The Machado contract is certainly going to establish a base in Harper negotiations. It would not be surprising to see the outfielder get something along the lines of a 10-year deal worth between $325-350 million with a similar opt-out.

Robert Raiola, CPA and Director of Sports & Entertainment for the PKF O’Connor Davies accounting and advisory firm speculated just yesterday that such a large contract for both Machado and Harper would likely contain language to protect it from high California taxation. However, early reports are that the Padres are not enamored with deferred money and that may not be part of the deal.

You might ask why a player such as Machado, a young player who you would expect would want to contend for championships, would want to sign long-term with an organization such as the Padres? It’s a logical question. San Diego has been a perennial loser since entering Major League Baseball as part of the 1969 expansion.

The Padres have participated in 50 seasons and have reached the postseason just five times, each of those coming during the only five seasons in which they have won the NL West crown: 1984, 1996, 1998, and 2005-06. The team has experienced just 14 winning campaigns, and has finished with a losing record for each of the last eight years. Last season, the Padres finished at 66-96 and in the division basement for the second time in three years.

But the San Diego executive team led by chairman Ron Fowler, general partner Peter Seidler, and executive vice-president A.J. Preller are committed to changing the perception of the club. The Padres were recently ranked by Baseball America as having the top minor league talent in the game, portending a brighter future.

The Padres made an initial splash in free agency one year ago when they lured veteran first baseman Eric Hosmer with an eight-year, $144 million contract lasting through 2025. Earlier this off-season the club added veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler with a two-year, $8 million deal.

For the Phillies, this means that all of their eggs are now in one basket. Despite the proclamations of management that the off-season is a success without landing one of the two biggest names, that is not how the fan base sees it. If the Phillies now fail to finalize a deal with Harper they can expect considerable backlash from those fans.

The pressure is now on, and the focus now appears clearly on one prize, the top prize: Bryce Harper. There will be increased competition from at least the White Sox. It is now time for the Phillies ownership and management to put up or shut up and bag the big game name in what has been an agonizingly lengthy off-season free agent hunt.






  1. Vinnie

    February 19, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Its really about the money.

    • schmenkman

      February 19, 2019 at 9:56 pm

      Like virtually every free agent signing ever, yes.

  2. Ken Bland

    February 19, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    Perhaps the people applying the most pressure on the Phillies are those that spoke about the possibility of signing both Machado and Harper. A lot of people wasted a lot of time on that “possibility.”

    I’d be most interested to see a list of compared names over say the last quarter century of considered most desirable free agent versus actual top performer over either a 1 year, or different time frame basis. For example, last year, JD Martinez would be both (so says the off the top of the head memory). This year, I wonder whether either Harper or Machado would top the list. Not to say one won’t, but we’ll see, and we’ll see if either’s flaws need to be subjectively overlooked too accord either the top position.

    Lastly, I see where Manny got an out after 5 years if he wants, and haven’t seen if the Padres have one at all. Negative as it is to be concerned with that for either side, it seems to me like Lozano should have/could have done better than not getting both more than 1, and a shorter term one than 5 years, if that’s accurate. I would think Boras will do his client better.

    • schmenkman

      February 19, 2019 at 9:55 pm

      Machado only got the one opt-out, but he also got $20+ more than any previous reported range.

      So it seems like the Padres traded the higher total value in exchange for fewer opt-outs and more certainty.

      • Ken Bland

        February 20, 2019 at 9:01 am

        Your statement makes sense in a common sense, realistic scenario where both sides have leverage. Maybe that IS left in sports free agency. I kinda doubt it, but you might be right. We’ll see what Harper gets. Popular conjecture is he’ll get more money (probably true) and we’ll see if that translates to eliminating a fast or frequent buyout. If it does, your point gains validity.

  3. czontixhldr

    February 19, 2019 at 11:37 pm

    Well, chalk me up as one who says “no” to signing Harper. He’s too inconsistent, may be a victim of the shift in the future, and I believe the contract will be a disaster long term.

    They already acquired the second best player available this offseason in Realmuto. Yes, second best. He’s been better the last 3 years than Harper – 10.5 rWAR to 7.5 rWAR.

    IMHO the bullpen has enough depth and any long-term Kimbrel contract will be a bust also. The only thing left is to bolster the SP, so maybe sign Gio or Keuchel (Gio would be my choice) and have done with it.

    • czontixhldr

      February 19, 2019 at 11:40 pm

      Also, 2016 – 2018:

      Realmuto: 12.3 fWAR
      Harper: 11.3 fWAR

  4. lou possehl

    February 20, 2019 at 2:38 am

    I think Harper has been holding off to see what Machado signs for, so he can demand and get $20M more than Manny got. That is, I think he signs as soon as tomorrow. As far as “is Harper worth stupid money?” OK so Harper is not the second coming of Ted Williams. But a batting order of Hoskins-Harper, with (one example) Quinn-Segura before and Realmuto-Franco after, gives the rotation breathing room to make a mistake or two and makes us an offensive threat the likes of which we haven’t seen in years.

    Harper’s upside is too great to pass up. And if he locks in, he’s more than just this year’s hot ticket: he’s the type of player that comes along maybe once in a decade.

    • czontixhldr

      February 20, 2019 at 7:56 am

      I disagree. If was an outlier for Harper and he is never able to adjust to the shift (just like Ryan Howard could not), then does he really have the upside you hope for? I don’t see it. If you subtract 2015 from his rWAR he’s averaged 2.9 WAR the rest of his career. For fWAR he’s averaged 3.6 per season with no 2015. That’s not a superstar – that’s Cesar Hernandez.

      I want no part of the contract he’s demanding. They can do better using the same money by signing multiple guys to shorter deals and eliminating the risk of concentrating their resources into one player.

      They missed on Manny. Time to move on from the “big two”

      No thank you.

      • schmenkman

        February 20, 2019 at 9:42 am

        In 2017 he was the 7th best hitter in MLB (155 wRC+), on pace for 6.5+ WAR when he got hurt and only played 111 games.

        So one historic season (best non-Bonds hitting season of the past 20 years, by wRC+), plus another one where he was the 7th best hitter in the game.

        We can certainly ding him for his health (availability is the best ability etc), but I’m not so sure his 10 WAR season at age 22 is such an outlier, when he’s still only 26.

        • czontixhldr

          February 20, 2019 at 12:49 pm

          My point is that his track record is not worth the risk of the contract he wants.

          You may be right that he could improve/bounce back, but aging curves, even for “phenoms”, indicate that, at best, it’s sideways from here for a couple of years and then into decline.

          Again, what I don’t like is how inconsistent he’s been and how injury prone he’s been (OK, he’s not RomanQ, but Roman doesn’t want 300+MM).

          For someone who wants the kind of money he wants, I’d be more comfy if he had a better track record of consistency even if it didn’t include one monster year.

          I fear if the Phillies sign him we’ll be waiting for forever for another season that will never come. I’ll also lose a bit of respect for the FO and ownership of the club because they are supposed to be smarter than that.

      • Lou Possehl

        February 20, 2019 at 11:08 am

        In a sense, I agree with the “time to move on” idea as well. That is, if Harper doesn’t sign … today … then I’d say to Boras, “$20M better than whatever Machado got: that’s our last and best offer for Harper; we have to move on so take it or leave it.” That either makes Harper a Phillie, or frees things up so that the club can go hard after Arenado or another arm. If the Hoskins-Harper tandem I’d like to see is not to be, then there’s still room for one more meaningful upgrade that would cap off a huge off-season. (Plus we still might not be done with yet another deal, since Arenado on board would create a logjam at 3B, and we may already have one at 2B as well.)

        Plus a boatload of money would be reserved for some future “stupid money” player chase. Mike Trout, anyone?

        • schmenkman

          February 20, 2019 at 11:41 am

          I don’t think Arenado will be available before July, and in fact I think it’s most likely he ends up staying in Colorado.

          • lou possehl

            February 20, 2019 at 1:07 pm

            Just in time for ASG. OK then – how about Brooks Robinson?

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