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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.

 

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