Manny Machado teases Padre fans before agreeing to an 11 year contract extension

Shortly after reporting to the San Diego Padres spring training complex in Peoria, Arizona, Manny Machado summoned the press and dropped a bombshell.

“Obviously, the team knows where I stand and my situation with the opt-out coming,” announced Machado, referring to a clause in his contract that would allow him to become a free agent in 2024. “I think I’ve expressed that I will be opting out after this season. There’s a lot of money out there…a lot of money. Things change and evolve.”

At the same time, the Padres all-star third baseman and unofficial captain expressed that his focus would be on 2023 and not any future considerations. Still, Manny received some backlash on social media by disappointed Padre fans, accusing him of being selfish and disloyal. As it turns out, all the buzz was just hype and window dressing. No need for folks to panic.

Over the weekend, Machado’s agent Dan Lozano hammered out an agreement with Padre General Manager A.J. Preller that will keep Manny in San Diego through 2034. The Friars had previously offered a five year extension with $105 million in new money, which Lozano rejected. Machado had indicated that he didn’t wish to negotiate beyond February 16th because of spring training plus plans to play for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. But some last minute give and take enabled a deal to get done with the blessing of Padres majority owner Peter Seidler. Machado will get the extra five years along with $170 million in fresh dinero, totaling $350 million.

The pact is significant for Machado, who considers himself one of the premier players in the game and for good reason. The 30 year old super star went yard 32 times last season and slashed .298/.366/.531, finishing second to Paul Goldschmidt in the National League MVP voting. His defense at the hot corner is stellar and is a team leader. As a result, the new deal will make Machado the fourth highest paid player in baseball behind Mike Trout, Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge. Above all, Manny has a no trade stipulation in his latest agreement, a huge factor on a club stacked with both young and veteran talent that craves roster stability.

Locking up Manny Machado would also seem to send a positive sign to Juan Soto, possibly the final piece of Preller’s puzzle among position players. Soto will play with Machado on the D.R. team in the WBC, and I can imagine that the conversations will be positive about how the Padres reward their top personnel. For Soto, the decision is two years away. But for Peter Seidler, there are bills to pay now, not to mention more luxury tax debt. Yes he’s a wealthy man, but not necessarily to the extent of former team owners like Ray Kroc, who spent a few bucks, and stingy Tom Werner, who did not. Then there was John Moores, who made a mess of everything. We can thank Werner for that too.

This is a new era for San Diego sports teams, and if Machado and company can lead this team to the Promised Land, Seidler deserves a key to the city. Not since George Steinbrenner has there been an owner more committed to winning, but in two completely different markets.

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