The Padres have reached an agreement with free agent infielder Manny Machado exceeding Eric Hosmer’s previous franchise record breaking contract.
The Padres have been linked to just about every prominent player during this excruciatingly slow off season. When the mystery team came out, the Padres were a linked team.
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The Padres also waited late in previous off seasons for the market to ‘come to them’ from a supply and market demand standpoint. The Padres inked James Shields in February during A.J. Preller’s first season as the Padres General Manager, and then Eric Hosmer last year; but this is the first time they landed a legitimate super star in Machado.
Machado is a two-way (offensive and defensive) star that can carry a team. Moreover, he solidifies the left side of the diamond – the biggest area of need for the Friars, and should be of paramount protection for up-and-coming prospects, such as Fernando Tatis Jr. (who has been compared to Machado) and Luis Urias.
Machado is coming off a career year in which he triple-slashed .297/.367/.538 with 37 home runs and 107 RBIs with a (career best) .905 OPS. In addition, he was his still on par with his stellar glove work, where he posted well above average metrics at third base to offset some of his now limitations at shortstop. His WAR (Wins Above Replacement) ranked higher last year than Nolan Arenado, J.D. Martinez, and Javier Baez, among other notable stars.
The Padres ownership was quoted as saying they would “over deliver” in their message to fans, to trust the process during their transitional phase throughout this rebuilding period. Boy, have they ever. I would have never imagined seeing the Padres pay for a top 10 player in all of Major League Baseball.
Ownership deserves a ton of credit for moving the needle in the right direction, investing internationally, in the draft, the extensions such as Wil Myers, and the aforementioned free agent Eric Hosmer, James Shields, among the most notable (regardless of how those workout long term). In addition to keeping their word to the fan base, which has had a disconnect for decades.
This is a profound signing and a giant leap in the right direct for the Padres both on and off the field and their ownership group should be praised by the media and fans alike. Owners Ron Fowler and Peter Seidler have become the anti-Spanos’ for San Diego. While the rest of the industry has been leaning towards being conservative on their signings, the Padres and A.J. Preller have been aggressive.
The Padres can now shift their attention to other areas of need, such as acquiring a front-line starting pitcher, while keeping their record breaking 10 prospects in MLB Pipeline’s top 100 — that they would have otherwise dipped into in for any other substantial third base acquisition. An unprecedented signing paired with a myriad of top prospects and the best farm system in baseball should set the Padres up to compete year in and year out for the foreseeable future.