The Manny Machado free agent saga is finally over. After months of wondering where the former Oriole would end up, he has finally found a new home - and thankfully for this Orioles fan, it’s not New York. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that Machado is in agreement on a contract with the San Diego Padres.
The contract is a record-breaker, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand: Ten years and $300 million, which he notes is the largest free agent contract in the history of American professional sports. It doesn’t top the Giancarlo Stanton $325 million contract extension, and may yet be topped when fellow free agent Bryce Harper signs somewhere.
Also included in the contract, as relayed by Yahoo’s Tim Brown, is an opt-out for Machado after five years. With the way the free agent market has played out this offseason, it would seem to be nuts for any 31-year-old, as Machado will be then, to opt out, but it was important enough to him to include anyway.
If the deal turns out to be frontloaded with a big signing bonus or early year salaries, that could make opting out of the back half more appealing, as well. The annual breakdown has not been reported as of this writing.
Anyone who watched Machado’s Orioles career needs no explanation of why Machado deserved such a huge payday. He’s amazing, and he’s young enough that he should continue to be very good for a long time. That lucrative contending teams sat on their hands while the loser Padres stepped up to offer Machado the big money is something I expect those other teams will quickly regret.
For a while there, it looked like Machado might have to settle for less. The White Sox were blundering around for a little while, trying to act like they were serious even as they were reportedly offering $180 million or something along those lines. Machado’s brother-in-law Yonder Alonso was traded there in December. This fact did not seem to matter, in the end.
It would have been annoying if the Orioles stayed silent while Machado got such a small guarantee. At $300 million, right after losing 115 games, with a farm system that’s not great, no surprise the O’s never tried.
Not that the Padres were any good last year. They went 66-96. Although they were recently something of a laughingstock for being the suckers who deemed it wise to give Eric Hosmer $144 million over eight years, they’re a team with a loaded farm system: Ten of the top 100 prospects in the game, as ranked by MLB Pipeline, are with San Diego, including #2 overall prospect Fernando Tatis Jr.
Those guys should start arriving and producing for the Padres while Machado is still young and great and then maybe something interesting will happen.
Most importantly, Machado did not sign with the Yankees. He will not torment Orioles fans 19 games per year for the next decade. His success will not empower any O’s division rival, nor will it generate positive press for any team that recent history has given the die hard fan a reason to hate. He did not sign anywhere that you will even have to hear about him unless you really want to. I mean, really, who cares about the Padres?
If the Padres really want to get on my good side, which of course I know they don’t have any reason to care about, they can follow this up by signing the San Diego-raised Adam Jones to join Machado in a Baltimore west kind of situation. They won’t, but it would be fun if they did.