The wait is finally over. Manny Machado has found a landing spot.
As first reported by Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Padres have signed the 26-year-old superstar to a 10-year, $300 million contract (MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand had the financials first). There is an opt-out after the fifth year, when Machado will be 31. It’s the richest single free agent contract in the history of North American sports, though Bryce Harper will now aim to surpass it. Giancarlo Stanton signed a 13-year, $325 million deal with the Marlins back in November 2014, but that was a contract extension.
Machado also drew reported interest this winter from the White Sox, Phillies, and Yankees, but it seems the Padres simply out-bid the competition here. They also shelled out the biggest contract of the 2018 offseason, a seemingly-ill-advised eight-year, $144 million pact with first baseman Eric Hosmer.
San Diego is generally considered one of the best places to live in the United States and our hats got off to the Padres for stepping up in a winter that has seen most MLB teams tighten their purse strings, but the fantasy fallout here is mostly negative, at least for 2019. Petco Park has become a little more power-friendly than when it first opened -- portions of the wall were moved in five years ago and it ranked 16th among the 30 major league stadiums in home runs allowed last season -- but the environment still leans pitcher-friendly and Machado probably isn’t going to match the career-high-tying 37 home runs that he generated between the Orioles and Dodgers in 2018. He will probably also take a hit in a couple of other teammate-dependent counting stats as he joins a Padres team that finished 28th in both runs scored and team OPS (.677) in 2018.
But the Padres’ roster is improving -- they boast three of the top-30 position-player prospects in baseball in Francisco Mejia, Luis Urias, and Fernando Tatis Jr. -- and they could be a postseason contender as soon as 2020 if some of their better pitching prospects develop quickly into impactful major league starters. Machado figures to play third base primarily for the Friars, with Urias covering the shortstop position until Tatis Jr. is deemed ready.
The formerly low-payroll Padres are suddenly building a behemoth. And we finally have an outline for updating Machado’s projections and positional rankings in our 2019 Rotoworld Baseball Online Draft Guide, which is available now.