Phillies

Manny Machado rumors: San Diego Padres are in on Machado after all

Manny Machado rumors: San Diego Padres are in on Machado after all

The darkest of the dark horses we referenced Jan. 14 as a potential mystery team for Manny Machado is indeed after him: the San Diego Padres.

Multiple sources have told Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune that the Padres are in on Machado to play third base. This may come as a surprise, but the Padres need to do something to energize their fan base, and they showed with last year’s $144 million contract for Eric Hosmer that they are willing to spend. 

If anything, that ugly Hosmer contract gives the Padres even more of a reason to spend. Why settle for 75 wins when you’ve already somewhat committed yourself to win now? As the world of Breaking Bad taught us, half-measures rarely work. 

Plus, the NL West has been weakened significantly this offseason. The Diamondbacks traded Paul Goldschmidt, the Giants need to retool and the Dodgers do not have a better roster than they did in 2018. With a star, there would be a path to San Diego staying in the race for at least a little while. 

San Diego’s interest in Machado also helps explain why there hasn’t been much movement in a Maikel Franco trade. The Padres have long had interest in Franco and began the offseason as the Phillies’ most logical trade partner for the third baseman. 

From the Phils’ standpoint, trading Franco without knowing whether Machado is signing here would be pointless. From the Padres’ standpoint, acquiring Franco isn’t nearly as much of a needle-mover as signing Machado. 

With $300 million looking less likely by the day for Machado and Harper, it is not a shock to see other teams lingering in the periphery of negotiations. The Phillies have more than just one team to worry about. 

However, if you’re the Phillies, you’d rather have the Padres in on Machado than the Yankees. In that way, this offseason has benefitted the Phillies, with the Yankees, Dodgers and Cubs all less interested in signing one of the two superstars to a huge contract than most anticipated. 

Spring training is about three weeks away. Something’s got to give soon, you’d figure over the next 10 days or so.

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Phillies Talk podcast: MLBPA proposal, Roy Halladay documentary and 2008 Phils magic

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Phillies Talk podcast: MLBPA proposal, Roy Halladay documentary and 2008 Phils magic

Jim Salisbury and Corey Seidman react to the MLBPA's latest proposal, the Roy Halladay documentary and recall some of their favorite moments from the Phillies' opening playoff series in 2008.

• Are players and owners closer to a financial resolution?

• It seems like the two sides are having completely separate conversation.

• What's more likely: 82 games or 114?

• Our takeaways from the Roy Halladay documentary.

• Halladay may have ended up coaching with the Phillies.

• 1-on-1 with Cole Hamels about 2008 playoffs.

• Best moments and memories of that 2008 NLDS vs. Brewers.

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Phillies had 2 massive extra advantages in 2008 NLDS vs. Brewers

Phillies had 2 massive extra advantages in 2008 NLDS vs. Brewers

You need a lot to break right to win a championship in any sport but particularly in baseball, where we routinely see the best team fail to win it all. It doesn't matter how you've performed in the preceding six months and 162 games, any team is susceptible to a bad week in October.

The 2008 Phillies were not the favorite to win the World Series when that postseason began. They had won 92 games with a prolific offense. The Cubs won 97, and in the AL, the Red Sox, Rays and Angels all won 95-plus.

The teams with the two best records in baseball that year (Angels at 100-62, Cubs at 97-64), were dispatched quickly in the playoffs, with the Cubs suffering a sweep to the Dodgers in the NLDS and the Angels going down in four games to the Red Sox in the ALDS.

Who knows how much differently the 2008 playoffs would have gone for the Phillies if they drew the Cubs or Dodgers in the NLDS, or the Red Sox instead of the Rays in the World Series. It obviously doesn't matter because reality > hypotheticals, but that 2008 postseason was a good example of timing being everything.

The 2008 Phillies were a better team than the 2008 Brewers, but they also had two huge benefits in that series beyond home-field advantage. Those benefits were the Brewers' top two starting pitchers.

CC Sabathia was the blockbuster trade acquisition in '08. The Brewers acquired him on July 7, three weeks before the deadline, and he dominated for more than two months. In 17 starts with Milwaukee, Sabathia went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. Ridiculously, he pitched seven complete games with three shutouts in those 17 starts.

But by the time the postseason began, Sabathia was spent. His start against the Phillies in Game 2 of the NLDS was his fifth straight start on short rest. Four days earlier, Sabathia had thrown 122 pitches in a complete game.

It was clear pretty early in that game that Sabathia was not the pitcher he was down the stretch, and Phillies fans will never forget the second inning. (We will explore the famous nine-pitch Brett Myers walk and Shane Victorino grand slam in more depth Tuesday.)

The other advantage the Phillies had was that the Brewers' rock that year, Ben Sheets, found out at the end of the regular season that he needed Tommy John surgery and would be unable to pitch in the playoffs. Sheets, who had a 3.24 ERA in 128 starts from 2004-08 and was a four-time All-Star, never ended up making a postseason start. 

Had he been healthy, Sheets would have started Game 1 for the Brewers ahead of Sabathia. Instead, that Game 1 start went to Yovani Gallardo, who had torn his ACL on May 1 and was unable to return until the final week of the regular season. 

Gallardo went on to have a decent 12-year career but he wasn't ready for that big moment in enemy territory in '08. The Phillies scored three runs off of him (unearned because of a Rickie Weeks error), and that was plenty of run support for Cole Hamels.

The Phillies clearly benefitted from the Brewers' starting pitching situation that October, but that doesn't discredit the business they took care of. In the NLDS, Prince Fielder went 1 for 14 (.071). Ryan Braun, who would go on to become a career Phillie-killer, had just an OK series, reaching base in five of 17 plate appearances and going hitless with runners in scoring position until his final at-bat of the series, an RBI single with the Phillies up five runs in their Game 4 clincher.

The Brewers hit just .206/.271/.254 as a team in that series with one home run against the Phils.

The re-airs of the Phillies' entire 2008 playoff run begin tonight on NBC Sports Philadelphia. The NLDS runs this week from Monday-Thursday, followed by the NLCS next week and the World Series the week after.

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