What Manny Machado’s $300 Million Contract Means for Padres
Earlier this morning, the San Diego Padres shocked the baseball world word leaked that prized free agent Manny Machado would sign a record 10-year, $300 million contract with them.
Although Padres ownership denied that a deal is in place, word is Machado just needs to pass a physical in order to make it official. San Diego has long been rumored to be one of the main teams pursuing the 26-year old star, but the team wanted him to play third base and not shortstop, where he preferred. Ultimately, Machado chose the largest contract over his position of choice, and the move makes the Padres a much more serious threat to contend in the NL West over the next few years. It also means the team will have some decisions to make heading into the 2019 season.
With Machado now at third, the Padres can concentrate on grooming prized prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. for shortstop. Since the 20-year old has never played in Triple-A, San Diego can give him time to develop with the Chihuahuas for at least the first month of the season, while getting an extra year of club control over his service time. Luis Urias, another top young infielder in the Padres' loaded farm system, can play short until Tatis Jr. is ready for his Major League debut. Veteran infielder Ian Kinsler will play second base and Eric Hosmer is locked in at first. When Tatis Jr. moves up to San Diego, Urias can shift to second and Kinsler would back up all infield spots.
The Padres outfield is a little more complicated, since the team moved Will Myers back to left. There are five players battling for only two spots, and the Padres had also spoken with free agent Bryce Harper about signing with them. Assuming the Machado deal takes them out of the Harper sweepstakes, San Diego still has to decide between Manny Margot, Franchy Cordero, and Travis Jankowski in center while Hunter Renfroe Franmil Reyes, and Cordero compete for right field. According to rosterresource.com, Renfroe, Cordero, Margot, Reyes, and Urias still have two Minor League options each, so Chihuahuas fans could see some familiar faces to the begin the 2019 season.