According to several reports, the San Diego Padres have come forward as a potential landing spot for free agent infielder Manny Machado.
The 26-year-old superstar is one of the most coveted free agents on the market this offseason. However, his market has appeared to be limited over the winter. Only a small handful of teams have expressed any interest in adding him to their roster.
This information has been reported by both the San Diego Union Tribune’s Kevin Acee and The Athletic’s Dennis Lin.
Machado has played at third base for most of his career. Third base just happens to be one of the biggest needs for the Padres going into the 2019 season. With Eric Hosmer at first base, Luis Urias at second, and Fernando Tatis Jr. expected to become the everyday shortstop at some point early in the 2019 season, third base is the only infield position without a legitimate everyday player.
Several reports throughout the offseason have suggested that Machado would prefer to play shortstop for his new team. But could he be swayed by the right contract and the right situation?
The Padres go into the 2019 season with a payroll currently set at $85 million, well below the league average. While ownership has announced that their priority from the time they took over in 2012 has been debt reduction, they have made it clear that they intend to spend money to produce a competitive ball club.
— Kevin Acee (@sdutKevinAcee) January 23, 2019
Add in the fact that the Padres, who have the top farm system in baseball, have several highly-rated prospects set to make their major league debuts beginning in 2019. The Padres are believed to be a contender in the near future. Adding a player like Machado only adds to that expectation.
But what would it take to entice Machado to join the Padres? USA Today’s Bob Nightengale and ESPN’s Buster Olney both reported weeks ago that the Chicago White Sox made an offer to the superstar that was seven years, $175 million, an average annual value of $25 million. Machado’s agent, Dan Lozano, later said the news of that offer was false.
It hasn’t been disclosed if any team has made a formal offer to Machado. It is believed that any contract he signs will have an average annual value well north of $30 million. The Padres have the payroll flexibility to present an offer in that range.
The market for Machado has not been very large at all this off-season. With the payroll flexibility, bright future, and a legitimate need for a third baseman, the San Diego Padres should not be counted out as a possible destination for Manny Machado.