Manny Machado: 300 Million Dollar Man

Brilliant signing or colossal mistake?


A live look at Manny Machado after signing his deal with the Padres.

Bennett Carollo, Sports Editor

On Tuesday, February 19th, the San Diego Padres signed free agent infielder Manny Machado to a 10-year, 300-million-dollar contract. This historic deal is topped only by the $325 million that Giancarlo Stanton received from the Miami Marlins in 2014. I would say that the biggest winners of this deal were baseball fans, who have had to endure constant Machado speculation from reporters and experts over the last several months, but the agony won’t truly end until the other big fish free agent, outfielder Bryce Harper, has made his decision. So, then who benefitted from this result?

The obvious answer is Machado. Most sources say that he took the highest bid in choosing the Padres, and there is nothing wrong with that. Who could say no to 300 million? San Diego is also not a bad place to live, with the city being known for its perfect climate. Also, unlike some of Machado’s other rumored destinations, including New York and Philadelphia, San Diego is a small market and its fans will put relatively low pressure on the star slugger and will be more likely to put up with his antics (more on this later). However, many critics have been quick to accuse Manny of choosing money over winning, as the Padres finished dead last in the NL West last season with a woeful 66-96 record.

The other party involved with a lot to gain (or lose) in this deal is, of course, the team itself. On one hand, how could the Padres go wrong in adding the 26-year-old superstar Machado to their future plans? If he can come anywhere near replicating his 37-home run, 107 RBI 2018 season, he will certainly provide a boost to an offense that finished third to last in run scoring a season ago. However, one position player likely won’t be able to make enough of a difference for the Padres to contend in 2019. Their pitching staff is still unproven and not all that talented. San Diego’s number one ranked farm system could address these issues, but there’s no telling how long that could take. The front office likely won’t be able to make any more immediate improvements in the meantime, either, as they now have $50 million tied up in Machado and first baseman Eric Hosmer, their big signing from last offseason, for the foreseeable future.

The Padres, of all teams, should know to be cautious of big splashes like this. In the 2014 offseason, general manager A.J. Preller tried to accelerate the rebuilding process, making ill-advised moves to acquire the likes of Matt Kemp and Justin Upton. This aggressive approach failed, as the team continued to struggle while the front office rushed to offload all the big-money players they had acquired. More recently, the early return on Hosmer has been underwhelming at best. This is all without mentioning the red flags surrounding Machado. He was quoted during the 2018 Postseason as saying that he’s “not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle.’” He was also quite terrible defensively in his inaugural season as a shortstop and put up only mediocre numbers in 2017. Only time will tell how this will all turn out, but San Diego might have been wise to be patient and make a move once their promising prospects began to graduate to MLB success and to wait for a more surefire free agent to throw their money at. The Machado contract could very well end up being another cautionary tale along the lines of Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez.