Free agent shortstop/third baseman Manny Machado agrees to a record 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Update: Padres chairman Ron Fowler says that there is no deal in place. However, it’s likely that this is more about the technical details of the trade not being completed. If this falls through, though, it’s yet another curious case of the 2019 MLB free agency period.
Manny Machado’s long search for a home in 2019 appears to be over.
The 26-year-old has agreed to sign with the San Diego Padres, according to a report by Jeff Passan of ESPN. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports the deal is for 10 years and $300 million, the richest contract in American sports.
A four-time All-Star, Machado hit .297 with 37 home runs and 107 RBI in 2018 with the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers. He is expected to slot into the left side of the Padres infield, playing shortstop until Fernando Tatis Jr., the No. 2 prospect in baseball, joins the big league club later this year.
Machado has experience shifting between third and short; after spending the majority of his career at third for the Orioles, he moved to shortstop last year, the position he played throughout the minor leagues. He played a career-high 147 games at shortstop in 2018 after 731 career games at third.
This is the second straight year the Padres have made a major leap into the free agency market. The Machado deal comes nearly a year to the day since they signed first baseman Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million deal. The Padres haven’t made the postseason since 2006, and are without a winning record since 2010.
The Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox were also in the market for Machado. The White Sox, who signed Machado’s brother-in-law Yonder Alonso in December, believed they had put together the best offer for him. “I’m wearing my shades so you can’t see the shock in my eyes,” GM Kenny Williams said when informed his prized target was off the market.
The Phillies, who promised to spend “stupid” money on free agents this offseason, can now focus all their attention on signing Bryce Harper. The 26-year-old Harper and his agent Scott Boras now know what teams are willing to pay for a top free agent.
The signing of Machado, meanwhile, will likely quiet talk about teams avoiding top free agents. That Machado and Harper remained unsigned into February, with teams already in Spring Training camps, was a bad look for the league and made commissioner Rob Manfred address the issue on Sunday.
“I believe that, just like last year, that market is going to clear at some point in the next few weeks. Those players are going to get signed,” Manfred said. “Do I wish, if I had my way, that Scott Boras or [Machado’s agent] Dan Lozano … would find a way to make a deal with some club sooner rather than later? Yes, I do. But we negotiated a system that allows a market to operate.”
Manfred got his wish with Machado on Tuesday. Now it’s Harper’s turn.