DelVecchio: Machado’s deal with Padres sets unprecedented standard
Grant DelVecchio | Thursday, February 21, 2019
On Tuesday, highly coveted free agent shortstop/third baseman Manny Machado agreed to a 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres. The deal is effectively the biggest free-agent contract in American sports history.
Last season, the four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner at third base made $16 million between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles.
Pending a physical, Machado’s deal with the Padres includes an opt-out after the fifth season and a limited no-trade clause. Machado, 26, posted a career-high .905 OPS in 2018, finishing the season with a .297/.367/.538 slash line, 37 home runs, 107 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. In 66 regular-season games with the Dodgers, he hit .273 with 13 homers and 42 RBIs.
The Padres, who have missed the playoffs in 12 consecutive seasons, ranked 28th in the majors last season after averaging 3.8 runs per game.
Machado has hit 30 home runs in each of the past four seasons; only Wil Myers (2017) has surpassed that mark for the Padres in that span. Only six times in Padres history has a player hit more home runs in a season than Machado did in 2018. The last to do so was Adrian Gonzalez (40) in 2009.
Over the past two seasons, the Padres have spent $474 million in free agency, which leads the majors. Immediately after the deal, the Padres’ odds to win the World Series improved from 80-1 to 50-1 according to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. Their chances to win the National League West title improved from 30-1 to 12-1.
The Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees were also in the running to sign Machado. White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams told reporters Tuesday that he was shocked Machado chose the Padres.
The White Sox’s final offer to Machado was for eight years and $250 million, and included a pair of club options based on plate appearances that could have brought the value of the package to $320 million.
Had Machado stayed healthy throughout the deal, the likelihood is Chicago’s offer would’ve been worth around $340 million. Machado instead opted for the guaranteed money from San Diego.
Machado’s 175 career home runs are two more than that of the Padres’ all-time franchise leader, Nate Colbert, who hit 173, which is the lowest total for any active franchise.
The Padres gave superstar money to a superstar player, and this now opens up questions for where superstar outfielder Bryce Harper will land and for how much money. With a farm system that is arguably the best in the bigs, the Padres see this deal as something that can immediately start winning games.
While Machado has stated he prefers to remain at shortstop going forward, it seems likely he’ll return to third base with the Padres. In part that’s because shortstop Fernando Tatís Jr., who’s in the discussion for top prospect in all of baseball, is supposed to come up from the minors next season.
While Machado’s deal stands as the largest free-agent contract in North American sports history, it is the second-largest contract in baseball history behind Giancarlo Stanton’s 13-year $325 million deal with the New York Yankees.
Harper waiting until after Machado signed always seemed likely. In Harper’s case, Machado has set the market and there are now no other elite free agents to compete with. All the teams that lost out on Machado have no choice but to turn to Harper if they want to secure a star-caliber talent in his mid-20s. Offers will start to come from desperate teams that lost out on Machado.
This deal has sent shockwaves throughout the league, and has left Machado sitting pretty while the Phillies and White Sox are left hanging. The incentive is there, the question now becomes whether or not Machado will continue to produce in San Diego.