Sources: Padres, Machado finalizing $350M deal
- ESPN MLB insider
Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”
Star third baseman Manny Machado and the San Diego Padres are finalizing an 11-year, $350 million contract extension, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN.
Machado said earlier this week he intended to opt out of the final five years (and $150 million) of his current contract with the Padres following the season after preliminary negotiations on an extension broke down. While Machado had set a Feb. 16 deadline to reach a new deal, conversations continued between Machado’s agent, Dan Lozano of MVP Sports, and Padres general manager A.J. Preller. The deal is expected to be official soon.
The franchise cornerstone of an ascendant franchise, the 30-year-old Machado is coming off arguably the best season of his career, hitting .298/.366/.531 with 32 home runs and 102 RBIs. He finished second in National League MVP voting and led the Padres to the National League Championship Series, where they were ousted by the Philadelphia Phillies.
Machado’s arrival in San Diego in 2019 on a 10-year, $300 million deal signaled a new era for the Padres, who have yet to win a World Series in their 54-year history. Shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. joined the Padres as a rookie during Machado’s first season in San Diego, and while the team struggled to a 70-92 finish, it thrived in the COVID-shortened 2020 season, got a significant boost with the acquisition of star outfielder Juan Soto last year and continued to spend this winter with the signing of shortstop Xander Bogaerts to an 11-year, $280 million contract.
San Diego currently carries the third-highest competitive-balance-tax payroll in Major League Baseball at more than $266 million, according to Baseball Prospectus. With more than $600 million owed to Tatis and Bogaerts, nine-figure extensions for right-handers Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove, and Soto’s impending free agency after the 2024 season, the question of whether the Padres would retain Machado was among the most prominent in baseball this spring.
As recently as last week, it sounded unlikely. The Padres, sources told ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez, had offered Machado a five-year, $105 million extension on top of the six years and $180 million he’s owed, including this season. Machado was seeking significantly more than the $25.45 million a year Bogaerts received and said he planned to opt out.
“Markets change,” Machado said.
Baseball’s certainly had since 2019, when Machado signed with the Padres following a long winter in which he and Bryce Harper, the other available star, didn’t sign their megadeals until late February. San Diego has since turned into a powerhouse, and it hopes to catch the Los Angeles Dodgers for NL West supremacy this year after beating them in the division series in 2022.
In four seasons with the Padres, Machado has hit 108 home runs and driven in 340 runs while hitting .280/.352/.504 and winning a pair of Gold Gloves at third base. The Padres didn’t let the failed negotiations the first time around deter them, bumping their offer by more than $50 million as owner Peter Seidler called extending Machado “my top priority” this spring.
Had Machado reached free agency off a typical year, the interest in him would’ve been far more abundant than the last time. The New York Mets were seen as a particularly good fit for him, and others would have stepped up as suitors, but Machado’s desire to remain in San Diego amid its championship push helped drive the sides toward a deal.
In Machado, the Padres locked up a player not only on a Hall of Fame track but who has played his best baseball in recent years. Like Bogaerts and Darvish, Machado will be signed into his 40s once the deal is completed, and it would take him well past two decades in the big leagues.
Machado debuted with Baltimore just after his 20th birthday and grew into a perennial top-five MVP candidate by his fourth season, when he hit .286/.359/.502 with 35 home runs, one of six 30-homer-plus seasons. His combination of power, above-average plate discipline and an elite glove and arm made him an undeniable offense-defense combination, and no lineup in baseball boasts a foursome as fearsome as him, Soto, Bogaerts and Tatis, the latter of whom can rejoin San Diego on April 20 after his performance-enhancing-drug suspension ends.
The deal is the fourth-largest guarantee in the game’s history, behind those for Aaron Judge, Mike Trout and Mookie Betts.
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