It was widely being reported since Tuesday, but today the San Diego Padres have made it official, announcing a 10-year contract with star infielder Manny Machado. The deal is of course for $300 million total, averaging $30 million annually, which is what was largely being reported. It also includes an opt-out after the fifth season.
Machado is a four-time all-star and he has won two Gold Glove awards during his six full seasons and part of a seventh in the major leagues. He of course spent most of his time with the Orioles before being traded to the Dodgers on July 18th of this past Summer.
About the signing, Padres Executive Vice President/General Manager said, “Manny is one of the truly elite players in baseball and impacts the game on both sides of the ball.”
His statement about Machado rings true when you take a look at the numbers. Machado has been responsible for 85 defensive runs saved while playing third base, although it’s believed that he will be playing shortstop for the Padres, as that was one of his top priorities entering free agency and despite his talent with his glove, he struggled overall last season in the field at shortstop compared to what his fielding numbers have looked like at third base, but a counterpoint to that is that he spent so much of his career playing third base that he had grown used to it and would need time to adjust to playing shortstop again, which is a very fair argument when you just watch Machado move around the field and make very difficult plays look routine, not to mention he has one of the strongest throwing arms for an infielder that most people have ever seen.
Offensively the numbers are eye-popping. He has a career slash line of .282/.335/.487, he doesn’t have amazing numbers when it comes to avoiding strikeouts, but overall Machado doesn’t strike out too much for a player playing in this day and age when players are becoming less and less afraid to strikeout, but what’s most notable about Machado is his run producing ability.
Machado has hit at least 33 home runs each of the past four seasons and he is averaging 31 home runs per 162 games, while averaging to drive in 90 runs per 162 games. Despite not being a big-time speed threat, Machado does have a season of 20 stolen bases, back in 2015 and he swiped 14 bases this past season, so while it’s not a big part of his game, it is something that he can do every now and then.
$30 million per season is obviously a lot of money to dedicate to one player and there’s some concern over whether or not Machado will be able to generate the same power numbers playing in Petco Park, which is viewed as one of the worst places to hit in all of baseball for a power hitter, but I don’t share some of those concerns that some people seem to have.
If you take a look at the spray chart above for Manny Machado on batted balls over the course of his career, you can see that he sprays his line drives around fairly well, which will play well in the spacious outfield of Petco Park, but even more notably, most of his home runs are to his pull side, which is something that will pay off in Petco Park because despite being a pitchers park, the left field side of Petco Park isn’t any deeper than any other ball park really. Expect less home runs to the gaps, specifically left-center field, as Machado hit during his time at Camden Yards, but ultimately Machado’s power numbers should be fine playing in Petco Park. Also remember that he will be playing a good amount of games at Coors Field and Chase Field with him now being in the National League West.
Now let’s take a look at how Machado fits into the Padres financially. Machado will easily be the highest-paid player on the Padres, but other than him there’s not really too many big contracts that the Padres are staring at, making this maybe the perfect time for them to try and go out and make something like this happen.
The second-highest paid player on the roster will now be Eric Hosmer, who makes an average salary of $18 million, followed by Wil Myers, who makes an average salary of about $13.8 million and everyone else on the roster is under $10 million.
The Padres are looking at having a pretty nice trio in the middle of their lineup of Machado, Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers if Myers is able to have a bounce back season and hit around 30 home runs, which he did the two previous seasons before last season.
San Diego isn’t going to be looking at making the playoffs this season unless they completely surprise people, but they have added one of the better position players in all of baseball and they have maybe the top farm system in all of baseball, headlined by shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., but they also have guys like Luis Urias, Mackenzie Gore and Francisco Mejia.
Of course with prospects it can be a waiting game because you have to wait for them to even get to the major leagues in the first place and then often they don’t play great right away as there’s an adjustment period from the minor leagues to the major leagues, but with this many scouts thinking this highly of the farm system, odds are that at least a few of those guys will end up panning out.
The offense in San Diego should be improved this season compared to what we’re used to, but they have a really suspect pitching staff. It’s a staff that could end up being good, but they are very unproven and how close this team comes to making the postseason this season is going to come down to how much production they can get from the pitching staff.
The good thing is that a lot of the top prospects for the Padres happen to be starting pitchers, so help on the starting pitching staff could be on the way sooner than later depending on how quickly some of them develop.
It feels like these monstrous contracts that reach nearly a decade in length don’t usually reach the value and frankly it’s hard for a player to reach the value of around $30 million per year for eight-to-ten seasons, but rarely do we see a player sign this big of a contract when they are only 26, about to be 27-years old, so it will be a fun test to see if a player is worth this much money when they sign this type of contract at this age, rather than being around 30-years old.
If San Diego can make some playoff runs and possibly bring a World Series to the city while Machado is under contract the signing will obviously be a success, but we will have to wait and see if Machado lives up to it.
Another thing people might be concerned about is his effort level. He’s been known for not playing hard all the time and with him now being guaranteed to make $300 million regardless of what happens could have some concerned that he will rest on his laurels, but again, we will have to wait and see on that.
For the time being, fans in San Diego, which is a baseball market that has been starving for any sense of relevancy, should be very excited because they’ve went out and got one of the best position players in baseball and their front office has shown that they think they are about to enter a window where they can really compete. Frankly, they made that statement last off-season when they went out and spent on Eric Hosmer, but spending on Manny Machado is another level of commitment in trying to make them relevant, and the more teams we have relevant and trying to win, the better off we are as baseball fans.