What comes next?
Much depends on this man and his ability to perform and to lead. Machado does not appear to be the rah-rah type of leader.
He shows little emotion on the field, other than the custom hand shakes and celebrations. You don’t see him rallying the troupes in the dugout or hear stories of him calling meetings after games in the clubhouse.
But that does not mean he isn’t a leader. His style seems to be more leading by example with quiet support and mentoring.
He could be of tremendous help to Tatis Jr as his career progresses. Machado knows the shortstop position. He agreed to come to the Padres and play third base despite his professed preference for shortstop. He did that for the money, of course. But he also has to recognize Tatis Jr has phenomenal skill at the position and can only make Machado look better on the left side of the infield.
My thinking has to include the reality that Machado is still a relatively young man himself. Although he has been in the big leagues since the age of 19 he just completed his age 26 season.
The best years of his career should be ahead of him, physically as well as maturity wise.
I am willing, and I think Padres fans are willing, to give Machado the benefit of the doubt regarding his lapses of judgement in the past.
Going forward, he must behave in a more mature and professional manner and I believe that the ownership of the Padres would not have signed him if they didn’t believe that would be the case.
Managing Partner Ron Fowler does not suffer fools easily and he is well known for his lack of patience with under performing players and/or poor performance. I don’t think he would have signed off on Machado’s contract unless he believed that the character of the player was adequate to support the contract.
That being said, many baseball fans will never forget Machado’s past indiscretions and that was exhibited this past weekend during FanFest when a Twitter war erupted between Padres fans and Machado haters.
The interchange highlighted that the Friar Faithful now have a player that causes a significant divide in baseball and we can expect many boos on the road when Machado comes to bat.
It remains to be seen if any further controversial plays occur during Machado’s time with the Padres. We can only hope that he will develop into a consistent and outstanding example for our young players as this decade of commitment to excellence evolves.
Machado himself has frequently stated his desire to nurture and support the young players around him as he was supported in Baltimore when he came up to the big leagues.
That goal would be greatly enhanced if he is able to harness his competitive drive on the field, develop a mature leadership role and be an example to his teammates that encourages sportsmanship.
I’m not sure if Manny Machado cares what people other than his teammates think of him. But if he wants the fans of San Diego to embrace him for the 10 years of his contract with the Padres, he would be wise to adopt the persona of the owner.
Determined to win, honest and straightforward in his assessments and a reputation for excellent work ethic and fair play.
If Manny Machado can strive for those qualities as well as playing baseball as he is capable, San Diego Padres fans have a treat in store over the next nine years.