It was just a week ago that momentum was building towards Manny Machado signing an extension with the Padres.
In fact, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal expected the deal to get done before Opening Day, with San Diego likely splashing another $300 million after they signed Xander Bogaerts for $280 million, extended Yu Darvish to the tune of a six-year, $108 million deal, and inked free agent Michael Wacha to an incentive-laden contract that could max out at $24 million if he performs well.
What more harm could signing another core player -- the Padres' most important player during their NLCS run last season, mind you -- to a massive contract do, right?
It's unclear what halted negotiations, or if Rosenthal's prediction was simply that inaccurate, but Machado likely won't sign an extension before Opening Day, as he confirmed to reporters Friday that he'll exercise his opt out after 2023.
Padres' Manny Machado will exercise player opt out after 2023 season.
Machado signed a 10-year, $300 million deal with San Diego before the 2019 campaign. Opting out would leave five years and $150 million on the table from his current deal.
Given his performance the last three seasons -- coupled with the colossal contracts given out to star players this offseason -- this news isn't surprising. That was part of the Padres motivation to get an extension done before Opening Day, after all.
Did negotiations never get off the ground? Is Machado taking a page out of Aaron Judge's playbook and betting on himself to ink a deal worth $400 million? Or is the NL MVP finalist angling for an extension by making it public that he will opt out if he doesn't get his money? If anything is clear after Friday's news, it's that general manager AJ Preller is now faced with the pressure of getting Machado locked up.
Perhaps that is Machado's endgame here.
Whatever the case, Padres fans shouldn't freak out over this news. With two top-three NL MVP finishes in the last three years, Machado has long been expected to opt out after 2023 if he hadn't signed an extension.
If nothing else, Preller and company now have added incentive to get one of the faces of the franchise signed to a long-term deal.
This might put a temporary smile on the faces of the Mets, Yankees, Dodgers and other vultures who are praying for a Machado-Padres breakup, but let's not overreact. It's clear Machado loves being a Padre.