This has been a pretty painful offseason for San Diego Padres fans who have seen one of the more exciting teams in baseball gutted by players leaving for free agency and, of course, arguably the most impactful trade of the offseason when Juan Soto was sent to the Yankees. The only solace fans have experienced is San Diego adding some interesting bullpen pieces.
Not to mention, the roster remains good! Maybe it's not a bonafide contender, but there are players here ready to do big things.
One such stellar roster holdover is Manny Machado. While Machado is one of the best players in all of baseball when he's right, he battled issues with his elbow for a large portion of the 2023 season and ended up having surgery to repair a tendon in his elbow in early October. It was that news that started the offseason of disappointment in San Diego.
Fortunately, there was at least good news on Machado's recovery very recently. While there are reports suggesting his availability for Opening Day is questionable, all the current information has Machado recovering quickly this offseason.
Padres' Manny Machado "progressing quickly" with his injury rehab
According to that most recent update on Machado's recovery from MLB.com's AJ Cassavell, Machado is already hitting and has progressed to playing catch. While that necessarily doesn't sound like he'll be ready to take the field to start the season, it does sound much more promising that the Padres could at least have his bat in the lineup as a designated hitter.
The Padres can fill Machado's vacancy in the field reasonably well since their roster is filled with versatile defenders, but losing his bat from their lineup would be really tough especially now that Soto is gone. If his recovery trend holds, that may not be something the team has to worry about now.
We'll know more once spring training opens up in a few weeks. If Machado is participating fully and getting a good number of at-bats, fans can probably expect to see him from day one of the 2024 season. If not, then that means his recovery timetable may not be quite as accelerated as fans were hoping, which would be very on-brand with how this offseason has gone.