The San Diego Padres shocked the baseball landscape when they extend inked Yu Darvish to a six-year contract extension. It's a gamble considering Darvish's injury history, and the fact he's posted a sub-3.00 ERA just once in his career in seasons where he's made at least 20 starts.
You know what won't be considered a roll of the dice? Extending core players who are either in their prime or on the cusp of entering their prime. Manny Machado and Juan Soto fill that bill more than anyone else on the Padres roster.
Extending Soto might be easier said than done given all the money San Diego has locked into Darvish, Fernando Tatis Jr., Xander Bogaerts, and Joe Musgrove, who quietly makes $20 million annually on his new deal.
Machado is a different story. He has a player option after 2023, and all signs point to him declining it if he and the Padres don't reach an agreement.
Luckily, insider Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic laid out a handful of reasons why Machado and San Diego could have a deal signed by Opening Day.
Will the Padres extend Manny Machado before Opening Day 2023?
Here's what Rosenthal said about the possibility of Machado inking a new-and-improved long term contract with the Friars.
""The Padres advanced to the National League Championship Series last season without Tatis, without Bogaerts, without Soto at his best. To sustain success, they will need to continue spending heavily. Players, though, worry more about their own long-term futures than their club’s. Machado need not mess with a good thing. He has become a leader in San Diego, a perennial MVP candidate, a player in full. I’m guessing he stays, as long as the Padres pay. And when in the last few years have they not?""- Ken Rosenthal
Hard to argue with that logic.
The player option is the big deal here. With big-spenders like the Dodgers, Yankees, and Mets -- Rosenthal mentioned Mets owner Steve Cohen in his article as a reason for the Padres to extend Machado now -- circling like vultures waiting for a potential breakup, it would behoove AJ Preller and company to resolve this before the season.
Of course, re-upping Machado's contract would cushion the potential loss of Soto. Rosenthal also noted the uncertainty surrounding Fernando Tatis Jr. in terms of whether he can rediscover his superstar form after wrist and shoulder surgeries, and a positive test for PEDs, as an added incentive to sign Machado.
Machado has two top-three MVP finishes in a Padres uniform, and is by all accounts one of the best corner infielders in all of baseball. He's meant everything to fans, and we like to think he feels similarly about the city and fan base.
Who knows what a potential Machado extension would mean for the Padres' Shohei Ohtani aspirations, but we'll cross that bridge if and when the time comes. For now, all of San Diego's attention appears focused on locking Machado down for the long haul.
As it should be.