The San Diego Padres are taking a massive risk with some of their offseason spending, as there are some legitimate doubts about the club's ability to keep all of their superstar contracts for the long haul. Manny Machado signaled that he could leave in search of greener financial pastures.
The San Diego third baseman said that he is going to opt out of the remainder of the 10-year contract he signed in 2019, saying that he wants to test the waters of free agency. With Xander Bogaerts and Fernando Tatis Jr. already locked up long-term and a huge Juan Soto payday coming, San Diego may not have the funds to pay him.
Naturally, this leaves San Diego in a very awkward position. With the prospect depth depleted, there is a good chance that Machado bolts and joins a National League contender. At the very least, owner Peter Seidler is doing everything he can to keep Machado in San Diego.
"I really hesitate to talk about hypothetical situations, whether it's with a free-agent player or one of our own," Seidler said via MLB.com. "I will say: Manny is my top priority." The Padres want him back, but it remains to be seen if Machado is willing to reciprocate that interest.
The San Diego Padres want to keep Manny Machado.
Machado is beyond reproach as a third baseman. In the last three seasons, Machado has hit .291 while averaging 34 home runs and 114 RBI per 162 games. He has finished in the top three in MVP voting twice, including a second-place finish behind St. Louis' Paul Goldschmidt last year.
Machado is still just 30 years old, and the contracts given to players like Boagerts and Aaron Judge show that executives have no qualms about giving out contracts that take players into their 40s. Contenders in big markets like the Mets and Yankees will assuredly be interested in Machado.
The Padres have made some offers to keep him in town, but Machado seems to be eyeing a contract in the Judge stratosphere. Considering how Carlos Correa kept signing huge deals after his leg injury, the money being thrown around is so astronomical that Macahdo would be foolish not to cash in.
The Padres' grand infield experiment may not stay together longer than one season if Machado leaves. AJ Preller will need to get very creative if he wants to give Machado a contract that satisfies his desire for a new payday.