The San Diego Padres are a surprise entry in the Manny Machado sweepstakes, sources tell FRS Baseball.
San Diego would seem to be a long shot; they wouldn’t seem to be a likely playoff team, Machado is a free agent after the year and the Padres would seem to have no hope of signing him up long-term. However, the Padres have surprised before, signing Eric Hosmer to the biggest free-agent contract of the winter, and a couple years back making bold moves for Justin Upton, Craig Kimbrel and Matt Kemp.
A Padres person characterized their contact as “due diligence” and downplayed the possibility. It’s hard to completely discount them, though, since they have a great list of prospects and a willingness to take a chance.
The Padres are somewhat of a surprise to be anywhere near contention, but even after losing four straight games they are only eight games out of first place in the tightly-packed NL West. Even so, most continue to view them as likely sellers, and most of the speculation surrounding San Diego has been about their star reliever Brad Hand,
Many others teams would still seem more logical, including the Phillies, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Indians, Cubs and division-rival Dodgers. And perhaps San Diego is mostly monitoring the situation.
While the Padres have pulled some surprises, there’s no way to think they could sign someone like Machado long-term. They basically doubled their record contract when they signed Eric Hosmer to a $144 million, eight-year deal in the winter. To think they could double that to keep Machado would seem to be folly; they certainly don’t have the revenues to support that.
They also have a great young shortstop prospect in Fernando Tatis Jr., and Machado has made clear he wants to sign long-term as a shortstop (though if he’s traded, he’d have to play third base if the acquiring team has no spot for him at shortstop.)
In any case, the Padres certainly are a welcome addition to the derby, as they have one of the top five prospect lists, and by some accounts, the top one. And they certainly have the pieces to get something done.
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