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Why Bryce Harper or Manny Machado signing with the Padres would actually be pretty sweet

For the last decade or so, the Padres have largely operated outside of the mainstream baseball spotlight. The team has never won a World Series, hasn't been in one since 1998 and hasn't even played postseason baseball since 2006, when their starting catcher was Mike Piazza.
So, you might be wondering why a team that's spent the Social Media Era out of October -- a team that hasn't had a superstar since Adrian Gonzalez -- to be so connected to two of the biggest free-agent stars we've ever seen. Both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper have been linked to the Padres, and the California club has reportedly offered long-term deals to each of them recently.
Well, I'm here to tell you that Bryce and/or Manny going out to Petco Park would actually be pretty freakin' cool -- and not just for San Diegans.

First off, the Padres are about to be really good. Super-duper prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. is a particularly exciting guy to keep an eye on. Ranked as the second-best prospect in all of baseball, the 20-year-old shortstop is on the verge of superstardom. He spent this offseason crushing it in the Dominican Winter League against players generations older than him and should be a perennial All-Star once he gets the callup at some point this year. Oh, and he's also a magnificent bat-flipper.

Adding Machado to the fold alongside Tatis, fellow top prospect Luis Urías -- San Diego's farm system had a whopping 10 players in the MLB Pipeline Top 100 -- and last year's big free-agent signing Eric Hosmer could give the Padres the world's most formidable infield for years to come. And if Harper is the one who chooses to go west, he'd be linking up with fellow bat-flip aficionados Tatis, catcher Austin Hedges and outfielders Wil Myers and Hunter Renfroe to form a lineup full of guys unafraid to let things rip.

Not to mention that they'd look great, too. Once an organization on the front lines of bold jersey design, the Padres' recent turn to the straightforward white and navy color scheme has been a disappointment for many fans. But the club recently announced that starting in 2020, they'll be going back to the iconic brown and yellow that made the team stand out during their 1980s heyday. Just in time for Bryce and Manny, too.

It's pretty tough to picture flashy superstars of Machado and Harper's caliber rocking such understated unis, but the brown and yellow? Thinking about those two smashing taters in those incredible jerseys has got me, a non-Padres fan, all hot and bothered.

Lastly, Harper and/or Machado signing with the Padres would be great because it's the ultimate troll move to the rest of the division, particularly the Dodgers. Long relegated to the bottom of the NL West, the Padres have been treated like a little brother by their siblings to the north. If GM AJ Preller is able to attract one or both of the top free agents to San Diego, not only would it make their baseball team significantly better, it'd be the perfect way to rattle the bones of the L.A. fan base.
And the potential of the Dodger fan base to flip on Machado after so vigorously defending him during his controversial 2018 postseason would be super entertaining from a neutral perspective.

Sure, dynasties can be great. The Dodgers' incredible streak of six consecutive division titles has brought its fair share of awesome moments, antics and narratives. And perhaps I'm being too forgiving here, but doesn't every team deserve a moment in the sun? It's been a long winter for Padres fans. Getting to see Bryce, Manny or evil grin both suit up in the brown and yellow to take this franchise back into the hearts and minds of American sports fans? Sign me up. Well, sign them up, too.

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