SAN DIEGO – It had been a while since any Padres player seriously entered the National League MVP discussion. That changed in 2020.
Ultimately, Padres third baseman Manny Machado didn't take home the hardware on Thursday night. The award went to Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, who garnered 28 of 30 first-place votes.
Machado finished third in the voting with 221 points, behind Freeman's 410 and Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts' 268. Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. finished fourth with 201.
After fellow awards finalists Jake Cronenworth (NL Rookie of the Year) and Jayce Tingler (NL Manager of the Year) came up short earlier this week, the Padres' drought without an award from the Baseball Writers' Association of America has reached 10 years. (Bud Black took home NL Manager of the Year in 2010.)
Still, it's worth noting how far the Padres have come. Some of those 10 years were hapless. This year was not.
The left side of the Padres' infield featured two of the NL's four most valuable players, according to voters from the BBWAA. It's the first time in franchise history San Diego has had two top-five finishers. Right fielder Wil Myers also received a ninth-place vote and finished tied for 16th.
Machado's third-place finish was the highest by a Padre since Ken Caminiti became the franchise's first and only MVP Award winner in 1996. Neither Machado nor Tatis finished with a first-place vote (and no Padre has earned one since Caminiti).
The Padres figure to enter the 2021 season with a roster loaded with candidates for the BBWAA's major awards.