PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres are making their play for Manny Machado.General manager A.J. Preller recently met with the superstar free agent in Miami, sources told MLB.com on Thursday, confirming the original report from the San Diego Union Tribune. No deal is close, however.In dire need of a long-term solution
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres are making their play for Manny Machado.
General manager A.J. Preller recently met with the superstar free agent in Miami, sources told MLB.com on Thursday, confirming the original report from the San Diego Union Tribune. No deal is close, however.
In dire need of a long-term solution at third base, San Diego seems like an obvious fit for the 26-year-old Machado. It's unclear whether there's a formal offer on the table for the four-time All-Star, but sources said the Padres' level of interest is very high, and they've let Machado's camp know that. The ball may be in Machado's court.
There's belief that a Padres offer for Machado would likely top those of the other contenders. He would not come cheap, and a deal would easily surpass the franchise-record $144 million contract signed by Eric Hosmer last offseason. The Phillies and White Sox, among other clubs, are also believed to be in the mix.
Between the Orioles and Dodgers last year, Machado batted .297/.367/.538 with 37 homers. The Padres are in dire need of that kind of middle-of-the-order thump. They've ranked in the bottom third of the league in offense for as long as Machado's been a big leaguer.
Despite those numbers, the Padres seem confident with their long-term offense, save for one spot -- third base. They've got a deep outfield and a pair of young catchers in Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejía. Machado could round out an infield that also features Hosmer at first, prospect Luis Urías at second and top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. at short.
Last month, the Padres also met with star free agent Bryce Harper in his hometown of Las Vegas. Their current level of interest in Harper remains unclear.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.