PEORIA, Ariz. -- Manny Machado is San Diego-bound.
The Padres finalized a record-setting 10-year deal with the superstar free agent on Thursday, and he’ll be introduced in a press conference Friday at the Peoria Sports Complex. Here's everything you need to know about the signing.
What are the parameters of the contract?
It's a 10-year deal worth $300 million, with an opt-out for Machado after the first five years, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand. That's the largest contract awarded to a free agent in American sports history, surpassing the 10-year, $275 million deal that Alex Rodriguez signed in December 2007. It's the largest given by the Padres, more than doubling Eric Hosmer's eight-year, $144 million contract signed precisely one year ago today.
The Padres structured Machado's contract so he'd be under control through 2023 at least. They've now guaranteed that Machado's prime will link up with the emergence of baseball's top-rated farm system. If Machado opts into his deal, he'd be under control through '28.
Where is he going to play?
It's unclear where Machado opens the season. He spent six years at third base with the Orioles before transitioning to shortstop last year. The Padres have openings at both positions in the short term.
But it seems like Machado's long-term place on the diamond is already set. Fernando Tatis Jr. is the top shortstop prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. A couple of years ago there were question marks about Tatis' ability to handle shortstop. But the 20-year-old has answered those questions, becoming a well-above-average defender in the Minor Leagues.
The Padres are staunch in their belief that Tatis is their shortstop of the future, meaning Machado's heading back to the hot corner.
"With Tatis, it's been great to see the progression of adding him to the organization and seeing him continue to grow at the shortstop position," said Padres general manager A.J. Preller. "We think he's going to be an impact defender. ... Our opinion of Tatis, he's a shortstop. He's going to be our shortstop. That's the way we look at it."
1) What's the Opening Day lineup now?
Machado's hitting somewhere right in the heart of it. He had 340 total bases last season. The Padres have never had an infielder record that many in a single season.
It's hard to envision a bigger upgrade in any lineup anywhere, given that six journeymen were set to compete for the third-base job, and Ty France was the projected starter.
Opening Day lineup: (1) Margot, CF; (2) Machado, 3B; (3) Hosmer, 1B; (4) Myers, LF; (5) Hunter Renfroe, RF; (6) Ian Kinsler, 2B; (7) Urias, SS; (8) Austin Hedges, C
2) What's the long-term plan for the lineup?
Tatis is expected to reach the Major Leagues at some point during the season's first two months. He could be promoted as soon as mid-April.
That'd push Urias to second base and Kinsler into something of a utility role.
The Padres have some legitimate depth options, and they have every single player listed above under team control for the next four seasons. (Not to mention the glut of talent waiting in the wings in the Minor Leagues.)
Long-term lineup: (1) Urias, 2B; (2) Tatis, SS; (3) Hosmer, 1B; (4) Machado, 3B; (5) Myers, LF; (6) Renfroe/Franmil Reyes, RF; (7) Margot/Franchy Cordero, CF; (8) Hedges/Francisco Mejia, C
So, are the Padres instant contenders?
Well, maybe not just yet. The Padres finished 25 1/2 games behind the Dodgers last season, and Machado's presence alone won't bridge that gap.
The San Diego offense should make major strides in 2019, with top prospects Tatis, Urias and Mejia all expected to arrive. But the rotation is still iffy. Padres starters posted a National League-worst 5.09 ERA last season, and general manager A.J. Preller didn't add any immediate help this offseason. Garrett Richards -- who could miss the entire season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery -- was San Diego's only free-agent acquisition.
The club's stated goal was to make a run at contention in 2020. The Padres have a host of incredibly talented pitching prospects who could arrive by then. Richards will return, and so will Dinelson Lamet. It's probably realistic to expect the biggest strides to be made in '20. But the Padres certainly wouldn't mind if that timeline were moved forward by a year.
What else will the Padres do this offseason?
There's been some speculation that a Machado signing might push the Padres all-in for 2019. That seems unlikely. They probably aren't going to add a big-name starter like Dallas Keuchel, and they might not add to the rotation at all. The in-house preference has been to find out what they've got in some of their young arms.
It's still possible the Padres find a trade partner for one of their six big league-caliber outfielders. With Machado on board for a record salary, maybe the Friars look to move Myers, who is owed $64 million over the next four seasons. Reyes, Cordero and Renfroe could then compete for time in the two outfield corners. (But that trio of young outfielders could be trade bait as well -- perhaps for a starting pitcher.)
Are the Padres still in on Bryce Harper?
They almost certainly are not. No, the Machado signing is enough for one offseason.
What else do the Padres need to do?
They don't need to do anything. In fact, they're pretty content to find out how the current roster, plus Machado, holds up.
From here, the most important item on the Padres' agenda is player development. They've invested heavily in free agents over the past two offseasons, under the premise that Machado and Hosmer would perfectly complement an extremely talented group of young players. If that group of youngsters lives up to its billing, the Padres will be a force in the NL.