As the Padres wait for their talent-rich farm system to bear fruit, the club is reportedly exploring a couple of big-name additions that could significantly expedite its rebuilding process. According to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, San Diego is pursuing free-agent infielder Manny Machado while also discussing a trade for Marlins catcher
As the Padres wait for their talent-rich farm system to bear fruit, the club is reportedly exploring a couple of big-name additions that could significantly expedite its rebuilding process. According to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, San Diego is pursuing free-agent infielder Manny Machado while also discussing a trade for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune first reported that the club is eyeing Machado with the intention of playing him at third base.
The Padres have a ton of young talent on the way -- including Fernando Tatis Jr., the top overall shortstop prospect, per MLB Pipeline -- but they are lacking a short- and long-term answer at the hot corner. The team's current third-base options include Ty France, Greg Garcia and veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler.
Acee noted that the Padres were compelled to enter the race when it became clear that the price to land Machado was not going to be as high as many initially expected, due to a limited market. They "are believed to be legitimate suitors," Acee writes.
Earlier this offseason, it seemed like Machado would sign with either the Phillies, White Sox or Yankees, but the offers he received reportedly weren't close to his asking price. Machado and his agent, Dan Lozano, have been content to wait it out, allowing other teams to enter the mix. The Padres appear to be in the running now, but sources have told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi that San Diego is unlikely to offer $300 million for Machado, based on the team's payroll projections.
The Realmuto saga has also dragged on, reportedly due to the Marlins' lofty asking price. The Padres have elite prospects to spare, though, and they could be a particularly good trade partner for Miami because they can offer a young catcher -- either Austin Hedges or Francisco Mejia -- as part of the return package. Per Morosi, the Marlins have asked that Mejia be included in San Diego's offer.
Meanwhile, San Diego is expected to request a window to negotiate an extension with Realmuto, who can become a free agent after the 2020 season, as one condition of any trade. However, MLB.com's Joe Frisaro reports that the Marlins are not offering a negotiating window to interested teams.
From the Padres' perspective, acquiring Realmuto would carry the added bonus of keeping him away from the division-rival Dodgers, who have turned their focus to the catcher after signing outfielder A.J. Pollock.
The two National League West clubs have plenty of competition for Realmuto, as the Braves, Astros, Reds and Rays are also involved in trade discussions, according to Frisaro.
Padres general manager A.J. Preller is no stranger to bold moves, as he acquired Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, James Shields, William Myers and Craig Kimbrel in his first offseason on the job. Those transactions led to a 74-88 record and a fourth-place finish in 2015, however, and four of those five players are no longer with the organization.
The Padres haven't made the postseason during Preller's tenure, and they are in the midst of a 12-year October drought.
Thomas Harrigan is a reporter for MLB.com.