PEORIA, Ariz. -- No matter how Manny Machado’s contract saga ended, he was always headed for a meaningful place in baseball history as one of the best third basemen of his generation.
But now that he has agreed to an 11-year extension that will keep him in San Diego through 2033? Machado has a unique opportunity to etch himself in Padres lore as one of the franchise’s all-time greats, with the potential to reach unprecedented heights in San Diego.
The deal is not final and hasn’t yet been announced by the club. But there’s no telling what Machado might be able to accomplish in San Diego after he puts pen to paper on that contract.
Here’s a look at some meaningful records and feats Machado could be destined for over the next decade and change:
1. Hall of Fame-bound?
Plenty of Hall of Famers have called San Diego home. Ozzie Smith and Roberto Alomar began their careers with the Padres. Fred McGriff and Rickey Henderson are among those who made meaningful stops in San Diego. Greg Maddux and Willie McCovey spent part of the twilight of their careers there.
Machado appears destined to become the fourth. At 30, he has accumulated 52 WAR, seemingly putting him on the precipice of a Hall of Fame career -- with, now, 11 years left on his contract.
Machado, of course, was an Oriole for his first seven seasons. But Sunday's news put to rest any question over which hat Machado would choose. As he walked to the Padres' clubhouse on Sunday, smiling wider than usual, Machado had this to say:
"We're excited to be here for the rest of our careers -- and have this hat go into the Hall of Fame."
2. Padres’ home run king
Some aspirations on this list might seem lofty. This one feels like a bit of a formality. With Machado’s post-2023 opt-out no longer looming, he seems destined to become the Padres' all-time home run leader in relatively short order.
Machado's 108 home runs with San Diego are 55 shy of Nate Colbert's long-standing record. Colbert -- who, decades before Machado’s arrival, became the franchise's first true star player -- died in January. He launched 163 home runs during his six-year Padres tenure from 1969-74, the first six years of the club's existence.
Might Machado break that record in a six-year span himself? He'd need to average only 28 homers over the next two seasons -- a number he has reached in all three of his full seasons with the Padres.
3. 500 homers and 3,000 hits
Sitting on 283 career home runs and 1,597 hits, Machado appears within striking distance of baseball's two most storied hitting milestones.
Last June, Machado became just the 17th player to reach the halfway point of both milestones before his 30th birthday. Among the first 16, 12 are Hall of Famers, two remain on the ballot (Alex Rodriguez and Andruw Jones) and two appear to be Hall no-doubters (Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols).
Over the duration of his contract, Machado would need to average 19.7 homers and 127.5 hits to reach those two marks -- certainly realistic, even if he endures a decline in his late 30s.
In franchise history, only Gwynn and Henderson have recorded their 3,000th career hits while donning Padres colors. As for home run No. 500? Machado would be the first.
4. A first World Series
Machado has accomplished an awful lot in his career, but he remains in search of that elusive first World Series championship. The Padres, their title drought now at 54 years, are in search of the very same thing.
They've never had a better shot at sustained success than they do right now. The team's 1984 and '98 pennants were one-offs, sandwiched by mediocre seasons. The mid-2000s never materialized into more than two first-round exits and Game 163 heartbreak.
There will be no supplanting Gwynn as the franchise's most beloved and storied player. But if Machado can help deliver the city its first championship, he'd earn himself a comfortable place alongside Gwynn in Padres lore.