Mark Feinsand added that the deal is for 10 years and $300 million, making it the largest free agent contract in the history of American sports. Machado has an opt-out after the fifth year of the contract.
Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies and the Padres were the frontrunners for Machado. San Diego only got involved relatively late on but stumped up the cash that Machado was looking for, handing him a mammoth deal.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the White Sox offered 8 years and $250 million to Machado. With incentives and options, Rosenthal said it could have been worth ‘well north’ of the deal he eventually landed on with San Diego. Machado prioritised the guaranteed money from the Padres.
Machado joins top prospect Fernando Tatis jr., Luis Urias and Eric Hosmer in the San Diego infield long-term. The Padres have targeted 2020 as their return to contention – Machado’s arrival could accelerate that, particularly if they add another big free agent or two.
San Diego were ranked as MLB Pipeline’s best farm in their pre-2019 list. Tatis is a generational talent with a high ceiling, within a year or two, he and Machado could be the best left-side of the infield in the league.
Machado’s contract is historically large. For a team with a need at third, though, it is entirely justified.
It is a rare occurrence that an All-Star hits free agency in their prime. San Diego get the best years of Machado alongside two of their elite young players, making it an unorthodox deal in that sense. Decline is an immediate concern with the majority of free agent contracts, but Machado is different. It is possible he is still improving.
The Padres, like the White Sox, are ending a rebuild. Machado is unlikely to make them a playoff team in 2019, but he doesn’t have to. That’s the beauty of a long deal for a 26-year-old. His production is not going to diminish in 2020, perhaps it won’t even halfway through the next decade.
Big free agent expenditure always carries risk. Machado, though, is a safer option than most despite the outlay. This is the kind of move that makes perfect sense for teams like the White Sox and Padres. It is a bullet point on the end of their rebuild.
The snail-paced free agency meant the figure was slightly higher than many will have expected. For a talent like Machado, and for what he means for the Padres, the $300 million makes sense, however. Machado got the record-breaking deal he craved. San Diego get the big-name to build their young talent around.