Jon Meoli and Peter Schmuck talk about the Manny Machado signing in San Diego, the Orioles signing of Alcides Escobar and Alex Cobb on the mound. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun video)
Former Orioles All-Star infielder Manny Machado reportedly agreed to the richest free agent contract in baseball history Tuesday, a 10-year, $300 million pact with the San Diego Padres.
According to reports by ESPN.com and MLB.com, Machado’s agreement, which the club has not announced, surpasses the previous MLB record free agent contract held by Machado’s mentor, Alex Rodriguez, who signed a 10-year, $275 million deal with the New York Yankees in 2008.
With fellow superstar free agent Bryce Harper still unsigned as spring training is underway across Florida and Arizona, Machado’s deal is only eclipsed by the 13-year, $325 million contract Giancarlo Stanton signed with the Miami Marlins before he reached free agency.
While San Diego only emerged as a suitor for Machado recently — others initially included the Yankees, Chicago White Sox, and Philadelphia Phillies — the size of the contract has been fated for years. Since the Orioles made him the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft, Machado was one of the brightest young stars in the game, debuting in Baltimore on Aug. 9, 2012, at third base to help the Orioles break a run of 14 straight losing seasons and return to the playoffs as a Wild Card team.
Machado made his first of four All-Star teams in 2013, and at the end of that season, which was shortened by a knee injury in September, earned the Platinum Glove as the American League’s best fielder. He won another Gold Glove in 2015, the first of two consecutive years when he went to the All-Star Game and the first of four straight years with at least 33 home runs.
His only sustained struggle came in 2017, but he rebounded in 2018 to bat .315 with 24 home runs and a .916 OPS for the Orioles before he was traded after representing them in the All-Star Game to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a five-player package that included top prospect Yusniel Díaz.
Once with the Dodgers, Machado played well but dented his reputation with some controversies during the National League Championship Series against the Milwaukee Brewers. He was criticized for a lack of hustle, the bench-clearing kick of first baseman Jesus Aguilar’s leg and a lewd gesture toward the stands in Milwaukee. That, combined with his previous issues regarding throwing a bat in the direction of Josh Donaldson in 2015, and the controversy that came with his hard slide on Boston Red Sox star Dustin Pedroia, took some focus off his talents during the free agent process.
It’s unclear what that did to Machado’s job prospects, but he joins a Padres team that has nine top-100 prospects, according to Baseball America, and could be set up well to contend with him and fellow big free agent signing Eric Hosmer going forward.