Sarasota, Fla. — With his reported 10-year, $300 million agreement with the San Diego Padres, former Orioles star Manny Machado's contract is the largest commitment to a position player since his former teammate, Chris Davis, signed with the Orioles for $161 million in January 2016.
Since then, free agent salaries have plummeted in a labor environment that doesn't give teams incentive to spend on veteran players, and baseball was in another major free agent lull before Machado reportedly agreed to the richest free agent contract in the game's history.
"It makes me happy, for him, for his family, for future players — just for the overall state of the game right now," Davis said. "Especially with everything that's going on, it's nice to see a guy like him get rewarded by a team that maybe was kind of a dark horse, I think, until just a few days ago, or even a week ago.
"I think there are guys that are definitely top-tier talent type of players, and Manny is definitely one of those guys. To see one of those guys get rewarded, it's encouraging. It has to be, not only for me, but for younger players, for guys who maybe haven't gone through free agency or even arbitration yet, it kind of gives you a little bit of hope, and reassures you that things aren't just going to keep dragging on the way they have the last couple of years."
News of Machado's agreement, with the deal first reported by ESPN and the salary first reported by MLB.com, trickled through the clubhouse as the position players were in a meeting after Tuesday's workout. The clubhouse television was turned on for the first time to watch analysis of the deal, and many players found out through those means of the news that swept across baseball.
"That's awesome," outfielder Trey Mancini said. "He worked his whole life to get that deal, and he got it. Couldn't be happier for him. He's worth it."
Right-hander Alex Cobb had an even longer wait in free agency before signing with the Orioles last March, and said he's "thrilled that he found a spot that he wants to be and a deal that is to his liking, if this is all true.
"It's been a long enough offseason for him and to only miss a couple days of camp, I think that's the best-case scenario that we were looking at right now," Cobb said. "So just thrilled for Manny. He's a really good teammate. I know he's had a lot of critics, and people pointing out things that he doesn't do well, but he does so many things well. He was a really good teammate the short time I got to spend with him, so I'm happy he got to have this opportunity, if this is all true."