Over the weekend, Padre’ fans were disappointed in the fact that Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani decided to sign, just north of Petco Park, with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (quite a mouthful).
The frustration was all over social media, as a lot of fans felt that the organization came up short in the pursuit of a big-time free agent.
I’m more of a glass half-full kind of guy. So, while I was disappointed Ohtani decided to play in Anaheim, I was also encouraged that for the first time in many years, a prized free agent heavily considered joining the Padres. That is without a doubt a step in the right direction.
After the Ohtani failure, I was thinking who could be the first transcendent superstar to sign with San Diego? Almost immediately I thought of Orioles’ third baseman Manny Machado.
Obviously Machado is not a free agent this offseason as he is under contract with Baltimore for another year. But next winter, he, along with Bryce Harper, will be atop every baseball team’s wish list. Machado is a once in a generation type of talent. He can hit for power as well as average and plays a spectacular brand of defense. Naturally, he’s not perfect (no player is) as he can be streaky and tends to find himself in the middle of a lot of fights, but he is well worth the potential price tag.
You can expect all the big market teams to try to sign Machado, but I think there’s a few things to consider. Now that the Yankees have traded for Giancarlo Stanton, there’s no way they can afford Machado (I mean, everything has a limit). Machado and Boston had a very public and ugly altercation, so I think you can write off the Red Sox too. The Dodgers have Justin Turner and don’t have a need in the infield just yet. So a lot of the usual suspects would be out of the Machado sweepstakes.
After failing to sign Ohtani, the Padres’ ownership group stated that this would be the last time they failed trying to sign a free agent. I take them at their word. And by this time next year, I think you can pencil in touted prospects Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias as starters at some point in 2019. What better way to protect them in the lineup and keep pressure off of them, than by signing what would be the biggest free agent acquisition is San Diego sports history?
I know that signing Machado is a bit of a pipe dream, but I think that A.J. Preller is the type of G.M. that can shock the baseball world. Signing Machado would take a ton of money. Somewhere between $180 and $250 million (at least). I know the Padres have never even come close to giving that type of contract, but things have been changing under this new ownership group.
Maybe next year around this time, Christmas comes early for Padre fans.
We can only hope.
I am a lawyer that loves everything San Diego!