We all knew it would happen at some point, yet somehow it came as a surprise when Manny Machado finally reached agreement on a monster free agent contract. After months of hand-wringing over how much he’d take down, Machado secured a hefty ten-year, $300MM commitment — albeit from a rather unexpected place.
Here at MLBTR, we actually predicted that Machado would secure an even lengthier deal at that $30MM AAV. The bidding frenzy we foresaw never quite developed, as several larger-market clubs stayed on the sideline, but there was still sufficient interest to produce the first-ever $300MM free agent contract.
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For the Padres, the move brings in a youthful superstar just ahead of the anticipated crest of a wave of internally developed talent. Machado will be on the books for at least five seasons — he’ll have an opt-out opportunity after his age-30 campaign — and could help open a lengthy contention window. Of course, there’s also risk aplenty in a signing of this magnitude, particularly for an organization that doesn’t have immense payroll capacity and has already placed two larger deals on its books (Wil Myers, Eric Hosmer).
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As noted above, we anticipated entering the winter that a few more bidders would play major roles in the proceedings. Phillies GM Matt Klentak suggested that strict, emotion-less valuations kept his team from increasing its bid. The Yankees seemingly remained on the periphery, seemingly operating with an even tighter grip on their own payroll space. And that was about it … except for the White Sox. The South Siders were obviously all-in on Machado, pulling out all the stops to make an attractive landing spot and putting up a big offer that included more earning upside (but a smaller guarantee) than the one he ultimately took. In the wake of Machado’s decision, the club’s top execs expressed no small amount of disappointment yesterday at missing on him.
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