The Padres continue to be linked to Manny Machado on the rumor mill, and The Athletic’s Dennis Lin (subscription required) provides a bit of history on San Diego’s pursuit of the star infielder. It wasn’t until late January that the Padres began to “seriously contemplate” the idea of signing Machado, due to his high asking price and the team’s own hesitation about Machado’s well-documented history of borderline dirty play and a perceived lack of hustle. This led to what one source described as an “ungodly” amount of background work from the team about Machado, and given the Padres’ burgeoning interest, it appears as though their questions have been answered to their satisfaction. In fact, ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan hears from two sources that the Padres “are enamored with” Machado, and see him as the veteran centerpiece amidst the club’s upcoming influx of highly-rated minor leaguers. There has been some speculation that Machado, a Miami native, was favoring East Coast teams over West Coast teams, though Fancred’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link) hears that Machado is looking for the best deal, with geography not a factor.
Here’s more from around the NL West…
- Also from Passan’s piece, he reports that the Rockies have been discussing extensions with some of their young starters. No names are mentioned, though it’s fair to assume that names like Kyle Freeland, German Marquez, Tyler Anderson, and perhaps Jon Gray or Antonio Senzatela could be on Colorado’s radar as long-term pieces. Of that group, Freeland, Marquez, and Senzatela don’t become arbitration-eligible until next winter, while Anderson and Gray each have two arb years remaining. As such, there isn’t any tremendous urgency to get an extension worked out with any of these hurlers — as Passan notes, current talks could be more about laying some groundwork for more substantive negotiations next spring. Then again, each pitcher is his own unique case, and it could be that at least one could be eager to lock in a guaranteed payday rather than risk injury, or perhaps a performance dropoff while pitching at Coors Field. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently profiled Freeland as an extension candidate, arguing that a five-year, deal in the range of $35MM-$37MM would seem like a fair contract for the 25-year-old southpaw, who finished fourth in NL Cy Young Award voting in 2018.
- Cameron Maybin received interest from multiple teams this winter, though the veteran outfielder told Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group that he chose to sign with the Giants due to the opportunity for playing time, and because of Buster Posey’s recent tweet about the club being “an organization that wants to win.” Maybin has only reached the postseason once in his 12-year career, though the trip was a memorable one, as Maybin won a World Series ring as a member of the 2017 Astros. Of course, the Giants don’t profile as the most obvious potential contender going into the 2019, though there’s still plenty of veteran talent on hand if everyone can stay healthy.
- Carson Kelly is eager to finally get a chance at regular MLB playing time, the new Diamondbacks catcher tells The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan (subscription required). Acquired by Arizona as part of the Paul Goldschmidt blockbuster, Kelly will see much more action with the D’Backs than he did as the backup behind workhorse Yadier Molina in St. Louis. Molina’s continued longevity meant that Kelly, a former second-round draft pick and top-60 prospect in the sport, became an expendable piece. “In the big leagues, I’ve only had a chance to fail. I’ve never really had a chance to grow,” Kelly said, noting that he found himself pressing at the plate when with the Cardinals since he so rarely got a chance to play. While the Diamondbacks’ three-catcher plan means that Kelly still won’t get a full everyday-catcher workload, Buchanan writes that “Kelly figures to be Catcher 1A,” and could end up getting more at-bats if he plays well.