8:08PM: Rival general managers have been told that Machado’s offer from the Padres is at least eight years/$240MM with deferred money, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter links). Some other GMs, however, have been told that Machado has been offered $280MM.
7:42PM: The Padres are thought to have offered Manny Machado a contract in the neighborhood of eight years and $250MM, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link), while the club has reportedly issued an even larger offer to Bryce Harper. The exact total of the Machado offer is, as Heyman noted, an estimate, as that deal could include deferred money or some adjustment based on California’s higher taxation rates. Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune (also via Twitter) believes the Padres’ offer to Machado is beyond the $250MM mark, though Acee isn’t certain about the number of years involved in the contract.
While still short of the potential record-setting numbers thrown around for both Harper and Machado prior to the start of free agency, and even seemingly still shy of the $300MM threshold, it’s worth noting that only three contracts in baseball history (Giancarlo Stanton’s record $325MM deal with the Marlins, and Alex Rodriguez’s deals with the Rangers and Yankees) have topped the $250MM plateau. The Padres’ two offers are more akin to the type of long-term deals many expected the two free agent superstars to receive en masse this winter.
Either deal would represent easily the biggest contract in the history of the Padres franchise, far outpacing the $144MM signed by Eric Hosmer last offseason. While San Diego has never traditionally been a big spender, MLBTR’s Rob Huff recently made the case that the team is capable of handling the giant contract required to land Machado or Harper. Hosmer and Wil Myers (at admittedly hefty salaries) are the only contracts on the books beyond the 2020 season, plus the Padres have an inexpensive core of talent headed to the big leagues in the form of their top-rated minor league system. Between some creative contractual measures like deferrals, opt-outs, a dual option (a recent favorite of Scott Boras, Harper’s agent), there certainly seems to be room to fit a mega-contract under San Diego’s payroll going forward.
Padres executives have personally met with both Harper and Machado in recent weeks, and San Diego’s late entry as a suitor for both players seems to have been inspired by the fact that both are still on the market this deep into the offseason. In short, the Padres could be a classic “mystery team” scenario — the unexpected club that emerges as a late bidder and potentially walks away with a star. It should be noted that the Padres surprised many by signing Hosmer last year, and also when they landed James Shields in February 2015, during A.J. Preller’s news-making (and ultimately ill-fated) first offseason as San Diego’s general manager.
Reports from earlier today suggested that the Phillies were considered as the favorites to sign Harper, though connected teams like the White Sox, Giants, and Nationals hadn’t yet been ruled out. Machado’s market has been more limited, with only the Phillies and White Sox known to be clear bidders, and the Yankees perhaps on the outskirts looking for a shorter-term deal. The White Sox had reportedly made a bid of seven years and $175MM to Machado, though his agent strongly denied those numbers were accurate.