A few weeks ago, a preseason Manny Machado extension with the Padres, triggered by the forthcoming opt-out clause in his contract, seemed like a necessity Dodgers fans would have to live with.
Now? If the Padres and Machado are going to get a long-term deal done before Opening Day, they're going to have to traverse a tremendous gulf between expectations and reality.
Per reports, Machado is seeking $400 million in total over the 10-year stretch to come, likely inspired by watching what the team reportedly offered to Aaron Judge this offseason, as well as the deal Xander Bogaerts signed in December.
The Padres? They're currently offering an extra five years and $105 million, which would amount to 10 years and $255 million in total.
Can the two sides compromise on a measly $145 million before the end of March, or is Machado destined to enter free agency, where the Mets will be forced to choose between him and Shohei Ohtani (probably)?
Dodgers fans will enjoy gulf between Manny Machado contract request, Padres offer
Watch the Padres somehow turn this into a San Diego Special, extending Machado for his desired $400 million over the course of 17 years instead. "Yup! We intend to play him through the age of 48. This is an entirely legitimate deal and not an AAV workaround, thanks!"
Machado seems to embody "no hard feelings" at the moment and fully understands this business. He won't be making any team-first concessions, though, especially not after watching the Padres flail gobs of cash around wildly at Judge and Trea Turner this offseason. He knows the money is there. He also knows they might prefer to battle the Dodgers for Ohtani rather than acquiesce to his demands.
Machado may still end up with the Padres longterm as their leader and a shoulder for Fernando Tatis Jr. to lean on. After reading both sides of this contract argument, though, there's a good chance these differences turn out to be irreconcilable prior to an all-important 2023 season.