The Los Angeles Dodgers have already made firm plans to pursue Shohei Ohtani next offseason, but the pressure on Andrew Friedman might've just been ratcheted up.
After all, it appears that Ohtani might not have a high-dollar running mate in the free agency pool to distract cash-flush teams like the New York Mets. Instead, all eyes will probably be on the pitcher/slugger (instead of just, you know, 95% of the eyes), according to Ken Rosenthal's latest report.
The Athletic's MLB insider believes Peter Seidler and the Padres when they say that extending Manny Machado remains a top priority, even after the $280 million contract San Diego gave to shortstop Xander Bogaerts this offseason.
With a Machado opt-out looming next offseason (and the Mets maintaining a Carlos Correa-sized hole in their infield and lineup), Rosenthal believes the Padres will make a mega-extension with their third baseman a reality in the coming weeks. That would mean another $300 million man (most likely) on San Diego's payroll, but, frighteningly, another superstar in their lineup long-term, too.
Will Manny Machado sign Padres extension? Sorry, Dodgers fans. Soon.
Opening Day? Tough luck.
At the very least, Dodgers fans don't also have to worry about the Angels and owner Arte Moreno coming to terms with Ohtani by the very same deadline.
Theoretically, this should eliminate the Padres from contention for MLB's first $500 million man, but you can never be so sure. Somehow, their wells -- which are dedicated exclusively to upending the Dodgers -- never seem to run dry. Unlike the Giants, they've found superstars to take their money (though it took a few tries this offseason).
Machado was an imperfect Dodger (though LA surrendered very little to Baltimore), but has become a de facto captain during his time in San Diego, a match the third baseman seemed to trip into by accident during a dull 2018-19 offseason. Though an opt-out (and falling out) might've been nice this offseason, it would seem the Dodgers are stuck with this particular villain for quite a while.