Padres removing Manny Machado free agency distraction could get worse for Dodgers
On Sunday, the San Diego Padres and Manny Machado agreed to an 11-year, $350 million contract extension, which marks the fourth-largest deal in MLB history. The star third baseman is no longer a backup plan for the Los Angeles Dodgers next offseason. Whew.
But he is a Padre for the next decade, which doesn't exactly help LA. Sure, he's a good rival to have because there's a mutual dislike, but he's also one of the best players in the sport. Some Dodgers fans might laugh at the price San Diego paid, but the fact of the matter is owner Peter Seidler is putting the best possible team on the field for the foreseeable future.
In the process of dropping $350 million, the Padres eliminated what was going to be a yearlong distraction: Machado's impending contract opt-out and second time hitting free agency in his prime. The Pads are locked and loaded with Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto and Xander Bogaerts. Few high-profile questions remain.
That's a big bummer for the Dodgers because the Padres have been relatively bad with handling distractions, save for their NLCS run in 2022 without Tatis Jr. (though the PR from all of that was bad, regardless of the team's success).
One L for the Dodgers could turn into multiple, though, as it pertains to Machado's extension. Looking ahead to the offseason, the Padres don't seem to be done.
Padres could make life difficult for Dodgers after Manny Machado extension
After the deal was brokered, here's what Dennis Lin of The Athletic (subscription required) wrote in regard to the team's potential future financial endeavors:
"The Padres still are expected to pursue a free-agent deal with Shohei Ohtani next offseason, however unlikely it might be. They still are expected to pursue an extension with Soto, however unlikely it might be."- Dennis Lin of The Athletic
Initially, it was believed Machado's impending free agency would cause more chaos for the Padres. The Mets would've undoubtedly been in on Machado, which could've affected their pursuit of Shohei Ohtani. Now, Ohtani remains the lone crown jewel of the upcoming class and the Dodgers will have fierce competition from Steve Cohen and Co. Though the Padres remain unlikely to land the two-way star, it's still not being ruled out. They could still have anywhere from $50 million to $70 million coming off the books, so there would theoretically be room for another massive contract.
And if they miss on Ohtani, you can bet Seidler will work as hard as he possibly can to keep Juan Soto in San Diego possibly as early as next offseason. Lin wouldn't rule that out, either.
In one fell swoop, the Padres maintained important continuity, created more competition in free agency next offseason, and still remain a threat to sign/extend at least one of the game's biggest stars. You know Dodgers fans love clowning the Padres, but perhaps now is not the time.