The Padres made the biggest splash of the offseason by signing one of the top two free agents on the market, Manny Machado, to a reported ten years, $300 million deal today. As it stands, this is the largest free agent deal ever signed, well, at least until Bryce Harper signs with the Phillies in a day or so. I cannot praise this move enough for the Padres. This is an organization with the best farm system in baseball and they just locked up a 26-year-old perennial all-star at one of their few positions of need. The move also signifies the arrival of Fernando Tatis Jr. sooner rather than later. The Padres are going for it on the eve of numerous highly touted prospects making their debuts.
The signing is not only a great move, but also hilarious if you hate the White Sox. The south siders were rumored to be in on Machado and their fan base was over their skis about landing the infielder. Couple this with the trade a few years ago where they sent Tatis to San Diego for ‘Big Game’ (big game, ha-ha) James Shields and the Chicago faithful have to be on the ledge. Do I take pleasure in watching their fans suffer? Do I still hold a grudge for the time I went to U.S. Cellular to watch the Red Sox play the White Sox in the first round of the 2005 playoffs where I had food thrown at me, my life threatened and an older woman look me in the eye on the way out with a finger in my face yelling ‘F*** YOU’? Of course not, that would be petty and small and very clearly beneath me. I definitely won’t be spending the rest of the day on Twitter scrolling through the tweets of very upset White Sox fans crying and whining about their misfortune while extracting a level of schadenfreude yet to be seen by civilized man. Couldn’t be me.
As for the Padres, their lineup is now beyond formidable. By mid-season, they could have an infield that goes Machado, Tatis, Urias and Hosmer with highly touted catching prospect Francisco Mejia behind the plate. Not to mention their glut of outfielders that should work out to some combination Wil Myers, Franchy Cordero/Manuel Margot and Franmil Reyes/Hunter Renfroe. Oh, and did I mention their stupid depth on the farm? San Diego should also be bringing up multiple young arms like Chris Paddack, Logan Allen and eventually MacKenzie Gore. This embarrassment of riches will ensure the Padres do not stop here. With many more young position players now blocked I believe we will see a trade or two for some established starting pitching before the year is over.
The Padres are about to be contenders and will continue to be so for a long time. They have positioned themselves perfectly in a winnable division with their only real competition being the Dodgers. I would be hammering the over on the Padres season win total. They will win more games than expected this year and be in a real position to contend next year and beyond. Things can turn around quickly with a good minor league system and a couple well placed signings and trades. East coast baseball fans are about to lose a lot more sleep with someone this young and exciting playing late into the night. We haven’t even see where Harper will land and Spring Training is still a few days away, but my baseball blood is flowing. Need it back in our lives. Let’s get this going.