The San Diego Padres have reached an agreement with free agent infielder Manny Machado on a 10-year, $300 million deal, according to multiple reports Tuesday.
It would be the most lucrative free-agent contract in the history of American sports, according to MLB.com.
Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler cautioned in an interview with The Athletic the deal was not done. “We do not have a deal. We are continuing discussions,” Fowler said.
But The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal characterized Fowler’s comments as “semantics,” reporting that the financial terms are in place and that the two sides are finalizing the language. Machado also needs to pass a physical.
Two of the runners-up for Machado, the Chicago White Sox and Philadelphia Phillies, were informed of Machado’s decision on Tuesday afternoon. Both teams are also rumored to still be in the running for the remaining big bat in free agency, Bryce Harper.
The White Sox met with Machado’s representatives Monday night, according to general manager Rick Hahn, and owner Jerry Reinsdorf was also present. Hahn said they left the meeting “feeling pretty good” about their chances to sign Machado.
The Phillies were also in contact with Machado’s reps.
“We had a pretty good idea of where this thing was going,” Phillies GM Matt Klentak said Tuesday. “If the (contract value) reports are true, then this contract will exceed our valuation and sometimes you have to be willing to walk away.”
Rosenthal reported the White Sox upped their offer to $350 million including incentives for performance, but Machado wanted $300 million guaranteed — and got it.
White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams met with media on a side field from his golf cart in Arizona. Williams said he kept his sunglasses on for the interview to “hide my shock.”
“You’ve got to give it to them. They are in a similar trajectory as we are. For the same reasons we were after him, they were after him,” Williams said, adding that Chicago could not get to “that $300 million level.”
Hahn acknowledged the White Sox made an “improvement to our proposal” on Monday.
“Trying really hard and failing isn’t sufficient,” Hahn said, but he wouldn’t broach the topic of Harper. “We’re not going to close on all of them — we learned that harshly today.”
“I can certainly look at our offer and say in some elements it’s superior,” Hahn said. “So I don’t know what the trigger was in terms of (Machado making the final) decision. I do not want to say this came only down to money. We will continue to pursue premium talent.”
The contract reportedly includes an opt-out after the fifth season.
Machado, 26, batted .297 with 37 home runs and 107 RBIs last season with the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers.
The four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner was one of the top unsigned superstars on the market, along with Harper.
Landing Machado doesn’t eliminate San Diego from the Harper chase. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported that the Padres haven’t ruled out another big move, as their projected $110 million payroll — including Machado — is still lower than most teams.
The Padres have posted eight straight losing seasons and haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006.
—Field Level Media