With Manny Machado now reportedly coming into the fold, here is how the San Diego Padres’ 2019 lineup should look.
One of the big MLB free agent dominoes has fallen, with Manny Machado agreeing to terms with the San Diego Padres. According Mark Feinsand of MLB.com it’s a record-breaking 10-year, $300 million deal and Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports has reported there’s an opt-out after the fifth year. However, Padres chairman Ron Fowler has said a deal is not done yet.
The Padres had to pony up to get Machado to sign, if things are eventually finalized, and they were a reported suitor for fellow top-dog free agent Bryce Harper. Coming off a 96-loss season in 2018, and three straight 90-plus loss seasons, but with a significant pipeline of minor league talent, the Padres will be counting on a 26-year old Machado to be the face of their return to relevance.
Due in part to playing in a home park that stifles hitters like no other, the Padres are routinely near the bottom of baseball in most offensive categories. That was no different last season, as they were 12th or worse in the National League in runs, home runs, RBI, batting average, slugging percentage and OPS. Machado will help in all of those areas, while adding Gold Glove-caliber defense at third base.
Assuming Machado will notably be in the fold, here’s how the Padres’ lineup should look on Opening Day.
1- 2B Ian Kinsler
2-1B Eric Hosmer
3- 3B Manny Machado
4-RF Wil Myers
5-LF Hunter Renfroe
6-CF Manuel Margot
7-C Austin Hedges
8-SS Luis Arias
Kinsler was a less-notable free agent signing, but his track record says he’s a power threat from the leadoff spot. Hosmer was San Diego’s big splash in free agency last offseason, and despite his being the lone left-handed hitting regular the No. 2 hole should fit him. Machado slots in at No. 3, followed by Myers, who hit 58 home runs and stole 48 passes for the Padres over the 2016 and 2017 seasons before missing time with multiple injuries last year. Renfroe led the team with 26 home runs and a .504 slugging percentage last season.
It shouldn’t be too long before top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. makes his major league debut for San Diego this season, and he’ll step in at shortstop on an every day basis barring something unforeseen. I would plug him at No. 7 in manager Andy Green’s regular lineup, while shifting catcher Hedges to the spot ahead of the pitcher.