After months of speculation, Manny Machado finally signed with the San Diego Padres. Despite this major move, the Padres are still far from postseason contention.
Breaking news finally hit the MLB wire on Tuesday when it was announced that the San Diego Padres have signed star infielder Manny Machado. This is a huge move in the very competitive National League West, keeping Machado on the West Coast after he ended last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Padres needed a move like this, especially for their infield. It allows them to move players around, and make their best positions an even bigger strength. Right now, their projected lineup has Eric Hosmer at first base, Luis Urias at shortstop and Greg Garcia at third base, with Ian Kinsler rounding out the infield at second.
Machado said last season that he wanted to return to shortstop full time. That’s likely why he signed with the Padres, because they gave him what he wanted on the field. (They also gave him a 10-year deal for $300 million, so that likely had something to do with it.) This will probably move Urias back to second base, allow Ian Kinsler to platoon at different positions and Machado could play some time at third to give them lineups on their best day.
However, even with this signing, the Padres lineup still falls well below other teams in the NL West. Wil Myers and Franmil Reyes are good outfielders, but they aren’t a unit that scares many teams. Compare that with the Dodgers, who have A.J. Pollack, Justin Turner, Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy as its top five. The Colorado Rockies might also have a better lineup than the Padres with Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado leading the way.
Sure, this move definitely puts their lineup ahead of the San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks, but it doesn’t make them close to playoff contention. There’s very little chance the West will get both Wild Card positions with the retooled St. Louis Cardinals, the powerhouse Chicago Cubs and the upstart Milwaukee Brewers in the Central.
And then there’s the NL East, who have the Philadelphia Phillies (the favorites to sign Bryce Harper), the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals still fighting for positioning. Even the New York Mets might put out a good team this season.
The Padres definitely are better today than they were yesterday, but they added to their best position. Their starting pitching is still in shambles. Joey Lucchesi is their projected Opening Day starter. Robbie Erlin is projected to go second. We don’t need to go on to tell you there are major issues with their starting pitching.
With this rotation, there’s no chance the Padres are pushing for the postseason this year. We saw with the Baltimore Orioles last season that Manny Machado alone is not enough to win baseball games.
This move is about the Padres looking to the future. They hitched their horse to Machado for a decade. They are hoping their prospects like Fernando Tatis Jr., Mackenzie Gore and Francisco Mejia are ready to compete while Machado is still in his prime.
Machado is just 26 years old. The Padres have five years to show him they are on the right track, because Machado negotiated an out to his contract after the fifth year. This was not a deal for this year, it was one looking to put the Padres back into contention in the future. This year, it could still be rough to be a Padres fan with how the division and league stacks up against their roster.