Manny Machado’s Free Agency Is a Deal That’s Not About Money

NLCS: Manny Machado Has Been a $300 Million Bargain for San Diego Padres

The San Diego Padres’ Manny Machado has been a $300 million bargain for the past three-plus years.

It’s a bargain that he didn’t earn. It’s a bargain that his agent doesn’t even dispute. Even his own Padres, who just lost him to the Los Angeles Dodgers, are now trying to claim that his free agency is not really about money, but about money more generally. And his $300 million in guarantees is, of course, a guarantee that the Padres won’t be losing even if he doesn’t sign here. Now the Padres are trying to get him to agree to a deal that guarantees him $200 million in guarantees, in exchange for his contract being worth $200 million.

All of this is a little more complicated than it’s been given credit for being. But it all boils down to just one thing: He’s a Hall of Famer. Machado has been an All-Star in three of the past four seasons and is a two-time MVP. And the thing is, just in case you think baseball fans are stupid, he’s played for some teams that didn’t make the playoffs: The Atlanta Braves, for example, and the Houston Astros. Now, he could have gone to Kansas City with those teams.

But the Padres, it turns out, were a better fit. And for reasons that only really make sense if you know about baseball’s long history going back to the dawn of the modern game, the Padres have been the only team with the money, the organization, the players and the history to back up a Hall of Famer like Machado. You don’t want to be the Astros or the Braves. So there was really no way to go from the Marlins to the Padres. And now they’re losing Machado in free agency

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