Manny Machado (and bunting) has that effect on people.
One of the two premier prizes of free agency this winter found a landing spot Tuesday when he and the Padres came to terms on a 10-year, $300 million contract. The deal includes an opt-out after the fifth year. Neither side confirmed the numerous media reports Tuesday.
Assuming things go off without a hitch, the Padres will have netted themselves a franchise cornerstone to go with a strong core of young major league talent and one of the best farm systems, if not the best system, in baseball. Machado won't turn 27 years old until July.
Last season the infielder, who will presumably play third base with the Friars, batted .297/.367/.538 with 37 homers, tying a career best, 84 runs scored and a career-high 107 RBI. Machado also stole 14 bases, the second time in his career he's posted double-digit steals.
With the Padres he'll hit in the top-third of a lineup that includes Wil Myers, Eric Hosmer and Hunter Renfroe, with up-and-comers like Luis Urias, Francisco Mejia and Franmil Reyes expected to play major roles in 2019 as well. Top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. looms in the high minors.
While the news was welcome in San Diego, mayonnaise guy notwithstanding, its effects rippled elsewhere throughout baseball Tuesday. Williams, whose White Sox were believed to be among the favorites to land the 26-year-old, said he was "disappointed" hearing the news.
"If the offer that I'm seeing, or the acceptance of the offer I'm seeing is true, actually our offer had the opportunity for Manny to surpass that," Williams told reporters at the White Sox's Spring Training facility in Glendale, Arizona. "But in the end we went after the guy, obviously we didn't get him, and we're disappointed."
In Philadelphia, general manager Matt Klentak's office might feel a little warmer these days with one fewer big target on the board. The Phillies have been long expected to sign one of Machado or Bryce Harper, so with Machado now off the market, the equation is simpler -- either the Phils get Harper, or they're left without a chair when the music stops.
“I’m confident that that will be the perception,” Klentak said Tuesday. “We have to remember that there will be other free agents that make sense for this franchise. There will be plenty of opportunities to spend money and to make our team better. We cannot allow ourselves to be put in a position where we have to do something at all costs. There’s a significant cost that we’re willing to pay to add, but we have to be willing to walk away at some point.”
The move might be a step in the wrong direction for Machado's fantasy value in the near term, with our Drew Silva diving deeper into the fantasy implications, and the Padres may not win much in 2019, but it's an indication to the NL West and the entire league that the San Diego franchise isn't content to sit around and hope their prospect seeds blossom into MLB stars. Even if not specific to the Padres, it's the kind of statement baseball fans and analysts have been clamoring for all winter.
Red Light For Redbirds Starter
The Cardinals' longstanding tradition of significant pitcher injuries reared its ugly head Tuesday.
While not a season-ender, yet, as in years past, Carlos Martinez was shut down for two weeks after experiencing weakness in his right shoulder. He was removed from the team's throwing program and will focus on building strength around the shoulder.
"I just want to be smart in spring training," Martinez said, with help from the team's official translator. "I want to get strength in that shoulder. I feel a little bit of weakness and inflammation at the same time. That’s why I stopped throwing. I wanted to be a little bit smart about it and be 100 percent before throwing the ball again."
He'll be re-evaluated March 5 and if at that time his shoulder feels stronger, Martinez will likely resume working toward being ready on Opening Day. The Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold noted that timeline might lend itself to Martinez returning as a reliever, at least at first, since it would require less of him, endurance-wise, in the near term.
Of course, shoulder issues were what plagued the right-hander for much of the 2018 season as well. He finished with a 3.11 ERA in 33 appearances that included 18 starts and 15 relief appearances, including five saves.
The Cardinals are not lacking starting options should Martinez not be ready for Opening Day. Goold lists John Gant, Austin Gomber, Dakota Hudson and even Alex Reyes as possibilities to fill the spot if needed.
The club is hoping they won't be needed, though. Cardinals manager Mike Shildt called the shutdown "precautionary" but also "necessary." Perhaps this year they'll get away with a small pause rather than a full stop.
Bochy To Call It A Career
The National League West hasn't seen a season without Bruce Bochy since 1995.
It will in 2020.
Bochy, longtime manager of first the Padres and more recently the Giants, plans to retire at the end of the 2019 season, it was reported Monday.
Bochy has a lifetime 1,926-1,944 (.498) record as a manager that undersells his prolific career, one that has seen him win three World Series titles and guide a fourth club, the 1998 Padres, to a runner-up finish. Interestingly, Bochy has been named NL Manager of the Year only once, for a 1996 Padres team that won 91 games after winning 70 during his rookie campaign.
Bochy, a surefire Hall of Famer when the time comes, is currently 11th all-time in manager wins and has a shot at breaking into the top 10 if his Giants club can win 83 games this season. Always the party pooper, Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA projections have the Giants winning just 73 games this season.
The only bummer is that Bochy won't have a shot at going out with a fourth championship, being an odd year and all.
Quick Hits: Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said Monday that it's "extremely unlikely" the club re-signs closer Craig Kimbrel. Given Boston's alternatives in the back-end of the bullpen, a match still makes sense on paper, but these comments would seem to all but rule out a reunion. Unless something suddenly changes here, the frontrunners for the closer role likely include Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes. As for Kimbrel, his market remains a mystery, though teams like the Braves, Phillies, and Twins have been speculated as possible landing spots. ... Angels owner Arte Moreno said Monday that the club hasn't had any "formal talks" on a contract extension for Mike Trout. Earlier in the day, Trout declined to comment on any possible negotiations with the Angels. Moreno said there has been some internal discussions about an extension, which sounds like the biggest no-brainer of all-time. However, where things go from here is anyone's guess. Trout has two years and $66.50 million remaining on his contract. ... Justin Upton is dealing with patellar tendinitis in his right knee. The Angels will bring him along slowly this spring, but it doesn't sound like something that will impact his availability for Opening Day. The situation is worth watching, though. Upton, 31, batted .257/.344/.463 with 30 homers and 85 RBI over 145 games last season. ... Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said during an appearance on WEEI that the club has had contract extension talks with ace Chris Sale. Sale said last week that he hasn't heard anything about an extension, so it's unclear if something has changed since then or we're just talking about a matter of semantics. In any case, it doesn't sound like anything is imminent. Sale is due to become a free agent after the 2019 season, so it's only logical that the Red Sox would reach out while they still have exclusive negotiating rights. It's unclear if Sale's representatives will set any sort of deadline on negotiations once the regular season begins. ... Mallex Smith (elbow) is unlikely to be ready to play the outfield for the Mariners' March 20-21 games against the Athletics in Japan. It is possible, however, that he could be ready to serve as a designated hitter or pinch-runner. Smith did some defensive drills and running on Tuesday, but he's not ready to swing a bat yet and won't resume throwing for several weeks as he works his way back from a strained right elbow. Realistically, the Mariners will probably hold Smith back until their home opener on March 28 against the Red Sox. ... Scooter Gennett says he hasn't heard anything from the Reds about a possible contract extension. Gennett said his reps have "definitely opened it up" with the Reds, but that they've heard "absolutely nothing" about anything long-term. It's a point of frustration for Gennett in the early days of camp. The two sides avoided arbitration last month by agreeing to a one-year, $9.775 million contract, but Gennett is due to become a free agent next winter. ... MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports that the Mariners are among the teams interested in free agent catcher Martin Maldonado. Omar Narvaez seems locked into a large share of playing time at catcher this year in Seattle, but Maldonado would make sense as an active backup or even platoon partner. Maldonado, 32, batted just .225/.276/.351 over 404 plate appearances last year between the Angels and Astros, but he has flashed some power in the past and won a Gold Glove for his fine defensive play at catcher in 2017. ... Reds signed INF/OF Derek Dietrich to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Dietrich would make $2-plus million if he makes the major league roster. It's another solid addition for the Reds, who are doing their best to make things interesting in the NL Central. Dietrich isn't a strong defender, but he's posted a .773 OPS (114 OPS+) over the past four seasons. He'll provide depth between the infield and outfield. ... Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that the Padres haven't ruled out Bryce Harper. I won't eat a jar of mayonnaise or anything, but, I mean, yeah right.