The whispers of a mystery team for Manny Machado got a little louder and a lot less mysterious with a report that the Padres are “chasing” the superstar shortstop. That comes via Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, who cited multiple sources in writing that the Pads would want to sign Machado as a third baseman.
Though all initial indications were that Machado’s preference for remaining at short would drive his eventual decision, a willingness to man the hot corner would no doubt broaden his market appeal. And yes, I understand how silly that sounds when we’re talking about a 26-year-old with boatloads of talent at a time when MLB is generating revenues in excess of $10 billion.
Rather than get into much talk about Machado’s defense being elite at third and debatable at short, we’ll just say that recent reports seem to confirm he’s open to playing the former. So what will really determine his destination is money, something that seems to be in disproportionately short supply across the market. Even though it was quickly debunked, Buster Olney’s report of a seven-year, $175 million deal from the White Sox is still the only figure we’ve heard.
Something in the low $200 million range would still be well below expectations for Machado heading into the winter, so the time for a team to pounce is now. The Phillies have been patient this whole time, confident that they’ll land one of the two big fish, but maybe the Padres can shock the baseball world and swoop in to grab Machado up. They don’t have the same timeline for success as Philly, but c’mon, it’s San Freaking Diego.
Anyway, what’s really important here as it pertains to the Cubs is that the Padres may not be looking to swing a trade for a third baseman. Acee had previously reported that there had been exploratory talks for David Bote, then doubled down a bit by saying his “educated guess” was that Bote would be the starting third baseman on Opening Day.
But the unlikely Cubs hero may actually be staying put even if Machado signs somewhere other than San Diego. As Acee wrote, “the team has refined its focus to free agents (versus a trade) in hopes of filling [third base].” So regardless of how things shake out, the likelihood of Bote being traded to the Padres appears to have decreased.