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#pounditSunday, April 21, 2024

Padres could lose star player in free agency

AJ Preller in the dugout

Jun 6, 2019; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller looks on from the dugout before the game against the Washington Nationals at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres have been spending like mad this offseason. Perhaps they’ve been so aggressive with their spending because they know they could be losing one of their star players before long.

The Padres signed Manny Machado to a 10-year, $300 million contract prior to the 2019 season. Machado is entering the fifth year of his contract, which is hard to believe. After the 2023 season, he has the option to terminate his contract and become a free agent rather than play out his existing deal.

According to Jon Heyman, the Padres anticipate that Machado will opt out of his current deal next offseason.

The choice for Machado makes plenty of sense. He has been a franchise leader for the Padres, with two top-3 MVP finishes in four seasons. Given the contracts we are seeing handed out this offseason, he can definitely earn more than the 5-year, $150 million he would be owed beyond 2023 on his current deal.

As for San Diego, they have locked up Fernando Tatis Jr. (14 years, $340 million) and Xander Bogaerts (11 years, $280 million) on huge long-term deals, but Machado could become a free agent after 2023, and Juan Soto is scheduled to become a free agent after 2024.

From the looks of things, the team may not be able to afford Machado. They could potentially move Bogaerts to third base if Machado leaves and then play Tatis at shortstop. The team will also likely make a big effort to retain Soto.

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