We’re over two months into the MLB season, and things are really starting to take shape across the league. While we’ve been delighted by the performances of numerous star players, there are also some big names that have, for whatever reason, simply failed to launch in 2019 and have actually turned out to be detrimental to their teams.
Which key players aren’t doing enough this season? Here are eight who have disappointed so far.
8. Manny Machado, 3B, Padres
What Machado has meant to the Padres in terms of legitimacy makes up for a lot of on-field struggles, but he hasn’t really delivered at the plate so far for San Diego. The power has been there — he’s into double-digit homers — but his sub-.250 average would be the worst of his career to date. He’s adjusting to a new league and a ballpark that isn’t exactly hitter-friendly, so a bit of a learning curve was to be expected, but this is not what the Padres paid for.
Manny Machado received a share of boos during his return to Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night.
Machado played 82 games for the Dodgers last season (including playoffs) after being acquired by Los Angeles in a trade with the Orioles. He decided to sign with the San Diego Padres in free agency and returned this week to Dodger Stadium for the first time with his team.
He received some boos for his first at-bat:
Machado later reminded the Dodgers what they’re missing out on. He crushed a 2-run home run to deep left field in his second at-bat off Clayton Kershaw, his fourth homer against the Dodgers on the season and second off Kershaw.
Machado will trade the boos for homers any day. He’s up to nine this season, nearly half coming against his former team.
Manny Machado’s new teammates are going to get used to him making the impossible look routine.
During Friday’s game between the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks, Carson Kelly hit a ball down the third base line that forced Machado to range to his right and into foul territory. Machado fielded the ball and almost nonchalantly flipped it to first base, showing off his incredible arm strength and accuracy.
The reactions by pitcher Adam Warren and first baseman Hosmer were priceless.
Machado has made plays similar to this one in the past, but seeing them never gets old. It hasn’t for baseball fans and won’t any time soon for Machado’s new teammates.
Manny Machado has his first San Diego Padre home run.
The marquee free agent signing had had a quiet start to the season offensively, but he broke out of it with a two-run home run in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s game that went directly to the Western Metal Supply Building.
The Padres will be expecting to see a lot more of those. This is, after all, a player who averages 30 home runs a year over a 162 game season. Yes, Petco Park is nowhere near as hitter-friendly as his old stomping grounds in Baltimore, but he still has immense power.
Machado has the home run out of the way. The next step will be building a team that Machado thinks can actually contend.
Mike Trout chose to forego free agency once again by signing a long-term extension with the Los Angels Angels two years before his previous deal expired, and the star outfielder says what happened with Bryce Harper and Manny Machado was part of the reason he wanted to go that route.
Trout spoke with reporters on Sunday about his record $430 million contract, and he said he informed the Angels he either wanted to sign a new deal now or was going to test free agency following the 2020 season. However, he preferred to lock in an extension and viewed the “tough couple months” for Harper and Machado as a “red flag.”
Trout added that he would not have felt right moving to another team in two years to chase a championship. Some have wondered why he committed to the Angels despite reaching the playoffs just once in his eight seasons, but Trout said “teams go through ups and downs” and he prefers to ride that out.
No one is going to weep for Machado and Harper after they got $300 million and $330 million, respectively, and even Harper said he is pleased with the way things unfolded. Given what Trout has said about his commitment to the Angels, it’s clear his contract situation could not have worked out more perfectly.
San Diego Padres fans can’t expect Manny Machado to immediately turn them from a 66-win team into the NL West division champions, but they might want him to at least pretend the possibility exists.
In a recent interview during spring training, Machado admitted the Padres have little chance of winning the NL West and are already thinking about the wild card.
“We’re gonna try to win, maybe not the division, but we’re gonna go out there and try to fight for a wild card spot and you never know what can happen in baseball,” Machado said.
While Machado was simply trying to be realistic and temper expectations, Padres fans might not want to hear that. Their team just gave Machado a $300 million contract, and most players who sign deals like that talk about helping their new team win a championship.
Of course, this is the same Machado who made some questionable comments last season about hustling. His reputation took quite a hit around that time, so people are going to criticize him any chance they get.
H/T Barstool Sports
The San Diego Padres are already seeing dividends from their signing of Manny Machado.
According to the Padres’ president of business operations Erik Greupner, the two weeks since Machado’s signing have seen the team generate $3 million in additional ticket revenue, and they have sold “at least double” the amount of tickets they would typically expect to sell, via ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez.
The Padres had jumps prior to 2015 and 2016, when the team had a busy offseason and hosted the All-Star Game, respectively, but never like this.
“Even in 2015 and 2016, we didn’t see a spike like we’ve seen this year in terms of demand,” Greupner said. “And frankly, it’s been maintained for a longer period of time so far than some of the spikes we’ve seen in the past. So, we’re encouraged that it’s really setting a new trend line for us this season in terms of demand for tickets and merchandise.”
Bryce Harper has had a similar impact on the Philadelphia Phillies’ ticket sales. It’s safe to say the big free agents are already having the intended off-field impact.
San Diego Padres fans aren’t the only ones happy to know Manny Machado will be wearing a Padres uniform for the foreseeable future.
Machado signing a massive 10-year contract with the Padres was met with joy in southern California. American League pitchers that faced Machado on a regular basis were likely pleased as well that he will now be moving to the National League. Included in that group is Cleveland Indians starter Trevor Bauer.
One look at Machado’s career numbers versus Bauer and it’s easy to understand why Bauer would be ecstatic to face Machado fewer times. In 18 plate appearances, Machado is hitting .643/.722/1.643 with nine hits, two doubles, four home runs, and four walks against Bauer. I’d be happy if someone who had the much success against me was switching leagues too.
The San Diego Padres have yet to officially announce the Manny Machado signing yet, as the player still has to complete one more physical. As long as that’s true, however, he still isn’t technically a Padres player.
That didn’t stop the official team store from putting his jersey on sale a little too soon.
One fan spotted a rack of Machado jerseys at the team store at Petco Park despite the fact that Machado has yet to be announced as a San Diego player.
According to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the store is run by an independent vendor, whom the Padres contacted and told to take the jerseys off the racks. It is unclear if anyone managed to buy one before the mistake could be corrected.
We know excitement is high in San Diego with Machado coming to town, but processes have to be followed here. Machado will likely be announced by Friday, and there will be no shortage of jerseys for eager fans.
The San Diego Padres proved they are serious about contending in 2019 when they signed Manny Machado to a massive contract on Tuesday, but oddsmakers still do not consider their chances of winning the World Series to be all that great.
As sports business reporter Darren Rovell noted, the Padres odds of winning the World Series next season were 100/1 with the FanDuel Sportsbook before they signed Machado. Shelling out $300 million for the free agent slugger increased their odds to 66/1.
While the Padres have a lot of young talent and are in a great position to contend for years to come, they won just 66 games last season and finished last in the NL West. They have not been to the playoffs since 2006, so it will take a lot more than just Machado to get them back to the postseason.
The fact that the Padres were so bad in 2018 is one of the reasons many felt they were not serious with their interest in Machado and Bryce Harper, but their offer to the shortstop proved otherwise. At least one team from a much bigger market was left stunned by Machado choosing San Diego.