PEORIA, Ariz. — The San Diego Padres had yet another press conference Tuesday, publicizing their latest enormous expenditure
They’re already envisioning the statue they’ll one day build in honor of Manny Machado, who officially signed an 11-year, $350 million contract at their spring-training complex.
Machado, a six-time All-Star who finished second in the MVP voting last season, is already on record saying he plans to wear a Padres cap when he’s inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“The bottom line is we’re here to win a championship,’’ Padres chairman Peter Seidler said.
“The past is the past, but right now is right now. Our full intent is to be right there at the end. One year soon, the baseball gods will smile on the San Diego Padres, and we will have a parade.’’
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Oh, and just when you wondered whether the Padres can possibly spend more money, with their payroll already at $273 million, get ready for their competitors to scream.
Machado’s new deal is structured in a way that provides flexibility for the Padres to sign even more stars.
Machado agreed to take significantly less money the first three years of his deal so that the Padres can afford more luxury items, an official told USA TODAY Sports,
The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the terms of the deal weren't made public.
Yes, the Padres plan to be in strong pursuit of free-agent superstar Shohei Ohtani this winter and want to lock up All-Star right fielder Juan Soto.
Machado’s contract, according to a person familiar with the structure, will pay him $13 million in 2023, $13 million in 2024 and $21 million in 2025. That’s a savings of $43 million in the first three years from what Machado was scheduled to receive under his old contract that was paying him $30 million a year.
Machado will then receive annual salaries of $35 million a year beginning in 2026. He also will get a $45 million signing bonus, with $10 million paid to him this season, and $5 million a year for the final seven years of his contract.
The reason for the backloaded deal?
Machado wants the Padres to keep on spending, making sure that his new deal – replacing the original 10-year, $300 million contract – doesn’t impede their aggressiveness.
“I’m going to do whatever it is that they can go out and continue to put this great team out there,’’ Machado said, “and keep building. I think that’s the best thing about this is is that we’re going to continue to do this for a long time. And, you know, we're not going to stop.
“I want our goal to be to win a championship every single year.’’’
The Padres have sure come a long ways in the four years since Machado’s arrival, going from a 72-90 team that finished 36 games out of first place in 2019, to one that was three victories away from the World Series a year ago, and now is considered among the favorites.
The difference in four years?
“The parking lot,’’ Padres GM A.J. Preller says. “You’ve just got to look at the cars we have right now out there.’’
It’s amazing what stars can do for a team, with the Padres signing five players to contracts worth at least $100 million, and three worth more than $280 million.
Machado: 10 years, $350 million.
Fernando Tatis Jr.: 14 years, $340 million.
Xander Bogaerts: 11 years, $288 million
Yu Darvish: 6 years, $108 million.
Joe Musgrove: 5 years, $100 million
There is no team in baseball with more money on their future books, with players now salivating at the chance for playing for the Padres.
“It’s good for baseball,’’ Padres DH Nelson Cruz says. “And it’s good for players. As a player, you can’t be more excited when you understand it’s all about trying to win the whole thing.
“And as a player, you never complain when the money is there.’’
Little wonder why nearly half the Padres team, including stars like Bogaerts, Soto and Musgrove filled the back of the press conference, celebrating Machado’s historic signing.
Will there be a team celebratory dinner?
“You better believe it,’’ Machado said loudly. “We do it big around here in San Diego.’’
Yep, just like last July when Machado and his wife, Yainee, threw an extravagant 30th birthday party and invited the entire team, coaching staff, trainers, front office executives and clubhouse attendants.
When’s the last time you’ve been to a birthday party that included a baby lion?
The party featured a jungle theme, so why not have a lion to welcome the guests, not to mention the finest food, wine and drinks you can imagine?
“It was unbelievable,’’ Padres starter Nick Martinez said. “They really threw out the red carpet. But that’s Manny. The people that know Manny, the people that are close to Manny, know what kind of person he is. They see his true character and why he’s paid that kind of money.’’
Machado is the one organizing team dinners throughout the year, and yes, the one usually paying for them too.
His wife, Yainee, is the clubhouse leader among the players’ wives and girlfriends, making sure they stay close with frequent get-togethers at their beautiful Coronado Island home.
“We grew up in Miami, but this is home,’’ Yainee Machado says. “We’re all one big family. This is everything we wanted.’’
Really, it’s no different for the Padres, who gave Machado a 10-year, $300 million contract in 2019, out-bidding the Chicago White Sox.
“Our expectations were pretty darned high,’’ Seidler said. “He’s lived up to those expectations and a lot more.’’
Just how soon did Machado know he made the right decision to come West?
“From the first day of spring training,’’ said Dan Lozano, Machado’s agent, who also represents Tatis. “He loved it there from Day 1. He’s truly bought into A.J. and Peter’s leadership’’
Says Machado: “In my mind, I was always going to be a Padre. They have gone above and beyond for this organization, for this city, made a lot of promises that have come true.’’
Machado fully immersed himself into the Padres’ culture at the start, shedding his bouts of immaturity in Baltimore, relying on the leadership skills he learned from Orioles veterans JJ Hardy, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis.
“Look, he’s come full circle,’’ Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “I’ve seen him from the other side from Day 1, and you get your opinions from the other side, but once you’re with him, and see how he goes about it, it’s a little different opinion."
Sure, Machado could have let the negotiations drag out and even hit free agency after the season but he was also aware of the cloud that could potentially torpedo the Padres’ championship hopes. It’s the reason he originally set a Feb. 16 deadline to reach a deal before opting out of the remaining five years and $150 million in his contract at the season’s conclusion.
“It was not just for myself,’’ Machado said, “but out of respect for my teammates to answer that question every single day, and be the elephant in the room. I wanted this team to be focused on our goal. It’s about getting to the World Series and ultimately winning it, and getting on that bus going around the city in that parade.’’
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Manny Machado's $350M extension can help Padres sign more stars