Manny Machado
Manny Machado during his days with the Orioles. Creative Commons image via Flickr

ESPN reported Tuesday that four-time all-star third baseman and shortstop Manny Machado has agreed to a 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres, but the team did not immediately confirm the signing.

The deal, according to a report by ESPN’s Jeff Passan, is the largest in the Padres’ franchise history and the largest free agent deal in American sports history, surpassing Alex Rodriguez’s 10-year, $252 million deal in 2001 with the Texas Rangers. The contract with Machado, 26, reportedly contains a player opt-out after the fifth year.

At the team’s spring training complex in Peoria, Arizona, Padres Executive Chairman Ron Fowler tempered reports of the deal.

“We do not have a deal with any free agent player,” Fowler said. “We are continuing discussions.”

Other reporters, such as The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee, suggested Fowler was being coy, and that the deal is contingent on formalities like Machado putting pen to paper and passing a physical.

Machado hit 37 home runs, 35 doubles and a .905 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 2018 with the Baltimore Orioles and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He also attracted the ire of baseball fans and fellow players for stepping on other players during the MLB playoffs and an interview with Rosenthal in which he said “I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle’ … that’s not my cup of tea, that’s not who I am.”

Machado and Washington Nationals star outfielder Bryce Harper, 26, were the cream of this winter’s free agent crop but saw their markets freeze up due to team’s balking at their asking prices. The Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees were also believed to have been interested in Machado while Harper has drawn interest from the Padres, White Sox, Phillies, Nationals and San Francisco Giants.

Harper remains a free agent.

–City News Service