SAN DIEGO — With their city’s fans desperate for a winner, the rebuilding San Diego Padres delivered their splashiest free-agent signing ever by agreeing with All-Star infielder Manny Machado on a $300 million, 10-year deal.
A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the deal Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the agreement was subject to a successful physical and had not been announced. Machado, 26, can opt out after five years and become a free agent again, the person said.
Machado’s agreement would be the second-largest in baseball history behind Giancarlo Stanton’s $325 million, 13-year deal signed with the Miami Marlins ahead of the 2015 season. It would be the highest deal for a free agent, topping Alex Rodriguez’s $275 million, 10-year contract with the Yankees from 2008 through ’17.
More records might be broken soon. Free-agent outfielder Bryce Harper could top Stanton’s deal in the coming days or weeks.
Speaking at spring training in Peoria, Ariz., Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler declined to confirm the deal, saying: “We do not have a deal with any free-agent player. We are continuing discussions, and that’s all we have to say.”
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Although Fowler looked serious, general partner Peter Seidler couldn’t help but smile while waiting to speak.
Without confirming the deal, Seidler — a nephew of former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley — spoke of what his ownership group wants to bring to San Diego, where the Padres play in a gem of a park just off the bay.
“We love the city of San Diego, we love sports in San Diego, but we’re also well aware of the history. There’s never been a championship from a major sports franchise in San Diego. … We as an organization want to completely change that. We want our franchise to win year after year after year. And we’re going to do whatever we can rationally do to help make that happen.”
The Padres lost 96 games last year, haven’t had a winning season since 2010 and haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006. They haven’t won a playoff series since the 1998 NLCS against Atlanta. They were routed in their two World Series appearances, by Detroit in 1984 and the Yankees in 1998.
The Padres have been rebuilding mostly via their top-rated farm system since a failed win-now approach with high-priced players in 2015.
Machado is expected to fill the team’s glaring need at third base. He began last year at shortstop with Baltimore, was traded to the Dodgers after the All-Star break and split time between shortstop and third. He struck out to end the World Series loss to Boston.
With Machado on board, the next big move for the Padres, whether by Opening Day or later in the season, is expected to be the promotion of shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., the 20-year-old son of the former big-leaguer and widely acclaimed as the No. 2 overall prospect in baseball.
A four-time All-Star, Machado hit .297 last year and set career bests with 37 homers and 107 RBIs. A four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, he has a .282 career average with 175 homers and 513 RBIs in seven big-league seasons.
The White Sox offered $250 million for eight years, and Machado also met with the Yankees.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/AP-source-Manny-Machado-Padres-agree-to-300-13629462.php.