Half of baseball’s excruciating wait is over, which didn’t necessarily provide the best news for the New York Yankees.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan first reported on Tuesday afternoon that star infielder Manny Machado — who headlined Major League Baseball’s free-agent class alongside Bryce Harper — has agreed to a deal to sign with the San Diego Padres. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com added that the deal is expected to be 10 years worth $300 million, which was Machado’s initial demands and is now the largest free-agent contract in American sports history.
The report ends a winter of mystery and drama for one of baseball’s best players. Countless teams were rumored to be in the sweepstakes, including a Yankees team that toed both ends of the spectrum of interest for the 26-year-old All-Star.
Heading into the offseason, the Yankees were considered one of the favorites to land Machado. There was an immediate need for him considering starting shortstop Didi Gregorius underwent Tommy John surgery and is expected to miss a large portion of the 2019 season.
Slotting Machado next to AL Rookie of the Year runner-up Miguel Andujar would have provided a major upgrade to the Yankees’ infield.
However, Machado’s asking price was a major problem for the Bronx Bombers, who already have to pay the massive deal of Giancarlo Stanton while also keeping an eye on the future where they will have to retain the likes of Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, and Gary Sanchez.
General manager Brian Cashman made it known that the Yankees were not going to blow the bank on another big contract like Machado’s. He proceeded to make his acquisition even more unlikely when he acquired veteran infielders Troy Tulowitzki and DJ LeMahieu to add plenty of depth.
Somehow, it still looked like Machado was going to fall into the Yankees’ laps as the winter progressed. Despite heavy interest from the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox, multiple reports over the past few months suggested that Machado was unhappy with offers coming his way, which only drove his price down.
Additionally, Machado grew up a Yankees fan and his family and inner circle apparently wanted to see him playing in New York, which made the idea of him taking a short-term deal in the Bronx a legitimate possibility.
With Machado officially off the market and on his way to San Diego, James Wagner of the New York Times reported that the Yankees never made an official offer despite meeting with him back in December. It all but locks New York’s left side of the infield come opening day as Andujar will continue manning the hot corner at Yankee Stadium while Tulowitzki fills in for Gregorius until he’s ready to return.