The San Diego Padres reportedly expect star third baseman Manny Machado to opt out of his contract following the 2023 MLB season.
According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Padres anticipate Machado will test the free-agent market, which may be why they have been so aggressive this offseason.
Heyman noted the Padres missed out on shortstop Trea Turner and outfielder Aaron Judge despite offers of $342 million and $414 million, respectively, before signing shortstop Xander Bogaerts away from the Boston Red Sox on an 11-year, $280 million deal.
San Diego signed Machado to a 10-year, $300 million contract in 2019, and the move has paid dividends for both sides.
In four seasons with the Padres, the 30-year-old is a two-time All-Star and one-time Silver Slugger Award winner. He finished third in National League MVP voting in 2020 and second in the voting in 2022.
Last season was Machado's best in San Diego, as he hit .298 with 32 home runs, 102 RBI and 100 runs scored.
In seven seasons before joining the Padres (six-and-a-half years with the Baltimore Orioles and half a season with the Los Angeles Dodgers), Machado was a four-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner.
As good as he was in Baltimore, Machado hasn't experienced much drop-off during his time with the Padres. He has played in 519 games with San Diego and slashed .280/.352/.504 with 108 homers, 340 RBI and 317 runs.
Machado has also helped the Padres enjoy their most extensive playoff success in years. They upset the New York Mets in the NL Wild Card Series and the Dodgers in the NL Division Series in the 2022 postseason en route to the National League Championship Series.
While Machado signed a 10-year deal with the Padres, it would likely behoove him to opt out after next season if he enjoys another big statistical campaign.
Machado's average annual salary of $30 million is tied for the 15th-highest in MLB, and he arguably deserves to be higher on the list.
Judge, New York Mets starting pitcher Justin Verlander and Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jacob deGrom have all signed contracts this offseason that exceed Machado's average annual salary.
The Padres are equipped to remain strong offensively if Machado signs elsewhere thanks to the presence of Bogaerts, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Juan Soto.
Still, Machado would be a massive loss, and his potential impending free agency may give the Padres more urgency to win a World Series next season.