Machado met with a room of reporters alongside Padres general manager A.J. Preller and gave voice as to why San Diego is set to be his new home through 2028. "I liked the game plan, from ownership to front office to the coaching staff to the players," Machado said, according to ESPN.com's Jesse Rogers. "The whole 'shabam' was so perfect."
What seemed perfect to Machado at first seemed like a "pipe dream" to Preller, who recalled a morning at winter meetings when it dawned on him to go after Machado:
"I called [assistant GM] Josh Stein at about 5 in the morning and said, 'Let's just sign Machado. Let's go do this.' It was probably more of a pipe dream at that point in time, but as we went through the winter, and he was still there in January, I started looking at our ability to do something from a payroll standpoint."
Now, in February and beyond, the Padres' payroll will include Machado's 10-year, $300 million pact—the largest free-agent deal in American sports history.
The question now pivots from where Machado will land to how he and his new team will perform.
The Padres are coming off a 66-96 finish in 2018, extending their streak of losing seasons to eight. Prior to the 2018 season, the Padres gave what was the largest contract in franchise history at the time to first baseman Eric Hosmer.
Hosmer's eight-year, $144 million contract now pales in comparison to Machado's, but the two together at Petco Park bring hope to a franchise that previously was waiting for its farm system to become big league ready.
Now, that No. 1-ranked farm system—in theory—has a proven foundation to stand on in Hosmer and Machado. Hosmer's first season with the Padres after his megadeal was subpar. The Padres can only hope history doesn't repeat itself with a 26-year-old Machado.
Rogers also noted the Padres' awareness that the timing of Machado's contract wasn't ideal because their minor league prospects are still developing.
However, Machado's willingness to play third base "from the start," per MLB Network's Jon Heyman, will leave shortstop open for "phenom" Fernando Tatis Jr. when he's ready.
Machado will be throwing outs across the diamond to Hosmer instead of his brother-in-law Yonder Alonso in Chicago, which he addressed at his press conference.
"Would be a dream to play with family," Machado said of the White Sox first baseman. "Things happen. ... I'm proud to be a Padre. At the end of the day, this is where I wanted to be, and I'm very happy to be here."
The White Sox offered Machado an eight-year, $250 million guaranteed contract with the possibility to be worth $350 million through incentives. Chicago's front office was shocked when Machado declined.
Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler told reporters the Padres are "a lot happier than the White Sox right now." Only time and Machado's production will tell which franchise lucked out.