Padres' Manny Machado on Criticism: 'I Always Will Be the Villain'

Megan ArmstrongContributor IIMarch 9, 2019

San Diego Padres' Manny Machado warms up prior to his first spring training baseball game of the season against the San Francisco Giants, Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Matt York/Associated Press

You either retire a hero or play long enough to see yourself become the villain, and according to Manny Machado, he has already entered villain territory.

While speaking with Joel Sherman of the New York Post on Friday, the San Diego Padres' new third baseman said: "I always will be the villain, no matter what. I don't know why. That is just stuff I have to deal with, and I have to be OK dealing with that situation. That doesn't bother me."

Machado painted an even larger target on his back when he signed a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres on Feb. 21. However, Machado told Sherman that he doesn't view his San Diego era as a chance to reinvent himself. 

Machado made it clear that his time as a Padre is going to be about "me being me."

So far, Padres fans are embracing Machado for exactly who he is according to increased ticket sales. Just two weeks after Machado officially landed in San Diego, president of business operations Erik Greupner told Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com that the team had seen nearly $3 million worth of additional ticket revenue. 

While Machado admitted to Sherman that the Padres weren't his "first choice" at the beginning of his free agency, but the team ultimately "showed me the love." How he is being embraced by fans initially seems to reflect the love Machado felt from the front office.

How Machado is received once the season starts and the pressure is on, however, is what will matter. Will he be the hero who brings San Diego a World Series or the villain who couldn't justify his record-breaking contract?