Orioles Preview - Page 59 - The Padres

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- Page 59
The Padres

Associated Press


When word of Manny Machado’s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres broke early in spring training, team officials wouldn’t immediately confirm the deal because the All-Star slugger still had to pass a physical.


But that didn’t keep general partner Peter Seidler, a nephew of former Dodgers owner Pete O’Malley, from expressing what a monumental move it was for a franchise that had mostly stumbled and bumbled through its 50-year history.


While executive chairman Ron Fowler played the straight man at an impromptu news conference, Seidler couldn’t keep from smiling. He then essentially confirmed that, yes, the Padres had actually pulled off the splashiest move in their history.


“Ron and I, we love the city of San Diego, we love sports in San Diego, but we’re also well aware of the history,” Seidler said. “There’s never been a championship from a major sports franchise in San Diego.”


How fast the addition of Machado accelerates the Padres’ push for contention remains to be seen. At the very least, it makes the Padres relevant after so many lost seasons. They haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006, and their last winning season was 2010. They’re coming off a 96-loss season.


The addition of Machado means the Padres think their loaded farm system is just about ready to help the club return to contention.


After months of speculation that roped in Machado’s family and friends and tested the patience of fans in several cities, the third baseman will be the biggest attraction at Petco Park.


Padres fans will get another dose of hope whenever 20-year-old hotshot shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. joins Machado in the infield.


The Padres said they sold $3 million worth of tickets in the two weeks after Machado signed.


Toast to that: You know you’re big in San Diego if a craft beer is named after you. Within weeks of Machado’s arrival, he had two named for him: the Murky Machado Hazy IPA by Bay City Brewing and the Mango Machado Hazy Double IPA by Creative Creature Brewing. It remains to be seen if they’ll have the staying power of Alesmith’s San Diego Pale Ale .394, a nod to the late Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn’s highest batting average.


New faces: Besides Machado, the Padres also signed second baseman Ian Kinsler and infielder Greg Garcia, who went to high school in the area and whose grandfather, Dave Garcia, managed the Indians and Angels.


Rookies to watch: Right-hander Chris Paddack has pitched so well in spring training that it appears he’s forced his way into the rotation, but manager Andy Green has yet to indicate his plans. The Padres will keep an eye on his innings since he pitched only 90 innings last year between Class A and Double A as he came back from Tommy John surgery. Luis Urias, who will keep shortstop warm until Tatis arrives, made his big-league debut in September before injuring a hamstring. Other pitchers who could make their big-league debuts this year are left-hander Logan Allen and right-hander Cal Quantrill.


Batting order: The top three batters in the order—Kinsler, Eric Hosmer and Machado— have World Series experience. Kinsler was with Red Sox when they beat Machado’s Dodgers last fall, and Hosmer won a ring with the Royals in 2015.


Photo: Manny Machado, a new $300 million man, signs autographs at spring training.