Manny Machado has been a key reason as to why the San Diego Padres have become one of the better teams in the majors. Now, the Padres have to wonder how much longer he will be there.
According to reports, Machado is expected to opt out of his contract once the 2023 season comes to an end. That decision, and whether or not he returns, would leave a gaping hole for the Padres.
Manny Machado would be significant loss for San Diego Padres
Machado would instantly vault towards the top of the free agent class should he exercise that opt-out clause. He had another stellar showing in 2022, posting a .298/.366/.531 batting line with 32 homers and 37 doubles as he put the Padres on his shoulders and brought them back to the postseason.
He is also more than his numbers. Machado has also stepped up as a leader on the Padres, doing his part to keep the younger players in line. His argument with Fernando Tatis Jr., where he ripped into him in the dugout due to his actions as the Padres were struggling in 2021, showed how far he has come from his younger days.
That combination of impressive offense, excellent defense, and leadership would make him an attractive piece in free agency. That is especially the case as Machado will be 31 at the end of next season and will still have a few years left in his prime. Considering the types of contracts that have been handed out this offseason, Machado could be in for an impressive payday.
Of course, none of this means that he would necessarily leave the Padres. Machado was one of the first major free agents that the Padres brought in as they looked to prove that they are serious about winning. Considering their goal is to finally win a championship, keeping Machado even if he opts out will go a long way to making that happen.
Manny Machado is reportedly set to opt out of his contract with the San Diego Padres after this season. He will be one of the top players on the market.