Stop Doubting Peter Seidler And the Padres
Peter Seidler has done it again.
On Sunday, news broke that Seidler's San Diego Padres had agreed to yet another massive, long-term deal with a star player. This time, they stayed in-house, retaining perennial MVP candidate Manny Machado on an 11-year, $350 million contract. He'll spend the rest of his career in brown and gold. Just a week ago, experts were speculating on where Machado would end up after opting out of his current deal following the 2023 season. Seidler, and those around the Padres, all knew there was zero chance the star third baseman was going anywhere.
It's time to stop doubting Seidler and the Padres. They have the money and are willing to spend it to win a championship.
San Diego shocked MLB when they signed Machado to a 10-year, $300 million deal in February of 2019. The Padres stunned the baseball world by giving Fernando Tatis Jr. a 14-year, $340 million deal before the 2021 campaign. No one outside the organization thought they had the money to add the contracts of Yu Darvish and Blake Snell, or ink Joe Musgrove to a $100 million extension. Then they went out and landed Juan Soto and Josh Hader at the 2022 trade deadline, and followed that up by leaving the rest of the league gobsmacked when they added Xander Bogaerts for $280 million over 11 years.
At the time of the Bogaerts deal, many claimed the Padres were doing it in anticipation of Machado leaving after the 2023 season. Or that the franchise must be fed up with Fernando Tatis Jr. and planned to trade him. Neither of those claims was ever remotely true. At the time, I talked to a number of sources inside the organization, all of them were certain Machado would be staying. They remained steadfast right up until the deal was agreed to on Sunday. The Padres also have zero plans to trade Tatis. They're also confident they'll be able to retain Soto long-term as well. His deal is next on the agenda.
As if that wasn't enough, the Padres gave Darvish a $108 million extension two weeks ago, and added Michael Wacha on a $26 million deal. That came after earlier offseason contracts to Robert Suarez ($46 million), Nick Martinez ($26 million) and Matt Carpenter ($12 million).
The Padres aren't making moves in anticipation of losing talent. No, they plan to keep everyone and build a core that can compete for championships for a long, long time. Machado's new contract is really a five-year, $170 million extension that will be added to the six years and $180 million he has left on his current deal. Machado and Bogaerts are now tied to San Diego through 2033, while Tatis is under contract through 2034. That's one hell of a threesome, and Soto could be added to it.
What Seidler has done is decimate the myth that small market teams can't spend on top-tier talent. Despite San Diego having MLB's 22nd ranked media market, the Padres are poised to have the third-highest payroll in the league. The thing is, Seidler isn't doing anything crazy. He's a billionaire who has decided to actually spend on his team. He's prioritizing winning over massive profits -- though the Padres will certainly make money out of this. That has led to packed stadiums -- San Diego ranked fifth in attendance in 2022 -- a massive boost in merchandise sales, and a full buy-in from fans. Few MLB stadiums have ever been as raucous as Petco Park was during the 2022 NLDS against the Dodgers.
Seidler's commitment has paid off. The Padres essentially own San Diego and he's garnered the kind of loyalty that doesn't easily wane. There's nothing crazy going on here. He has the money, has openly said he can't take it with him and wants desperately to bring San Diego the city's first major-sports championship. One World Series title would be more than worth all the money he's spending to compete for it.
Back when the Padres signed Bogaerts, I reached out to a Padres source and asked about the deal. He assured me they planned to re-sign Machado and also get a deal with Soto done. When I asked how they'd afford all those contracts he said the following: "Well, Seidler's a billionaire, so..."
It's that simple: He can afford it. So can every other billionaire owner. They just choose not to.
Paying guys like Machado and Bogaerts into their 40s does carry risks. But when lined up against their most similar counterparts historically, both figure to age well. And Machado is on a Hall of Fame pace. At 30, he's beyond halfway to 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. Seidler wasn't going to allow him to reach those milestones in another uniform. It was never happening.
Since arriving in 2019, Machado has helped change the Padres. He's become the leader in the clubhouse. It's his team. He's delivered on the field. In 2022, with Tatis missing the entire season, he put the team on his back. He slashed .298/.366/.531 with 32 home runs, 102 RBIs and a WAR of 6.8 while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at third base. Perhaps most impressive, Machado refused to go on the injured list after suffering a badly sprained ankle on June 19. He wound up playing 150 games despite the injury and finished second in National League MVP voting.
The Padres were never going to let Machado walk away to join another franchise. It was only a matter of time before the two sides agreed on an extension that would keep him in San Diego for the rest of his career.
Peter Seidler's commitment to San Diego has been immense. He has made it clear that he's willing to spend what it takes to bring a World Series title back to the city. On Sunday, he once again reaffirmed that dedication. Manny Machado will be with the Padres for the rest of his career. The next time he leaves will be to head to Cooperstown.