The San Diego Padres are looking into signing free-agent infielder Manny Machado and potentially trading for Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.
The process for star free agents like Machado has been a slow one this offseason, apparently leading the Padres to jump into the mix.
According to a separate report, the Padres would slot Machado at third base to leave shortstop open for top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr., who might be ready to make the type of splash Atlanta’s Ronald Acuna Jr. made last season.
Machado, who has played shortstop and third base in the majors, is a career .282 hitter with 175 home runs and 513 RBIs. He twice has been in the top five in Most Valuable Player voting.
Last season, he hit .297 with a career-high-tying 37 home runs and career-high 107 RBIs combined between the Orioles and Dodgers. He also sported a .367 on-base percentage, above his .335 career average, and his .538 slugging percentage exceeded his career figure of .487.
As for Realmuto, the Padres have young catcher Francisco Mejia, who the Marlins reportedly covet. The rival Los Angeles Dodgers are also said to be in pursuit of Realmuto.
Last season, Realmuto hit .277, with an on-base percentage of .340. His 21 home runs and 74 RBIs were career highs. He has asked Miami to trade him before spring training begins.
The Padres have been building up their farm system in recent years and haven’t posted a winning season since 2010.
Nobody currently sees them as a contender in the National League West for 2019, but signing a big-name free agent or two would speed up the timetable.
Just last year, San Diego made a splash by signing free-agent first baseman Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million deal.
—Field Level Media