Manny Machado was unveiled at an introductory press conference on Friday and expressed how thrilled he is to be a member of the San Diego Padres.
Machado received a 10-year, $300 million deal to sign with the Padres but it was more than the big pile of cash that swayed his decision.
“I liked the game plan, from ownership to front office to the coaching staff to the players,” Machado said during a press conference in Peoria, Ariz. “The whole ‘shabam’ was so perfect.”
One of the revelations from Machado is that he is perfectly fine playing third base for the Padres.
Machado was vocal last season about how he intended to play shortstop. But while doing his homework, he understood that San Diego that has one of the top prospects in the majors on the fast track in shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.
“That was definitely a big part of our conversation, face to face,” Padres general manager A.J. Preller said. “The biggest thing he kept coming back to was wanting to win. He said, ‘If your best club is someone else at shortstop ... I’m open to playing third base.’”
Machado recalled the tutelage he got from former Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy when he was on the verge of reaching the majors in 2012.
“I’m just coming here, playing third base, trying to help him out like J.J. Hardy helped me out when I got called up,” Machado said. “He was a big influence. I got my (first) Gold Glove because of J.J. having that influence. Hopefully I can do the same for (Tatís).”
Machado was a four-time All-Star with Baltimore and won two Gold Glove Awards. He has topped 30 homers in each of the past four seasons and matched his career high of 37 last season when he split time between the Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 26-year-old Machado already has 175 career homers and feels the best is about to come.
“This is just the beginning,” Machado said. “Obviously, I have put up consistent numbers as everyone knows, but at the end of the day it’s about winning games. I know the production is going to be up there. I’m going to bring it every day.
“But at this point in my career, it’s about the numbers and helping your team win, but helping others out around you makes everyone else better ... makes the team better ... makes the whole organization better.”
Machado’s mood dipped when a reporter asked about the “Johnny Hustle” controversy from last year’s postseason, as well as a situation where he nearly stepped on the foot of Milwaukee first baseman Jesus Aguilar.
Machado’s lack of hustle was called out by a wide range of people from industry experts to fans on social media.
“Things are going to happen,” Machado said. “You kind of just leave that in the past. You address it at the moment and move forward from there.”
—Field Level Media