Manny Machado is returning to the position that made him a two-time Gold Glove winner.
As part of the 10-year, $300-million contract with the San Diego Padres, which was made official Thursday, the 26-year-old agreed to return to third base.
Prior to the 2018 season and heading into a walk year, Machado demanded to return to his natural position of shortstop as a member of the Baltimore Orioles. For the first half of the season, Machado was a bit of a defensive liability, costing the Orioles 2.9 runs, according to FanGraphs. However, after being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Machado turned it around, saving 5.0 runs in the final 66 games by FanGraphs' measure.
Machado, a four-time All-Star, won the American League Gold Glove at third base back in 2013 and 2015. Over his seven seasons in the majors, Machado has saved a total of 50.6 runs at the hot corner, according to Ultimate Zone Rating.
The 26-year-old returning to third base allows Luis Urias and Ian Kinsler to comprise the middle infield, while top shortstop prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. lies in waiting. A potential Opening Day lineup could look as follows:
|Manuel Margot/Franchy Cordero||CF|
|Austin Hedges/Francisco Mejia||C|
Listed as the top prospect in a stacked farm system for the Padres, Tatis is the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball, according to MLB Pipeline, behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. In the event Tatis makes the big leagues, Urias would likely move to his natural position of second base, while the veteran Kinsler - who could become a free agent after two seasons in San Diego - would move to a bench role.
The 10-year pact between Machado and the Padres includes an opt-out after 2023, according to the official team release. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Padres transferred pitcher Dinelson Lamet to the 60-day injured list.