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Preller wants to retain Machado beyond opt-out: 'It's more Manny's decision'

Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres / Getty Images Sport / Getty

San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado could enter free agency after the 2023 campaign, but president of baseball operations A.J. Preller is making it clear he'd like to retain the six-time All-Star.

"He's coming off another MVP-type season, and we want him here with the Padres; we want him here a long time," Preller said on Baseball Tonight with Buster Olney. "But he's under contract, so it's more Manny's decision, honestly, with how this plays out with the opt-out at the end of the season.

"What we've tried to do is make it known that we value and appreciate him, and we're going to listen to what he wants to say, and then we're going to figure out what's best for everyone moving forward."

Machado and the Padres agreed to a 10-year, $300-million deal prior to the 2019 campaign, with a midway opt-out after the fifth year. Now, entering his fifth season with the club, Machado can choose between sticking with the Padres for the remaining $160 million over five years or re-entering free agency heading into his age-31 season.

In the meantime, the Padres and the two-time Gold Glove winner could broker an extension that supersedes his remaining contract. In the event Machado does choose to test free agency, the Padres will be eligible to offer him a one-year qualifying offer and recoup draft-pick compensation if he signs elsewhere.

The former Silver Slugger finished runner-up for NL MVP last year, earning seven first-place votes out of 30 and losing to St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. He hit .298/.366/.531 with 32 homers and nine stolen bases over 150 games, helping lead the Padres to a second playoff berth in the last three years.

The Padres have made key additions this winter, most notably landing shortstop Xander Bogaerts on an 11-year, $280-million deal. That has caused an infield logjam, though, with Jake Cronenworth, Ha-Seong Kim, and Fernando Tatis Jr. (when he returns from suspension) forced to shift around the diamond, potentially off of their natural positions.

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