The lasting image Dodgers fans will forever have of Manny Machado is him on one knee at the plate, having just struck out to end game 5 of the 2018 World Series.
Though he wasn’t expected to return to LA, it looks as if Machado will be making his return to Dodger Stadium in 2019. However, he won’t be suiting up for LA.
According to multiple reports, Machado has signed a 10-year deal worth $300 million with the San Diego Padres. Though it isn’t official, it’s expected to be completed soon.
The Dodgers never seemed to show any interest in bringing back the free-agent, especially with the return of shortstop Corey Seager. With Justin Turner at third base, there wasn’t really any room for the 26-year-old.
LA acquired Machado before last years trade deadline. The Dodgers sent five players to Baltimore, including one of their top prospects, Yusniel Diaz.
In 66 games with the Dodgers, Machado hit .271 with an OPS of .825. He hit 13 home runs and drove in 42. Though those are very solid numbers, he didn’t quite meet the expectations that many fans hoped for.
He’ll widely be remembered by Dodgers fans on how he performed in the 2018 postseason. Over 16 games, Machado hit only .227, while striking out in 25 percent of his plate appearances. His struggles continued into the World Series, where he hit .182.
He also stirred up some controversy when he made a comment following game 2 of the NLDS, after he failed to run out a ground ball. “Obviously I’m not going to change, I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle,’ and run down the line and slide to first base and … you know, whatever can happen. That’s just not my personality, that’s not my cup of tea, that’s not who I am.”
His deal is currently the largest free-agent contract in the history of baseball. He has an opt-out available after the fifth year, meaning, he’ll be making at least 50 or so appearances at Dodger Stadium over the next few seasons.
Machado will make his first appearance at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday May 14.