There were many reasons why 2018 was an important year for Manny Machado.
Not only was he on the verge of free agency, but he was also preparing to deal with the inevitable trade rumors that started popping up around him last winter. Oh, and let’s not forget that he was fresh off a down 2017 (by his lofty standards) and would be playing shortstop in the big leagues for the first time on a regular basis.
Needless to say, there was a lot on his plate. From a pure production standpoint, he rose to the occasion. Machado’s 6.2 fWAR was the third time in four years his performance had been worth at least six wins. He also posted career highs in OPS (.905), wRC+ (141), ISO (.241), and RBI (107), along with tying his single-season career high in home runs (37).
Entering the open market as an accomplished 26-year-old, it’s not surprising to hear he has a decent chance of breaking the $300 million barrier with his next contract. However, he didn’t necessarily help his cause in October with a number of controversial plays and comments about his hustle.
Although Machado tried his best to patch things up in a recent interview, some teams will likely still pause an extra second or two before jumping into the fray. The dude is going to get paid either way, but his true market has yet to crystalize this early in the offseason.
So let’s take a look at a handful of potential suitors based on what we know at the moment.