Manny Machado has his haters. There’s no doubt about that. But if those haters would watch him play on a nightly basis instead of just calling him out when he tries to break up a double play, they’d actually gain an appreciation for what he means to the San Diego Padres organization.
His third season (yes, it’s already been that long) was arguably his best in a Padres uniform but at the end of the day, that didn’t matter to him because the team didn’t make the postseason.
“It’s disappointing for us. Obviously we would’ve liked to be that team standing at the end of the year and holding up that banner,” Machado told the media after the final game of the regular season. “We thought this was going to be our year but obviously it didn’t happen that way...” That’s what makes him a great leader. He doesn’t care about his numbers if the team doesn’t win enough games.
While the Padres season was obviously disappointing, Machado at least can know that he did his part. He played in all but nine of San Diego’s 162 games, finishing with a .836 OPS and a league leading eleven sac flies. He was worth over 5 Wins Above Replacement and made it to his first All-Star Game in the brown and gold.
The 29-year-old also drove in over 100 runs and continued to play gold glove caliber defense. His season was even more impressive when you take into account that he played through injuries since the first month of the season. Those injuries probably started somewhere around April 16 versus the Dodgers in the ninth inning when it was clear his shoulder was hurting:
He’d end up obviously fighting through those injuries he had, hitting well at home and on the road. Machado finished with the exact same batting average (.278) at home and on the road (what are the odds of that!!) while driving in more than 50 runs at Petco Park and away from Petco Park.
One of Machado’s signature moments this season was when he finished off a sweep of the Dodgers by making a great catch on a line drive down the third base line before firing to Jake Cronenworth at second base for the game-ending double play.
Padres fans can look forward to watching Machado’s stellar defense for the next seven seasons assuming he doesn’t opt out after the 2023 season.