manny machado mets rumors
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

It appears San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado attended the Jacob deGrom School of Opting Out.

Machado has the opportunity to opt out of his 10-year, $300 million contract at the end of this season. He’s racked up two top-three finishes in National League MVP voting, one Silver Slugger, and two All-Star selections since 2020. So, yea — he publicly said his plan is to test the market next winter.

The Padres have talked to Machado’s camp about an extension. San Diego ultimately offered a five-year, $105 million deal that’d start in 2029. The third baseman’s reps countered with 10 years for $400 million that’d start in 2024. Machado, who will be 31 by Opening Day next year, is looking for a contract that’ll take him to the same age as players like Xander Bogaerts and Trea Turner.

Needless to say, they’re a little far apart right now. With that coming to light, USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale said the following:

If the Padres don’t pay it, well, don’t think for a second that someone like the New York Mets or Yankees or San Francisco Giants or the Chicago Cubs will hesitate.

Machado has already been linked to the Mets earlier this winter. In the final hours before the Carlos Correa ordeal finally reached its conclusion, insiders started mentioning the third baseman’s name.

It’s easy to see why New York would be mentioned. They have baseball’s richest owner, and he’s not afraid to spend money. However, it’s not a slam dunk that the Mets will end up getting involved in a Machado pursuit. There are several factors in play here, and many of them won’t be determined until 2023 plays itself out.

The current third-base situation

If the Mets were successful in bringing Correa aboard, the third-base situation would look a lot different today. However, it currently looks similar to how it did at the end of 2022. That picture includes Eduardo Escobar as the favorite to begin the year as the starter, with Brett Baty waiting in the wings for his opportunity.

We can assume that at some point, Baty will push his way into regular big-league playing time. Will he show enough to convince the Mets he can be the long-term answer at the hot corner? Or, will he end up moving to the outfield (a spot he’s played a little bit in the minors)?

Escobar is in the final season of a two-year deal he signed last winter. However, there is a 2024 club option worth $9 million. Do the Mets pick it up and bring him back to play third base? Or do they pick it up and trade him? Maybe he’ll come back and be the designated hitter or a utility option.

Do the Mets have a real shot at Ohtani?

The chances of Shohei Ohtani signing long-term with the Los Angeles Angels aren’t looking great right now (although things could change). We know Mets owner Steve Cohen covets a talent like Ohtani, but who doesn’t, right?

Cohen has spoken with high-level team executives about pursuing Ohtani next winter. He may not be interested in playing for a team on the East Coast, though, which is what happened when he originally signed with Los Angeles.

I know the possibility of signing both Machado and Ohtani is there. After all, we’ve learned to never doubt or discount anything with the Cohen-led Mets. But for a club that’ll likely be over the highest luxury-tax penalty level again in 2024, it’s tough to see a world where New York commits $90-plus million a year to two players.

So, if they come up empty-handed in their Ohtani pursuit, maybe that clears the way to seriously entertain the thought of Machado coming to Queens.

What about Pete’s extension?

Once Jeff McNeil got his extension, all focus has turned to Pete Alonso being the next homegrown Mets player to commit to the franchise for the foreseeable future. I think most New York fans would like to see the first baseman sign on the dotted line before Opening Day, but that remains to be seen.

When the Correa debacle officially fell apart, there was a thought that the money saved from this failed agreement could be spread around to McNeil, Alonso, and another big free-agent target in the future.

It won’t be cheap, as I think Alonso has a case to be the organization’s next $200 million player. There haven’t been any legitimate updates on the status of negotiations, so we’ll see what transpires over the next few weeks ahead of Opening Day.

New York’s motivation head into 2024

How the Mets’ front office and ownership feel about 2024 right now will likely change in the coming months. There’s a lot of time between February and November. One of the things that’ll impact how thoughts/feelings change is how New York ultimately performs.

Do they win the National League East? Can they get past the Wild Card round in the postseason this year? How close will they get to winning the World Series?

Plans change over time, and how the Mets ultimately perform in 2023 will impact that. We’ve seen how certain events have triggered massive offseason spending sprees the last two years (like not coming to terms with Steven Matz or Jacob deGrom). This goes hand-in-hand with other variables already mentioned. Mostly with what the internal outlook at third base appears to be.

This is still a lot of money

Machado has been a perennial MVP candidate while supplying Gold Glove defense throughout most of his career. It’s not surprising that he’s looking to cash in on what could be the final contract of his big-league career. He’s seen the money being handed out in recent years and wants a shot to get something like that.

As good as he is, he’ll be approaching his age-31 season at this time next year. I’d be shocked to see anyone hand out a 10-year, $400 million contract in this situation.

Even though the Mets’ payroll is at record levels for 2023, they have certain limits. Francisco Lindor and Brandon Nimmo have been the only contracts longer than five years and with no opt-outs. And, when the opportunity presents itself, general manager Billy Eppler has found a way to manipulate a player’s annual average salary for luxury-tax purposes.

All it takes is one player to buck that current trend in Queens. But I don’t think the one to do it will be Machado.

Matt Musico can be reached at and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.