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MLB, MLBPA announce Japan All-Star Series participants

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For over 100 years, off and on — more off than on, actually — major leaguers have traveled to Japan for all-star barnstorming series of one form or another. The tradition will continue this November and this morning MLB and the MLBPA announced many of the participants in the series, which is being called the Japan All-Star Series.

On the squad are Yadier Molina of the Cardinals, Eugenio Suárez of the Reds, Christian Yelich of the Brewers, Ronald Acuña of the Braves, Rhys Hoskins and Carlos Santana of the Phillies, Whit Merrifield of the Royals and Chris Taylor of the Dodgers. Other members of roster will be announced in the coming weeks. Don Mattingly will be the team’s manager.

The All-Star Series will be played in Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagoya, with an exhibition game played against the Yomiuri Giants on November 8th, followed by three games against a Japanese All-Star game in Tokyo from November 9-11, one game in Hiroshima on November 13 and two games in Nagoya on November 14-15. MLB Network will provide live telecasts of the games from November 9-15.

BREAKING: Manny Machado to sign with the Padres: 10 years, $300 million

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Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that Manny Machado has a deal with the San Diego Padres. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the deal is for ten years and $300 million with an opt-out after year five.

At the moment there is some disagreement as to how “done” this deal is, with Padres chairman Ron Fowler saying “We do not have a deal. We are continuing discussions.” Ken Rosenthal, however, says that’s “semantics” and that the financial terms are in place, with the deal requiring over some final touches on language and Machado’s physical, which will likely be a formality.

The Padres were a late entrant into the Machado sweepstakes, but they reportedly met with Machado last week. The club has obviously not won for a long time, but they have a strong farm system. While that usually mitigates against a big free agent signing, Machado’s age — 26 — means that he’s still likely to be a productive player when that core of prospects is mature. And if it doesn’t develop, hey, he’s made some serious bank and can still opt-out at an age when he might get another decent paycheck.

For the Padres, Machado represents the biggest single investment in a player in club history. Last year they spent too, of course, giving Eric Hosmer an eight-year, $144 million contract, but this is definitely next-level. As for the baseball side of things, it’s likely that Machado will be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop. While all of the talk about Machado over the past several months has been focused on money and, sometimes, his alleged lack of hustle, the Padres are getting a player with a career line of .282/.335/.487 (121 OPS+), 175 career homers and a 33.8 career WAR in seven big league seasons. While he played shortstop last year and as a minor leaguer, his past and future is at third, where he is a superior defender. As for the hustle: it has almost exclusively been an obsession of the media, based on an ill-advised postgame quote in October. He has received no bad reviews from former teammates, all of whom speak highly of his game and his work ethic.

When the offseason began it appeared that the Phillies or the Yankees or, perhaps, the White Sox had the inside track on Machado. Everyone took a wait-and-see approach, reasonably believing that by waiting out Machado, a better deal could be struck. The risk of that approach, of course, is that it allowed the Padres to talk themselves into getting bold and, ultimately, swooping in to strike this deal.