On Friday, reports surfaced that the Padres were the latest players in the Manny Machado sweepstakes. While that hasn’t changed, Dennis Lin of The Athletic says the club is interested in sitting down with Machado –possibly in Miami — before making any further progress in potential contract negotiations.
Of course, that’s not necessarily an indication that talks are getting serious between the two or that any kind of offer is on the table. Machado also held meetings with the Phillies, White Sox, and Yankees earlier this offseason, and while none of the aforementioned teams are officially out of the running, none of them appear much closer to inking the All-Star infielder to a major-league deal, either. It’s also not clear whether or not Machado’s two “mystery” suitors are still in the mix at this point — that is, assuming they ever existed at all.
Machado isn’t the only big name on the Padres’ radar this winter. Per Fancred’s Jon Heyman, they’ve also asked around about free agents Bryce Harper, Marwin González, and Mike Moustakas and may be discussing a trade with the Marlins for catcher J.T. Realmuto as well. Concerning the latter, the Marlins have reportedly asked for San Diego catcher Francisco Mejía as part of their return, though it’s unclear whether or not the Padres are open to the swap. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro adds that Miami will not grant a window for extension negotiations with Realmuto as they look to strike a deal with the Padres, Dodgers, Braves, Astros, Reds, Rays, or any other team currently invested in trade talks.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.