COLUMN: Padres fail lie detector test and land Manny Machado

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Posted at 7:52 PM, Feb 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-20 21:27:37-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler lied to me. He lied to Padres fans all around San Diego. It was a giant, bald-faced lie. Wasn't it great?

Last September, as a dismal 66-win season was winding to a close, I had a chance to interview Fowler on my Mighty 1090 morning radio show, "Ben and Woods." I asked him about the possibility of pursing Manny Machado on the free agent market.

"Machado, I think, is somebody that every team would like," Fowler said before adding the dreaded "but" to the sentence. "But if we're looking at someone who's looking at 10 years and $300 million, I don't think that's something we're looking to do."

Then, 145 days later, Fowler made himself into a liar, authorizing exactly what he said he wouldn't do -- a 10-year, $300 million contract for Machado.

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Was Fowler playing the long con, lulling other potential suitors into a false sense of security?

Doubtful. I believe he was being honest on the radio in September.

Instead, look at the teams who weren't seriously involved in the bidding for Machado. The Yankees, the Dodgers, the Red Sox, the Giants; they all had their reasons, but none of them made a Godfather offer that would have knocked the Padres out of the running.

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The cold stove of the offseason also likely played a factor. A source told me the Padres were high on two third baseman in the Reds organization -- big leaguer Eugenio Suarez and top prospect Nick Senzel. But with little movement around baseball on free agents and trades -- and undoubtedly a high asking price by the Reds -- a deal never materialized. The Padres' hole at third remained, and there was Machado, still waiting for the right fit on the free agent market.

Finally, don't discount general manager A.J. Preller's powers of persuasion. He was able to convince his bosses that the right guy for the Padres was available now and this was a one-time opportunity.

"You could wait for some of the young talent that we've built up and look at 3 or 4 years and hope the right guys are out there," Preller told reporters at Cactus League media day in Arizona, "but if pieces that fit for us both in the short-term and long-term are out there, that's how you build a club."

Whatever the reason, Fowler's mind was changed and Machado is a Padre. Go ahead and whisper those sweet lies, Uncle Ron.