After weeks of speculation regarding the next step in his professional baseball career, reports came out earlier this week that Manny Machado — currently one of the market’s biggest free agent players — had agreed to a deal with the San Diego Padres. While the move has arguably been one of the biggest sports headlines of the past few days, there has yet to be an official announcement regarding his introduction to the team. Yet, that didn’t seem to stop the Padres’ team store from getting a head start on selling Machado merch for excited fans to add to their collections.
According to the San Diego Union Tribune, Machado jerseys quickly went up for sale at Petco Park, the home of the Padres, on Wednesday, February 20, the same day the 26-year-old was in town for one of two physicals required to make his 10-year, $300 million dollar contract with the team official.
But the merchandise was removed as swiftly as it was put on display, as the team caught wind of the store’s latest arrival and required that vendor Delaware North pull them from the floor.
One Twitter user shared a photo of the back of the souvenir garment from the team store on Wednesday night, revealing a large black number 13 patch stitched under Machado’s name in the same color lettering.
The Padres' team store at Petco Park jumped the gun. https://t.co/Wr8MvZpOIB— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) February 21, 2019
The digits may excite some fans of the professional baseball player, as it is the same number he sported on his uniform when he played for the Baltimore Orioles when he made his Major League debut in 2012 until being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July of 2018. According to ESPN, Machado had to don a different number after making the move to L.A. because it was already worn by Max Muncy. Manny instead chose to adopt number 8, partly in honor of Kobe Bryant as he was a “huge fan of growing up.”
Pending the completion of Machado’s second physical exam on Thursday, the Padres are expected to announce the signing of the All-Star within the next 24 hours and officially introduce him during a news conference on Friday morning before he joins his new team at their Arizona complex for spring training.
According to the San Diego Union Tribune, it is unknown as to whether or not one of the “unofficially official” Machado jerseys had been bought during the brief period of time they were up for grabs. Team officials have also noted that there has been a surge in ticket prices and inquiries since reports of Machado’s deal surfaced on Tuesday, proving that fans are just excited as the team store for their latest signee.