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MLB Free Agency: Padres check in with Machado, Harper, Moustakas, Marwin Gonzalez

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San Diego tries to see where these 4 free agents stand.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Can the Padres become a big player in free agency over the next two months?

The jury is still out on that answer, but they have apparently “checked in” with free agents Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Mike Moustakas and Marwin Gonzalez, according to Jon Heyman of Fancred.

For the Padres, it seems they are keeping their options open on these four players, considering how different these guys are in regards to talent and price.

Going after Machado or Harper, who are two of the best players in the game, means that they will have to shell out a ton of money while trying to compete with reported contenders such as the White Sox, Phillies and Yankees. As for Moustakas and Gonzalez, they are much cheaper options, but are still solid players.

But like Heyman said, the Padres are planning to be competitive by 2020. After all, they have an incredible farm system, as it has 10 players who are ranked in the Top 100 among all MLB prospects, according to MLBPipeline.com. In addition, they signed Eric Hosmer last year to a big contract last year and Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported two days ago that the organization is close to making big-time moves so they can make this plan a reality and become a contender in the National League for many years to come.

Because of this plan, though, it may turn off a guy like Machado or Harper from coming to San Diego because they are players who want to win now and not wait another year to make that happen. But, the Padres are doing their due diligence on these two stars since they heard about Machado’s best offer so far came in “lower than expected,” according to Acee.

But, if they do not land either Machado or Harper, Moustakas and Gonzalez would not be bad options, given that Moustakas played with Hosmer in Kansas City, where they won a World Series in 2015, and Gonzalez won a World Series with the Astros in 2017. Having former champions in a clubhouse filled with young players could go a long way for a franchise that is longing to get out of the bottom of the NL.