American star makes sports history with absurd $420m deal

The San Diego Padres have inked Manny Machado to the biggest free-agent contract in the Major League Baseball history.

Machado signed a 10 year, $300 million ($420m AUD) contract on Wednesday.

The massive deal eclipsed the previous high mark, the 10-year, $275 million ($384m AUD) contract signed by Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees in 2007.

Manny Machado. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Machado, 26, was drafted in 2010 by the Baltimore Orioles, before a brief stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers at the end of last season.

The shortstop has attracted some degree of controversy throughout his career to date, including a number of divisive moments last season.

He failed to run hard to first base several times in October, once potentially costing him a double. He kicked the foot of Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar, seemingly on purpose, in the NLCS. Questions to him about the apparent lack of hustle or dangerous play generally were met with indifference.

Despite this, Machado is considered one of the bona-fide stars of the MLB.

A four-time All Star, he has averaged 35 home runs over the last four seasons.

The Padres, who spent big in free agency last year as well, will be hoping the 26-year-old will be able to lift them out of mediocrity.

The contract has driven the club’s annual payroll above $100m for the second time in their history – a clear statement of intent from the front office.

Fans divided

To say Machado is a controversial character within the ranks of the MLB would be an understatement.

The massive contract was, predictably, a talking point on social media.

Expectations will be high for the Padres, who have traditionally not been one of the league’s heavy hitting teams.

According to other reports, the team has not ruled out splashing even more cash for another free agent, Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper.