Fernando Tatis Jr. countered Padres’ offer with lifetime contract

Padres Fernando Tatis Jr.

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Padres Fernando Tatis Jr.
Credit: Padres

Officially signing a statue contract, Padres Fernando Tatis Jr. spoke with the media regarding his extension and expectations going forward.

Monday marked one of the biggest days in San Diego Padres history, a shifting of the tide if you will, as 22-year-old Fernando Tatis Jr. officially put pen to paper on his 14-year contract extension that will earn him $340M over that span.

Given what Tatis has shown in about a full season’s worth of games, the sky is the limit for the former Chicago White Sox international free agent signing. Tatis finished fourth in the NL MVP voting with a .277/.366/.571 slash line, 17 home runs, and 45 RBI’s in 59 games in 2020.

After missing a good chunk of his rookie year with back issues, Tatis missed just one game in the shortened 60-game slate last season, and that was a planned day off. If not for a two week-skid near the end of the regular season, coinciding with Braves’ Freddie Freeman resurgence, the Padres shortstop could have very well taken home MVP honors.

Much of the offseason talk, as the Padres continued to improve the roster, questioned when the front office would give Fernando Tatis Jr. a long-term extension. The early rumors floated out there suggested a six or seven-year deal that would keep him in San Diego through his age 29 season.

Beyond that lay uncertainty depending on where the Padres were at as a franchise and if another team were to pursue him aggressively. However, a 14-year deal will keep Tatis in a Padres uniform through the 2034 season, with the expectation that he can help bring home the franchise’s first World Series trophy. The Padres held a special zoom call on Monday to formally announce Tatis’ extension, and it sounded like the only exception the 22-year-old had with the deal was the length.

“We made what we felt was a super aggressive 12-year concept, and he didn’t think it was quite as aggressive as we did early on,” general manager A.J. Preller told the media on Monday. “And in typical Tatis fashion, his only real comment was, ‘why not my whole career?’ And as we got to thinking about things, we shared the same thought process.”

Tatis will be 35 years old when his contract expires. He has a full no-trade clause for the duration, essentially setting up what has been monikered as a ‘statue contract,’ suggesting if he continues to progress linearly, he will hold every offensive record in Padres’ history when all is said and done, capping off his career with a statue in front of Petco Park. Before Monday, the lack of a formal extension had some fans nervous that Tatis may bolt for a team like the Dodgers or the Yankees, teams that have historically been willing to shell out large contracts. But as noted, this offseason has forever changed the ‘small market’ perception that has largely held the Padres back from taking that next step.

“I feel like here is where I am going to build my legacy,” the 22-year-old said. “You know the trust of the owner Peter [Seidler] they have put in me. I’ve embraced that 100 percent. I’m here to build my legacy. You know, I’m ready to put that work in. I’m ready to embrace this moment. The city of San Diego, they received me with open arms from day one, and now we’re going to stay for the long run.

“I’m just grateful for everything,” Tatis continued. “To the city of San Diego…We’re here to stay. I love this city. I love the fans. I love the fans. And I’m all about winning in San Diego.”

Tatis signing a long-term extension was the final piece of the puzzle for the Padres offseason, one that saw that an upgrade at nearly every position on the roster, whether it be the starter or adding much-needed depth. As spring training gets underway and eventually the regular season, the Padres have officially put the baseball world on notice. They are the real deal and World Series contenders.

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Tony C
Tony C
2 years ago

I’m happy to see the Padres commit to Tatis jr. He appears to be a good kid, raised correctly, with a solid foundation that includes good work habits. I’m thinking mom will keep him in line should he get too big for his britches.

A commitment to winning is all the Padre fans have wanted for so many years. This move, along with others, shows we are no longer going to be content with “competing” each year. That we’ve decided not to be the playground of the Dodgers. This shows we are going to compete for a title year in and year out providing a supporting cast is provided. Please do not turn this into a Mike Trout nightmare.

As wonderful as it would be to win the World Series, we can only ask that we get the opportunity at it each season. We are certainly set up to make runs at it the next few years. Our farm system lends hope to extending those runs beyond the current team.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x