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.
The #Padres will officially announce Fernando Tatis' 14-year, $340 million contract this morning. He'll earn $10M signing bonus, $1M in 2021, 5M in 2022, $7M in 2023, $11M in 2024, average $22M next four years, and earn $36M a year in final six years. Full no-trade. No opt-outs.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 22, 2021
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.