In his rookie season, Fernando Tatis Jr. has been fantastic for the San Diego Padres. Though he is years away from free agency, should the Padres explore an extension with the 20-year-old?
The more you see Fernando Tatis Jr. play the game of baseball, the more impressed you become of his tremendous baseball abilities.
It is the little things that he does that make the difference on the field for the San Diego Padres. He can slow down the game, and that is extremely rare in a player who is only 20-years of age. From taking an extra-base while on the basepaths to positioning himself better on cutoffs from the outfield- Tatis does it all.
It is no coincidence that he has these skills, as he is the son of a former major leaguer. Those type of intangibles cannot be taught. Hanging around a major league clubhouse has assisted him in his development, but that is not the only reason he has put up the numbers he has done so far in his rookie season. The young shortstop is motivated. That will lead to impressive stats every time he steps on the field.
At this point, Tatis is a rising star in the league. He is already considered by several as a top-10 talent in the majors. As a professional franchise, when you get a chance to keep a player like this who is so young and talented, you do it. The Padres need to take action.
It may be time to talk extension with the 20-year-old shortstop.
I know, I know. He is a rookie. But at this point, the franchise may be able to get a deal done that benefits both sides of the equation.
Buying out a few years of his free-agency could be huge for the Padres as they attempt to get back to relevancy. Tatis is not due for free agency until after the 2024 season. He is not arbitration-eligible until 2022. There is no real rush for this, but as the clock gets closer to his free-agent year, he will be more and more difficult to lockup longterm. Especially if he continues to develop and possibly get even better.
What kind of numbers would it take for this to get done?
Would $120 million or so and eight years be good enough to get a contract signed? For Tatis and his representatives, this offer would take him into his age 28 season. This gives him plenty of time to cash in yet again on another big deal. For San Diego, the Padres would gain three extra years of control over Tatis and the assurance that he and Manny Machado would be together for possibly a total of nine seasons.
If a deal were structured correctly, the Padres could also have some flexibility to spend down the road when they are very close to winning. A.J. Preller and his staff enjoy thinking outside the box. The Padres lost one year of control with Tatis by being aggressive with his promotion this season. One would think the Padres had an extension on their minds all along. Fernando Tatis Jr. is an ultra-talented player. The type of man you can build around. The Padres would be wise to explore this topic this winter. It may take a little give and take to get it done, but this is a concept well worth exploring for both sides.