San Diego Padres Give Fernando Tatis Jr. the Longest Contract in Major League Baseball History
The 22-year-old star shortstop and the team agreed to a 14-year, $340 million deal
Hopeful that star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. will never play a game in another uniform, the San Diego Padres took a massive step toward making that happen by agreeing to terms with the 22-year-old on the longest contract in the history of Major League Baseball.
Worth $340 million, the 14-year extension is the largest contract awarded a player not yet eligible for arbitration and is the third richest overall behind the $426.5 million over 12 years Mike Trout got from the Angels in 2019 and the $365 million for 12 years Mookie Betts received from the Dodgers last season. The contract also includes a full no-trade clause so Tatis is not leaving the San Diego sunshine via trade unless he gives the deal the green light. It is quite a pay bump for a guy who earned $555,555 as a rookie in 2019 and $219,185 in prorated pay last season.
With third baseman Manny Machado previously agreeing to a 10-year, $300 million deal with San Diego in 2019, the Padres have now awarded two of the seven largest contracts in MLB history. Pitcher Gerrit Cole and slugger Giancarlo Stanton of the New York Yankees are the only other MLB teammates with $300 million-plus deals.
A star in the field as well as at the plate, Tatis is hitting .301 with 39 home runs, 98 RBIs and 27 stolen bases over 143 games in less than two full seasons with the Padres. Tatis was the biggest reason San Diego was able to end a 13-year playoff drought in 2020 and helped the club win a wild-card series against the St. Louis Cardinals before the Padres were swept by the Dodgers in the NL Division Series.
“If there is a talented young player to give that kind of deal to, it is Fernando Tatis,” Padres outfielder Wil Myers told The San Diego Union-Tribune. “There is always a risk when you’re making a deal like that. But with him, I don’t think it’s that much of a risk.”
Even if it is, it is one the Padres are willing to take as they appear to be going all-in with their team this year in the hopes of bringing a World Series back to San Diego.
The deal with Tatis caps an offseason that saw the team bring in high-priced starting pitchers Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove via trade and sign infielder Ha-Seong Kim to a four-year, $28 million deal.
While exciting, the flurry of moves does not guarantee a World Series bid for the Padres because they play in the same division as the big-spending Dodgers, who just brought in ace Trevor Bauer on a three-year deal worth $102 million. But keeping Tatis for the long haul does give them a great shot at reaching the Fall Classic soon, even if it isn’t in 2021.
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