Fernando Tatis Jr. and San Diego Padres have reached long term contract


Courtesy of Wiki Commons

Tatis Jr. made Padres history by being the youngest player to start on opening day. Tatis Jr. is considered MLB royalty since his father played in the MLB for 11 years.

On Feb. 17, Fernando Tatis Jr. and the San Diego Padres agreed to a 14-year, $340 million contract extension. The deal is the third-largest contract in MLB history, trailing only Mookie Betts’ and Mike Trout’s contracts. Tatis, who just turned 22 years old in early Jan., is now signed until he turns 35 years old. The Padres have locked up one of MLB’s brightest stars for the foreseeable future.

Born in the Dominican Republic, Tatis signed with the Chicago White Sox back in 2015 as a sixteen-year-old. Then just over a year later, Tatis was traded to the Padres for James Shields. The trade worked out great for the Padres as Tatis would get called up to the majors in 2019, and he did not disappoint. In just 84 games, Tatis had a batting average of .317 while also hitting 22 home runs and stealing 16 bases. Tatis came in third in votes for rookie of the year, and is already considered a top 10 player in MLB just two years later.

During the first half of the shortened 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, Tatis was considered as an MVP candidate. In just 59 games, Tatis had 17 home runs, a batting average of .277, and drove in 45 runs. With Tatis in the starting lineup, the Padres made the postseason for the first time since 2006. They entered as a wild card team and defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round. The Padres would then lose to the eventual World Series Champion Dodgers in the next round. 

After falling short last postseason, the Padres general manager, A.J. Preller, got to work on putting together a team to take down the reigning champs. Since starting pitching was the Padres biggest weakness in 2020, Preller traded for Tampa Bay Rays ace Blake Snell, CY Young candidate Yu Darvish, and Joe Musgrove. Preller also signed top international free agent Ha-Seong Kim to a four-year, $28 million contract. The icing on the cake came just a week before pitchers and catchers reported to spring training, as the Padres announced their new contract with Tatis. 

Even after a great offseason, the Padres are still projected to finish second in their division, behind the reigning World Series champs. The Padres are opening the season with a 28% chance to win their division and are projected to win 96 games. As opening day approaches, only time will tell if the changes the Padres made this offseason are good enough to take down the Los Angeles Dodgers.