SAN DIEGO — After months of negotiation, sources have confirmed that the San Diego Padres have agreed to a 14-year, $340 million contract with budding superstar shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. that will keep him with the team until his 36th birthday.
Padres General Manager A.J. Preller traveled to see Tatis and his team in the Domincan Republic during the offseason, and negotiations proceeded from there. No official announcement by the Padres is expected until next week, after Tatis and the rest of the team's position players report to Spring Training in Peoria, Arizona.
In two major league seasons, Tatis has hit for .301 average with 39 home runs and an OPS of .956. He also earned a Silver Slugger award in 2020 and finished fourth in MVP voting. He also finished third in National League Rookie of the Year consideration in 2019.
His upbeat style of play has made him one of the most popular young players in baseball, landing him on the cover of the popular video game MLB The Show 21.
The contract is one of the most lucrative in the history of baseball, ranking just behind the 13-year $330 million contract to which the Phillies signed outfielder Bryce Harper in 2019 average annual value.
While health is always a question mark for a baseball player, especially one who plays with the speed and intensity of Tatis, the Padres jumped at the opportunity to sign him before he was scheduled to hit free agency in four years. A contract then could have been staggering — and while $340 million isn't chump change, that deal could look like a bargain for the Padres down the road, and allow them to continue to complement Tatis with talented teammates.
Tatis' new contract comes after the Padres acquired top pitching talent in Blake Snell and Yu Darvish duering the offseason. San Diego enters the 2021 season as one of the top teams in baseball — though they share a division with the world-champion Los Angeles Dodgers, who acquired top-flight pitching talent of their own this offseason.
This story was originally published by Ben Higgins on KGTV in San Diego.