New York-NY—Fernando Tatis Jr., one of 2020’s breakout stars, has agreed to a 14-year, $340 million extension with the San Diego Padres. The deal contains a full no-trade clause, a signing bonus of $10 million and no deferred money.
The fewest amount of games a position player had ever played before getting a contract longer than eight years in MLB had been Todd Helton with 506 games back in 2000. Bryce Harper played 927 games before signing his big deal. Mookie Betts played 794 games before his deal with the Dodgers. Giancarlo Stanton was at 624 before his then-record contract with the Miami Marlins.
The record for the highest AAV on a deal of $300 million is held by starting pitcher Gerrit Cole, whose nine-year, $340 million deal with the New York Yankees guarantees him an average of $36 million per year. Mike Trout leads the way for position players with an AAV of $35.5 million thanks to his 12-year, $426.5 million extension with the Los Angeles Angels. He’s trailed by Mookie Betts ($30.4M), Manny Machado ($30M), Bryce Harper ($25.4M) and Giancarlo Stanton ($25M).
Meanwhile, Tatis Jr. has played in 143 career games. All of the other players were at least 25 years old at the time of they signed their mega deals; Tatis Jr. is 22.
The Padres just completed a 37-23 season — equivalent to 100 wins in a 162-game season — and still had one of the best farm systems in baseball. If San Diego stay healthy and Tatis Jr. produces –he can put them over the top in the NL West.
Fernando a year ago– had just finished off a stellar rookie season in which he hit .317/.379/.590 with 22 home runs. He was limited to 84 games that season due to a back injury; if he played more, he would have been a top contender for Rookie of the Year.
Young superstars are exciting, but there’s always a risk that their early success doesn’t pan out to a Hall of Fame career. It’s difficult to remain an elite hitter in MLB consistently over the years, and San Diego have now put themselves in a position where Tatis Jr. being super human for his entire career constitute for the overpayment.
Fernando may have just 143 regular season games to his name so far in his career, but the 22-year-old has already established himself as one of baseball best up-and-coming players.
Forget the face of the Padres, Tatis could be the face of MLB in the very near future.