Fernando Tatis signed an historic contract extension. The Padres have given Tatis a full no-trade clause in a $340 million, 14-year deal.
This is among the largest contracts in MLB history. San Diego has made an unfathomable commitment to the 22-year-old. What this represents, when so many teams are refusing to spend, is a franchise truly committed to winning, but it would be reckless to ignore the risk the Padres have taken.
Mike Trout and Mookie Betts got their blockbuster deals in their late-twenties. Bryce Harper had to wait until free agency. Tatis has played 143 Major League games across two seasons, and he only celebrated his 22nd birthday last month. Players usually have to wait longer, prove themselves over multiple seasons, to earn a contract of this size. There’s no doubt Tatis is a star, and likely a perennial MVP candidate, but this is early to make such a commitment.
Padres change the game
San Diego is reliant on Tatis’ health. They are reliant on his production remaining at an MVP level. With Tatis’ fresh contract and Manny Machado‘s deal running for years to come, the Padres have committed to not just two big deals, but to one of the league’s biggest payrolls. The Padres made all the right moves this offseason. Following this contract extension, they must maintain that approach for years to come, or having two of the game’s best infielders will be for nothing.
The news of Tatis’ extension doesn’t impact baseball in 2021. Given the years of team control the Padres already had, it doesn’t become relevant until the middle of the decade. It will serve as a marker for top prospects who immediately impress in the Majors, though. It has opened a new window for big contract extensions, and perhaps puts the pressure on the Nationals to strike a pact with Juan Soto.
Every big contract is claimed to reset the market. For once, that could actually be true. San Diego have done something unprecedented.