Getting a Fernando Tatis Jr. deal done this offseason should be a priority for the San Diego Padres.
Fernando Tatis Jr., before even turning 22, has already become one of the hottest commodities in Major League Baseball. He finished fourth in NL MVP voting this past season and even made the FanSided 250 list. It seems that the sky is the limit for the young shortstop. So, can Tatis and the San Diego Padres get a long-term deal done this winter?
General Manager A.J. Preller spoke about the situation on Monday and made it clear that a deal with Tatis is a priority. “I think we’re in position to try and line up on a deal,” he said, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “We’ll see what happens here over the course of the rest of the offseason and see if we can do that.”
We might look to the deal that Ronald Acuna Jr. signed with the Atlanta Braves early in 2019 (eight years, $100 million) for guidance on what we might expect from a deal for Tatis; it would likely be for a little bit higher annual value since Tatis has a little bit more major league experience under his belt than Acuna did at the time of that signing.
We’d love to see a deal get done this offseason, but Preller has a few other factors to deal with. For one, there’s the pandemic and how it’s both harmed the sport this season and how it’s causing uncertainty about whether we will have a full season in 2021. There are the big contracts still owed to Eric Hosmer, Manny Machado, and Wil Myers.
Then there’s the balancing act of trying to build a team that can contend with the Los Angeles Dodgers for 2020. The deadline deals that the Padres made this past season caused their farm system to take a bit of a hit, though it’s still strong; keeping that intact while adding a starting pitcher this offseason is among the other things that Preller is dealing with.
Still, at this time it seems like there’s enough goodwill on both sides to try to get a deal done. The Padres probably bought themselves some goodwill by putting Tatis on their Opening Day roster last year; we’ve seen what manipulating service time can do in Chicago with Kris Bryant, for example.
Tatis has also expressed interest in working on a deal; he also has a lot of incentive to get a deal done, given the uncertainty surrounding the sport both in terms of the pandemic and the labor situation. He could sign a deal for, say, six or seven years and still hit the open market via free agency while still in his 20s.
Right now, there’s a lot of work to do, but it sounds like there’s a good chance that a deal could get done later this offseason. Tatis has a chance to be the face of the franchise for a long time; let’s hope it happens so that we can continue to see Tatis in Padre brown for many years, without this issue lingering over everyone’s heads.