This isn’t just uncharted territory for Padres fans. It’s uncharted territory for pretty much all fan bases outside of the California market.
San Diego’s reported 14-year, $340 million contract extension with Fernando Tatis Jr. clocks in as the third-largest deal in MLB history. Only two players have secured larger guarantees in the history of the game: Mike Trout and Mookie Betts.
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Both of those players were in a wildly different situation than Tatis when they agreed to their respective deals. While Tatis is just 22 and never even got started in the arbitration process, Betts and Trout were both nearing the open market and were a full five years older when signing extensions.
By that point in their respective careers, both Trout and Betts had brought home an MVP award, as well. Trout, arguably the greatest player to ever set foot on a field, had won two MVPs by the time he signed his mega-deal, finishing as the runner-up on four other occasions.
Padres hope to avoid Angels’ errors
The Angels have, to this point, wasted the prime of Trout’s career. Despite his Hall of Fame-worthy performance, the team hasn’t made the postseason since 2014. The outfielder boasts the largest guarantee in big league history at $426.5 million over a dozen years – but I’m sure what he really wants at this point is a ring.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers locked up Betts, the longtime face of the Boston Red Sox, after acquiring him prior to the 2020 campaign. That deal will keep him in Los Angeles through his age-39 season, paying him $365 million over the course of the 12-year span.
With both of these guys locked up until they’re basically 40, it stands to reason that either one of the contracts could look and feel very similar to the Angels’ current pact with Albert Pujols by the time it’s all said and done. Meanwhile, the Padres are paying for what should be the most high-performing years of Tatis Jr.’s career. The deal runs through his age-36 season, so while he might tail off toward the end, the overwhelming majority of this contract should be worthy every penny.
Deals like this are rare. A team historically known for bargain shopping stepped up, ready to pay the most exciting player in the game what he’s worth before he’s even cemented himself in the league. Now, there’s just one thing left to do: go win some rings.