Dominican Major League Baseball player “El Niño” is going to be making the big-boy bucks very soon. Fernando Tatís Jr., the 22-year-old, all-MLB shortstop has agreed to a 14-year, $340 million contract extension with the San Diego Padres, according to ESPN.
“My feeling is that the Padres think Fernando Tatís Jr. is going to be really good for a really long time,” says ESPN MLB expert Bradford Doolittle. “If anyone is worth this kind of contract at age 22, it’s probably him.”
Dolittle’s colleague, David Schoenfield, says the Padres were smart to lock up a player “who could be the best and most exciting franchise cornerstone in the game for the next decade” or more.
“[Tatís Jr.] has the potential to be the best in franchise history,” Shoenfield says. “If he stays healthy, this will prove to be a wise investment for the Padres.”
Calling the new deal an “investment” is probably an understatement. Tatís Jr.’s contract is the third-largest in MLB history after Mike Trout (12-year, $430 million contract in 2019) and Mookie Betts (12-year, $365 million contract extension in 2020).
Last year, Tatís Jr. came in fourth for the National League MVP Award. According to stats at Baseball Reference, he led the NL in power-speed number (13.4) and batted .277/.366/.571 (10th in the league) with 50 runs (2nd), 17 home runs (2nd), 42 RBIs (4th), and 11 stolen bases (4th) in 224 at bats.
“Tatis is the full package–and not just because of what he does on the field,” Dolittle adds. “He is a great hitter whose peak is still well in the future. He has great physical skills and holds down the most important defensive position on the field. But he is big, too, and someday will be an All-Star at other positions.”