Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Tuesday it's a possible middle ground as Tatis tries to decide between a shorter deal that would allow him a chance at free agency in his prime or a longer agreement, potentially 15 years, that could make him a "Padre for life."
Tatis' career is off to a tremendous start. He's played about one season worth of games between his 2019 rookie year and the coronavirus-shortened 2020 campaign, and his numbers are among the National League's best.
The 22-year-old Dominican Republic native has posted a .301/.374/.582 triple-slash line with 39 home runs and 27 stolen bases across 143 appearances. His .956 OPS over that span would rank ninth among all MLB hitters if he had enough at-bats to qualify, per FanGraphs.
He's under team control through 2024 via arbitration, but teams have showed a willingness to sign budding superstars to extensions early in exchange for pushing back their free-agency timeline.
In 2019, the Atlanta Braves' Ronald Acuna Jr. became the youngest player to sign a $100 million extension at age 21. He could have become a free agent in 2024 but is instead now linked to the Braves through at least 2026 with club options for two additional years.
Padres general manager A.J. Preller said in October there was interest from both sides to at least start looking at an extension for Tatis before the 2021 season.
"It was just such a short season and such a sprint to the finish line that I don't think there was a lot in the middle of all of that for trying to put a contract negotiation in there," Preller told reporters. "We'll start to look more seriously at that here this offseason, and it sounds like there's interest on both sides, so we'll see where that goes."
With or without a new deal, Tatis will once again take on a prominent role in the heart of the Padres' order alongside Manny Machado, Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers in 2021.
San Diego will enter the season with championship-level expectations after the offseason additions of starting pitchers Yu Darvish and Blake Snell to a roster that ranked third in MLB with a 37-23 record in 2020.