Fernando Tatis Jr.'s 14-Year Deal a 'Statue Contract,' Per Padres GM AJ Preller

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2021

FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2020, file photo, San Diego Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr. throws to first for the out on Los Angeles Dodgers' Mookie Betts during the first inning in Game 3 of a baseball National League Division Series in Arlington, Texas. Tatis has agreed to a 14-year deal that will keep the shortstop with the Padres until he's 35 years old, according to two people familiar with the situation. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

The San Diego Padres and Fernando Tatis Jr. officially announced the shortstop's 14-year, $340 million contract extension on Monday. 

During that press conference, general manager AJ Preller referred to it as a "statue contract," the sort of deal that could keep Tatis in San Diego long enough to one day have his own statue at the ballpark like club legends Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman:

Fox Sports San Diego @FOXSportsSD

"One of the game's most exciting & best talents decided to make San Diego his home... hopefully for his career." @Padres GM AJ Preller discusses the process of signing @tatis_jr to this historic extension (and statue contract 🤩). https://t.co/FCX7xBzXWN

"I want the statue on one team," Tatis said, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). "I want to be able to stay on one team and build my legacy over here in San Diego."

During the press conference, Tatis said his goal is to grow the game for the next generation of young athletes:

Fox Sports San Diego @FOXSportsSD

"Let's do it for the next generation. They're going to keep this game alive." 💯 @tatis_jr on growing the game & being an athlete that kids can look up to. @Padres https://t.co/2QObzDUFTa

Tatis, 22, was fantastic for the Padres in 2020, hitting .277 with 17 homers, 45 RBI, 50 runs and 11 stolen bases in 50 games. It was quite the sophomore season, and he was even better in the postseason, hitting .318 with two dingers and five RBI in six games. 


FERNANDO. TATIS. JR. https://t.co/cHQnWmbETX

It was the first time the Padres had reached the postseason since 2006, and Tatis was a major reason for the resurgence, pairing with Manny Machado to give San Diego the best left side of the infield in baseball. 

The Padres didn't rest on their laurels this offseason, trading for a pair of aces in Yu Darvish and Blake Snell while also signing KBO infielder Ha-Seong Kim and trading for another solid starter in Joe Musgrave, among other moves.

But locking up Tatis for the next decade-plus was the biggest move of all. 

Padres chairman Peter Seidler explained the contract extension by noting San Diego is not a "small-market franchise."

"We represent the eighth-largest city in America," Seidler said on the John Kentera Show (h/t 97.3 The Fan San Diego).

"I'm just grateful for everything," Tatis said Tuesday. "To the city of San Diego... We're here to stay. I love this city. I love the fans. I love the culture. I love the vibe. I'm all about winning, and I'm all about winning in San Diego."

Bill Shaikin @BillShaikin

A.J. Preller said the Padres floated a 12-year deal to Fernando Tatis Jr. He said Tatis responded: "Why not my whole career?"

Padres fans will be hoping Tatis and the team do quite a bit of winning in the years to come. If the team's exciting 2020 season was any indication, the Padres' title window is wide open for the foreseeable future.