The big news in the baseball world over the last couple of weeks as camps have opened up and the season is on the horizon has been out in San Diego. Fernando Tatís Jr., the Padres shortstop and one of the brightest young stars in the game, agreed to stay in San Diego for a long time. A long time. He recently signed a 14-year deal worth a whopping $340 million, all that despite having only played 143 games in the majors. Still, it doesn’t take long watching him to realize he is a supremely talented player.
This contract has made waves for a lot of reasons. The length, the total money, the location, the player. It’s all a perfect storm of sorts as far as baseball talking points go. And with that, it made all the sense in the world for that to be the topic of this week’s SB Nation Reacts poll.
Is Tatís next?
I generally hate these kinds of questions of ranking players, and that includes things like this and then the GOAT talk surrounding the Super Bowl and the LeBron vs. Jordan debates. It’s all designed for there always to be an unsatisfied party, and that is just exhausting. I do think this one is somewhat interesting, though, mostly because we’re talking about tiers and not comparing across eras. I think it depends how far down the road we’re talking. Mookie Betts is clearly the second best player in baseball, so if he’s on the table he’s the answer and we can wrap it up now.
But if we’re looking at this younger generation, say under 25, then it’s a different discussion. There are three “right” answers to choose from in Tatís, Juan Soto, and Ronald Acuña Jr. Personally, if I’m starting a team I go Acuña there. I think he has the defense that Soto lacks and the track record that Tatís lacks. That said, you can’t really go wrong with any of these guys. It’s an exciting time.
Is Tatís the most exciting?
It doesn’t really get much more subjective than this! Everyone has a different definition of exciting, and for me Tatís fits my description pretty much to a tee. I don’t think I’d put him above Mookie Betts, but he’s not far off. For me, Betts is number one because he’s both an athletic marvel and also maybe the smartest baserunner I’ve ever seen. That combination leads to just a handful of mind-blowing moments every season. But again, Tatís is in that conversation as well. But again, exciting can mean a whole lot of different things.
Should this be copied?
If this is asking if the Red Sox had Tatís, would I want them to sign him to this deal? The answer is an emphatic yes. I don’t have to think for more than two seconds, for all of the reasons above. Yeah there’s some risk, but I’m willing to take that risk to avoid having to possibly lose him in a half-decade. If the question is do I want the Red Sox to sign one of their players to this kind of deal? I love Rafael Devers but I’m not sure he’s a 14-year kind of player. He’s the only one who’d even be in consideration for something like this at this point.
For what it’s worth, 66% of Red Sox fans specifically answered yes on this one. Only six fan bases had a higher rate of yes answers on that one.