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Tatis Jr. on deal: ‘I would like the statue on one group’

SAN DIEGO — In discussing choices for a long-term cope with electrifying younger shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., the San Diego Padres introduced up the idea of “a statue contract.”

As in, if the child is pretty much as good as Corridor of Famers Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman had been, possibly in 15 or 20 years there might be a statue of “El Niño” alongside these Padres greats in a grassy space simply past Petco Park.

The choices had been year-to-year, a multiyear deal that purchased out a 12 months or two of Tatis’ free company or a contract wherein Tatis was with the Padres for seemingly the remainder of his profession.

“In typical Tati fashion, his only real comment was, ‘Why not my whole career?'” normal supervisor A.J. Preller mentioned Monday in saying the 2 sides had finalized Tatis’ $340 million, 14-year contract, the longest in baseball historical past.

“He wanted to be one of those very unique players that plays his career in one spot,” Preller mentioned. “He loves the franchise, he loves the city, he loves his teammates and he talked a lot about really wanting to get on the path of that statue contract.”

Mentioned Tatis: “I want the statue on one team. I want to be able to stay on one team and build my legacy over here in San Diego.”

If Tatis and the Padres are appropriate, the large choice might be which model of “El Niño” the statue exhibits: the one making slick performs at shortstop, the one with a “Matrix”-type transfer to keep away from being tagged out at first base or the one with the epic bat flip after homering for the second time in a playoff recreation?

“I’m going to put those numbers first and then we can discuss it,” Tatis mentioned with fun throughout a videoconference from spring coaching in Peoria, Arizona. “I don’t know. Maybe we can have three statues in different ways. We will see what happens.”

Tatis, 22, had been eligible for wage arbitration after this season and at no cost company after the 2024 season.

A son of former huge league infielder Fernando Tatis, he has performed in solely 143 video games throughout two seasons, together with the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but has rapidly turn out to be one of many faces of baseball.

He stands out due to his aptitude, simple smile, blond dreadlocks flowing from underneath his cap and dance strikes within the dugout after hitting house runs.

Most significantly to the Padres, Tatis has made baseball enjoyable once more in San Diego after years of futility. He helped San Diego finish a 13-year playoff drought in 2020 and win a wild-card sequence in opposition to the St. Louis Cardinals earlier than the Padres had been swept by the rival Los Angeles Dodgers within the NL Division Sequence.

“I’m just the same kid on the field. Nothing’s going to change,” he mentioned. “I’m playing the game I love. And I feel when you do the things with passion and with love, I feel like it’s going to reward you. And I feel like when people ask me how I’m going to play this game, I’m just going to be the same kid every single time.”

Tatis has dared to problem old-school norms. After hitting his second house run in an 11-9 win in Recreation 2 of the wild-card sequence in opposition to the Cardinals, he unleashed an emphatic bat flip. A photograph of Tatis in that second is on the duvet of the online game “MLB The Show 21.”

In August, Tatis precipitated a stir when he hit a grand slam on a 3-0 rely with the Padres main the Texas Rangers by seven runs. The furor died down, and the Padres grew to become the primary group in MLB historical past to hit grand slams in 4 straight video games and 5 in six video games, resulting in the nickname “Slam Diego.”

“He has a tremendous respect for the game of baseball. A lot was made last year, young players changing the game of baseball,” Preller mentioned. “What results in success, it doesn’t really change from era to era. Some of the styles change, maybe some of the skills change at times, but he respects greatness, he respects the people that have come before him. A lot of that credit goes to his family.”

Tatis has hit .301 with 39 house runs, 98 RBIs and 27 stolen bases in 143 video games.

San Diego promoted Tatis to the majors on Opening Day of 2019, forgoing the possibility to delay his free company by ready a number of weeks — a actuality of the sport skilled by different younger stars like Kris Bryant with the Chicago Cubs and Bryce Harper with the Washington Nationals.

The size of Tatis’ contract exceeds the $325 million, 13-year settlement in November 2014 between Miami and Giancarlo Stanton, who was traded to the New York Yankees in December 2017, and the $330 million, 13-year contract forward of the 2019 season between Harper and Philadelphia.

Baseball’s greatest deal by {dollars} stays Mike Trout’s $426.5 million, 12-year contract signed with the Angels in March 2019. Tatis’ deal is the third largest, additionally trailing Mookie Betts’ $365 million, 12-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers that begins this season.

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