Image Courtesy of CBS Sports
By Chris Carey
Fourteen years from now, Fernando Tatís Jr. will cash in a check for $36,000,000 in his 35th year. If the San Diego Padres have their way, Tatís Jr. will be cashing in that check at the end of a long and illustrious career in “America’s Finest City.”
Fernando Tatís Jr. is thought by many to be the kind of youthful change that baseball needs to regain national interest in the game in the coming years. He has broken long-held unspoken rules on the field, and he brings a new, fun energy to the diamond and off of it.
He came to prominence after a game against the Texas Rangers in the shortened 2020 season where he blatantly disregarded the Padres’ sizeable lead in the final innings and on a 3-0 count let loose with a grand slam. Older baseball pundits and fans generally saw this as a disrespectful breach of the unspoken rule that a batter should not swing on a 3-0 count, and that a seven-run lead is sufficient to hold off on a home-run ball.
This sort of healthy defiance of unspoken rules made Tatís Jr., whose father was also a major league baseballer, a momentary media phenomenon. Beyond the color commentary surrounding his career, he is widely considered to be one of the more promising up-and-coming players in The Show.
Earlier this month, the Padres signed Tatis Jr. for the next fourteen years, a contract worth $360,000,000. Tatís Jr. has made it clear that his intention is to “be able to stay on one team and build [his] legacy … in San Diego.”
As a 22-year-old, Tatís Jr. can expect a significant flow of income well into his 30s, securing his financial future, as well as his impact on the game in his adopted hometown of San Diego. His expressive play and well-known persona will certainly add to his prowess as a professional baseball player.
Many Catholic University students are at or nearing the same age as Tatís Jr. This leads to the question of whether or not an individual that is barely legally allowed to drink alcohol should be bringing home such exorbitant amounts of cash.
In some sense, if the market was not available, then there would be no demand for such contracts for players. Time and again, professional athletes succeed in guaranteeing such contracts. Nevertheless, it is hard to imagine classmates having the wherewithal to manage $360,000,000 today, or even five years down the road.
Regardless, it is an incredible feat on behalf of Tatís Jr. in securing such a contract, the longest baseball contract in history. His legacy will be just as much his mark on the game as a franchise athlete, as well as his eventual role as the incredible offensive shortstop that the Padres and baseball fans alike hope him to be.