The Journal Gazette
Saturday, February 20, 2021 1:00 am

Ex-TinCap fulfills his Padre potential

Fernando Tatis Jr. now has 340 million reasons to be happy. He also has a long time to think about all that happiness.

The 22-year-old former TinCap and current San Diego Padres star agreed this week to a $340 million, 14-year contract that will keep him in southern California until he's 35. Contracts extending more than a decade are a rarity in professional sports, and this deal is the longest in Major League Baseball history.

The New York Yankees' often-injured slugger Giancarlo Stanton signed a 13-year, $325 million agreement with his team at the time, the Miami Marlins, in 2015.

“Fourteen years is ... a really long time,” Bradford Doolittle, a writer for ESPN, wrote in a column published on the network's website Wednesday. “By the end of this deal, teams will be flying from their hotels – which will be built in the sky like Lando's city in 'The Empire Strikes Back' – to the ballpark in hovercraft. Everyone will have a robot maid named Rosie with roller skate feet.”

Maybe. But even if all those changes occur, the Padres are hoping their shortstop remains the same.

Tatis has played stellar defense in his short pro career, and he boasts a .301 batting average and .956 OPS – on-base-plus slugging – since the start of the 2019 season. He batted .281 with a .910 OPS as an 18-year-old with Fort Wayne in 2017.

“The Padres see what everyone sees, which is that Tatis is the full package – and not just because of what he does on the field,” Doolittle wrote. “He is a great hitter whose peak is still well in the future.”

TinCaps fans, who learned this week the new season begins May 4, can rightfully feel pride in his days here. They also can look forward to warm days and the joy of watching more standout players honing their skills at Parkview Field.

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