Padres general manager A.J. Preller spoke with reporters (including MLB.com’s Maria Guardado and The Athletic’s Dennis Lin) Monday about a variety of topics related to the team’s offseason business, including a continued search for pitching. However, an in-house star was also discussed, as Preller said that working out a multi-year extension for Fernando Tatis Jr. is “a priority” for the organization.
“I think his situation is a priority and I think we’re in a position to try to line up on a deal,” Preller said. “I think we’ll see what happens here over the course of the rest of the offseason, to see if we can do that.”
Tatis has quickly become one of baseball’s biggest young talents over his two MLB seasons, hitting .301/.374/.582 with 39 homers over 629 career plate appearances. He doesn’t even turn 22 years old until January, putting him on pace to receive a potential record-setting free agent contract if he reaches the open market following his age-25 season. Tatis’ price tag will already begin to rise significantly next offseason, as he will reach the first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
The Padres therefore have lots of incentive to ink Tatis to a long-term deal, and some common ground could be reached given that Tatis has also reportedly expressed interest in an extension. Locking in a life-changing fortune so early in his career would naturally have appeal to Tatis, and because he is so young, he has plenty of time to land at least one more major deal later in his career. Signing even a seven-year extension now would allow Tatis to still reach free agency before his age-29 season.
With both the COVID-19 pandemic and potential labor strife next winter hanging over the sport, Tatis could also prefer to get some guaranteed financial security sooner rather than later. On the flip side, Lin wonders if Tatis and his representatives would perhaps prefer to wait another year before seriously diving into extension talks, since by then there will be more clarity about both the state of public health and how baseball’s financial structure will be altered by a new collective bargaining agreement.
Since most extension negotiations usually don’t take place until later in the offseason, Preller’s more immediate attention will be focused on adding new pieces to the roster. The GM said the club is continuing to explore pitching options, and has “looked at it both ways,” in terms of adding either front-of-the-rotation ace type or perhaps more of a mid-rotation type.
“I think it’s just kind of going to depend on the individual pitcher that’s involved, and then obviously, what potentially we’d have to do from a money standpoint or from a trade standpoint,” Preller said. “Weighing that in versus what we see the impactability of our own talent and when that will happen.”
Dinelson Lamet’s status will also surely factor into San Diego’s plans, as the right-hander missed the end of the season (and the playoffs) due to biceps tightness, and was undergoing platelet-rich plasma therapy on his throwing elbow. While Preller noted that the Padres won’t fully know how ready Lamet is until Spring Training, “in terms of the tests that he’s passing right now — all his workouts, picking up a baseball, beginning his throwing program to start the offseason — he’s reporting that he’s in a very similar spot to where he was last year, which is a good place,” Preller said.
Good for Tatis, that’s awesome.
Great talent. Signing now for a number of years could be great for player, team and fans alike.
Preller left with egg on face again after not getting the extra year on Tatis back in March 2019.
I disagree. Preller showed he cared about trying to win first. Can’t make that call and have him on the team from the outset, and then have regret not to have the additional year of control.
@Dave W. and how did “trying to win first” work out for them in 2019? They missed the playoffs by a mile. And their wins above expected based on fWAR actually went down from where it was in 2018 so you can’t even make the argument that calling Tatis up early helped with their intangibles. Sounds like it made them WORSE.
They were there until tatis got hurt. This is why he is the mvp and was robbed this year
@lowtalker1 why did the team’s wins above expected go down from 2018 to 2019 if calling Tatis up early improved the mindset and outlook of the team?
@RemoveWins if you are holding out for something tangible in exchange for having Tatis on the roster to start 2019 you are wasting your time.
The point is they weren’t winning Jack in 2019. But in 2026, maybe they’d like to have Tatis for one more year
Preller should have known they weren’t winning in 2019 and 2 weeks of Tatis wasn’t worth the year. If we’re talking business..
I agree with Dave W.. Integrity and putting your best team on the field should prevail over trying to game the system to gain an extra year of below fair market control.
Yep. Pirates do this garbage all the time.
Hurt the team and players development grinding for that extra year
@Freddy H you got any tangible evidence that grinding for the extra year hurts the team and player’s development?
There can’t be any “tangible evidence,” because it’s far too subjective a call. A lot of guys have destroyed the minors, and then fell flat on their face when they got called up.
@SDHotDawg people always say that messing with a guys service time will hurt his development or hurt team chemistry then when asked to provide proof they go into hiding.
@Dave … Uh, you remember 2019, right? That team wasn’t built to win anything.
Hardly. Just shows the Padres aren’t into that crap. Do what’s best for the team AND player. If they are ready, they are ready. No games.
@dvmin98 gonna take some serious spin doctoring to explain how swatting a free year of control to the ground on an elite player is what’s best for the team.
Hopefully Tatis doesn’t take the extension and reaches free agency as early as he can teaching these simpletons a valuable lesson. The mlbpa needs to stick their noses in this too. Put pressure on his agent and tell him not to sign the extension. Gotta get Tatis to free agency.
@iverbure If MLBPA does this, then they are contradicting themselves and supporting the idea that teams should continue to manipulate service time. You’re basically saying, “Let’s teach the Padres a lesson by making sure Tatis walks, as they should not call up an MLB-ready prospect when they feel he is ready.”
@bambat it is in the MLBPA’s best interest to ensure that Tatis makes as much money as possible. As it is with any player.
But Tatis is making more money because manipulating the service time would mean the padres would’ve kept him down (making less at that time) and he would not hit arbitration or potentially free agency as early as he will which also gets him paid sooner.
There’s still risk here too as we don’t know how the upcoming seasons will be impacted in revenue and Tatis has not been the healthiest player either, so signing an extension may be in his best interest to get paid.
He is making the same now as he would have if the Padres had gotten the extra year and that will remain the case for 4 more years. The only difference is he becomes a FA after 2024 rather than being arb eligible a fourth time.
And if they were going to give up the extra year of Arb then at least get going on the extension. As it is I think the kid would be crazy to extend now. One more season until Arb raises, then a 300m+ payday at age 25, yes please.
@99socalfrc exactly! If a certain move only makes sense if you extend the player, extend him before you make the move. Not after.
You don’t think Tatis appreciates that they didn’t play games with his service time? I’m not even arguing whether what they did was good or bad, but if you don’t think Tatis will keep in mind during contract negotiations that he’s already been treated better than most young players in the same situation, you’re nuts.
It’s even possible that it’s a big part of the reason he’s open to signing an early extension. Don’t forget that he’s the son of a major leaguer who made millions, so it’s not like he has a dire need to do it in the first place.
@CalcetinesBlancos there is no evidence that players reward teams for not playing service time games or vice versa. Unless Tatis publicly says that that’s why he signed an extension, or that he would have held out for more money if the Padres had done that, it was not a smart move.
Calce, of course Tatis appreciates it. But that’s not Preller’s job. He made a 30M+ dollar mistake
Maybe it helps with good will in the future. But he punted an age 26 season before the guy took an MLB at bat… nice for business relations but not actually smart business…
Will you get over it already? Fernando Tatis Jr will not reach free agency with the Padres after 2024. He will be either extended or traded by then.
@justme123 you don’t know that Tatis will be either extended or traded! If this rebuild works out as hoped, the Padres are contending for division titles year-in and year-out and they don’t have a replacement who is at least close to as good as Tatis already in-house and ready to go, then trading Tatis simply won’t be an option, even if he is about to be a free agent.
Oh, and if Tatis does get traded at some later date, the Padres would have been able to get more in trade for him if the acquiring team got him for 2025. So Preller screwed the pooch there too.
And we have a winner! The stupidest comment on this thread.
Care to elaborate?
As a White Sox fan, I cringe every time I see or hear about Tatis. At least the White Sox have his younger brother. Hope they’re smart enough to keep him.
We’ll give you Wil Myers for him!
The White Sox have his younger brother, for now.
Why? It’s not like SS is a black hole for the Sox; actually Anderson is really good, signed for peanuts, lights a fire under everyones ass on a daily basis, and seems to get better every year. This trade happened a long time ago, and although it’s done and in the past, Hahn has spoken about learning lessons from those types of trades, and it certainly shows in their recent dealings.
Time will tell, they’re different people. Chris Gwynn had a nice run in the big leagues, but he was sure no Tony Gwynn.
I served with Tony Gwynn. I knew Tony Gwynn. Tony Gwynn was a friend of mine. Chris, you’re no Tony Gwynn.
What would SDP need in return for a guy like Mejia? I would love for my Tigs to go after him, or Blake Hunt.
Probably not much on Mejia. They have other options and Mejia thus far in his career has been a below average fielder (pitch framing and runners thrown out, his blocking is okay though) and below average hitter.
San Diego got taken in the Mejia trade again.
@larry48 it’s not like Hand or Cimber are still in Cleveland
Mejia is a negative war catcher. Mejia can’t hit or catch which is bad for a catcher. He is worse than Hedge was which is pretty bad.
To be fair, I don’t think his 2019 was all that bad. Then again, I’m a Tiger’s fan who has been exposed to bad catching for awhile now.. I just like the idea of “buying low” on a recently very highly rated player. Would a guy like Jose Cisnero or Daniel Norris get it done?
No dog in this fight, but Mejia was known as an elite hitter as a top prospect. Didn’t he have a 50 some game hitting streak in AAA? Yea, a guy who can do that SURELY can’t hit. Brother.
He is also only 24 years old. He has 334 careeer MLB at bats. Glad you were able to come to such definitive conclusions with such a small sample size. Keibert Ruiz hit a homer in his first at bat, he’s probably a Hall of Famer.
I don’t know where this young player is going, he may in fact be a bust, but I think it’s absurd to just assume things after such limited chances.
He is actually 25 and is a career .225 hitter coming off a 3-for-39 season
I do think that Francisco Mejia will hit in the majors given consistent PA’s. I am not sure that will happen in San Diego. Either way, he is not a good defensive catcher.
vtadave: Yeah, 1st impressions are so meaningful in a MLB career. Look at how Tom Glavine AND Greg Maddux started their careers. Didn’t Kevin Maas have a better 1st impression than Mike Trout?
Oooo 39 at bat season. Really goes against his point “you’re writing him off too soon”
Starting pitching prospect close to the majors for Mejia.
Lol you’re getting a AA wildcard if you’re lucky for Mejia. Maybe someone just DFA’d
He’s not a bust yet. but his value is not that good.
Someone like Burrows or Faedo maybe.
I could certainly see them trading Burrows. Idk, about anyone like Faedo, who has yet to see ML though.
A bat boy and a PTBNL?
His value is obviously higher than a sack of balls. His receiving of the ball has improved tremendously. His arm is good, nothing tonworry about there. He has hidden value as a LF. His bat/eye leaves a lot to be desired but the kid seems to be improving all the time barring the truncated 2020 season. He looked more hurt (lower back) than what he was leading on to. I love Mejia in a 50/50 split role with Nola this year. Nola has some value as a Utility guy as well, clearing more starts for Mejia. His value is what it is: a young, improving and impressive switch-hitting catcher with promise. If moved, I’d like to see an arm come back. Lineup is virtually set.
Swore the end of this headline said Lament
It might as well in his case….
Padres still have to catch up to the dodgers Braves and Mets in the NL. But they have a bright future
dought it Padres will suck in 2021, I will be very surprised if Lamet doesn’t have Tommy John’s surgery and will now miss 3 years (2020,2021, and 2022).
Lamet played in 2020. He missed the last couple games and the playoffs.
He is in a dangerous spot for sure. Hopefully he stays healthy in 2021.
Larry48 you are correct won’t be surprised when lamet has Tommy John. This was the same thing that richards did before he ended up having tj. If that’s the case padres are done.
Metsfan22. The Padres had a better record than Braves and Mets last year. Anything can happen in the playoffs.
One of those teams dont belong, at least not yet, and it is pretty clear which team that is…
@MetsFan22- you guys have signed Springer & Bauer yet? You have to catch up with the Braves & the Padres lst, before you can even be on the same page as the Dodgers. Smh
Lol, catch up to the Mets
Guys I was joking lol. I could see the Padres being better than the Mets and I could see the opposite too. They both aren’t the dodgers yet. But let’s see anything could happen
Tatis is without a doubt a generational star and his payday will be very lucrative as it should be. He is one of the most entertaining players to watch. Oh, and by the way, he is pretty darn good at all facets of the game.
i feel Lamet’s speedrunning Tommy John Surgeries
Dought it Padres will suck in 2021, I will be very surprised if Lamet doesn’t have Tommy John’s surgery and will now miss 3 years (2020,2021, and 2022).
It seems that every time I hear of a pitcher trying PRP injections they inevitably end up having TJ and the only thing the injections do is delay the whole process by 6-9 months. I’d bet he heads to spring training and after a few tentative appearances he exits with forearm tightness and then he’s off for TJ and misses all of ’21 and most of ’22.
Does Preller mean that he’s in a similar spot as he was, at this time, last year? I’ll assume yes due to him saying it’s a good place
Padres are a joke and have always been one! No one cares, because whatever they do always turns to !
Sounds like Lamet is well on his way to a second TJ surgery, they should have gotten the 2 for 1 discount at the surgeon’s office with Clevinger.
Padres problem is they invested lots of time and $$$ into a farm system but they cannot develop talent. Only when they started trading their prospects for those developed elsewhere did they put together a winning season. Well that and spending team record $$$ on Myers, then Hosmer then Machado.
You’re going on year 8 with Preller, the net gain is Tatis, and not much else.
Not a Padres fan, but from the outside looking in, I’d say he seems to have built a good team on the field and a strong farm system. That’s something.
They traded for most of there on field talent, or signed as a free agent using prospect capital. So far have yet to show they can develop players consistently and effectively. They have a solid base, but need much more pitching both on backend pen and rotation to compete with dodgers and Braves.
“…or signed as a free agent using prospect capital.” Huh?
@99socalfrc … You pretty much nailed it. But Preller still has his cult following.
Have to get Tatis signed but Preller will get it done. SD has a bright future.
Will he get it done though? It’s not like A. J. Preller has had much luck with extending his key players in the past.
Who are you referring to as AJ not having luck extending? There haven’t been many players worth extending in his time as GM and he seems to have extended every player he wanted to such as Hand, Myers, and maybe Stammen. You could always argue if he should’ve extended those players but that doesn’t show any bad luck in extensions. Tatis appears to be the first player worth extending.
@bambat He wanted to extend Justin Upton, Freddy Galvis, Jhoulys Chacin, Craig Stammen and Jurickson Profar. Didn’t work.
Hand clearly wasn’t a key player if they traded him less than a year after he signed that extension. And throwing more than twice as much money at Myers as he was realistically worth doesn’t prove anything. Especially when A. J. was working overtime to trade him last offseason but no one was interested.
He did extend/re-sign Stammen twice. I don’t think AJ wanted to extend any of those other guys at the price they wanted – that’s more of a business decision, Just because Hand was traded doesn’t mean he wasn’t a key player. If Hand is not extended, then he wouldn’t be worth the #1 Cleveland prospect in a trade.
Sure, Myers is an overpay now but if he repeats his 2016 value a few times, the deal wouldn’t look so bad. That risk is with every player. They can sign Tatis to a 7 year extension and he could end up playing 80 games a season due to injuries or turning into Elvis Andrus. Again, Tatis is the first player the team has had that is worth extending on an extensive deal. There’s no AJ history to compare that to.
He never extended Stammen. Both times he signed him as a free agent. And he didn’t do it without offering Stammen more $ than anyone else.
There were multiple articles back then about how the Padres wanted to extend the guys I mentioned. And that that was part of the reason A. J. traded for them or refused to trade them at the deadline before they were free agents. He failed every single time.
If Hand were seen as a key part of the future, he would not have been traded at all. Especially not for just one prospect and especially not after he said that part of the reason for signing that extension was because he wanted to stay in San Diego. Maybe that’s why A. J. has a hard time extending key players. Because he always trades them away afterwards (or makes it clear that he would if anyone would actually take them).
Myers isn’t a good example because they paid him more than double what he was worth. The whole point of extending a player is to get him on the cheap. If A. J. just makes Tatis a Godfather offer anyway, then it negates any benefit calling him up early might have had. Like, people like to say that Kris Bryant is absolutely 100% leaving Chicago as soon as he can because of them manipulating his service time back in 2015 but if the Cubs were to turn around and offer him, say, $200m tomorrow, he’s signing an extension, regardless of who said or did what to whom.
So in the end, all of the examples you gave prove my point.
Unless there’s been a recent change, Tatis is represented by Dan Lozano and his agency MVP Sports Group. They’re not a large firm like CAA or Boras Corporation, but they have a focused stable of baseball clients. Well-compensated clients. Through the years, Lozano has negotiated some of the biggest deals in the game at the time. Mike Piazza’s deal with the Mets. Pujols with the Angels. Votto with the Reds. And, yes, Machado with the Padres. I mention who represents Tatis because it indicates what guidance he’s receiving. The very selection of an agent also indicates what the player is thinking. Boras? He’s going to market. MVP? Their history shows no set pattern. Some players never hit free agency, others do. He is good however at securing some of the biggest deals in the game’s history. As Tatis doesn’t have leverage at this moment, I could see a deal buying out a couple years of free agency, but Lozano will guide Tatis toward free agency while he’s no older than 28. The Padres will try and buy out his entire 20s, if not a year or two more. Lozano likely won’t go for that unless it’s close to market rate. They’ll be no Acuna, team-friendly deal here that’s under market and buys out his entire 20s.
If there will be no Acuna-esque deal then what was the point of swatting his age 26 season to the ground?
That was a Padres decision. It doesn’t mean Tatis then gives back four years of free agency at significantly below-market rates. It could mean however there are positive feelings on both sides negotiating a deal. I’m not saying they won’t be able to buy out a couple of years. Just not as team friendly or as long as Acuna.
If it costs them more than Acuña after the Braves messed with Acuña’s service time and after Acuña already had a Rookie of the Year title under his belt and when Tatis has a not-insignificant injury history that will REALLY make Preller look bad.
I’m not so sure. Tatis seems to get injured a lot, and he might be into signing an extension so that he doesn’t have to worry about every injury possibly killing his long-term financial outlook.
His father says he loves being a Padre and would like to finish his career in SD. He also said it would take a deal like what Bregman signed. 6/100. Buys out 2 FA seasons and Tatis Jr is a FA at 28.
He’s taking the most $ and best deal he can get
If true then that deal is about fair for Tatis at this point. I still won’t be on board with calling him up early though unless he publicly says that he wouldn’t have signed any extension or would have held out for more $ if they manipulated his service time.
I agree with @removewins. That extra year of control for a guy like Tatis was a mistake. He was not the missing World Series piece. Every year of control for a elite prospect is highly important.
It was horrendous move by Preller bringing Tatis up early and it backfired like most of his moves
I will not stop laughing if the Padres give Tatis 200M based on 600 at bats
Remember how awesome Wil Myers was 600 at bats into his career?
Not even remotely comparable.
The real problem with doing that is that they will have given Tatis double what Acuña got even after putting him on the major league roster to start the 2019 season which according to a bunch of commenters on this site and other sites would make it easier to extend him (note: the Braves did not have Acuña on the roster to start the 2018 season). So it would be a major indictment of Preller’s inability to sign key players on his terms.
Why is it not comparable? They are/were both young guys who FEAST on fastballs in their first year or two. Then Myers started getting only breaking balls, and he’s a shell on his rookie card. He couldn’t adjust
I’ll say this about any player of any team. Yes it’s great to see young guys come up and produce. But I can’t evaluate their long term potential until I see them react to the leagues first adjustment. Tatis slumped badly in Sept and didn’t play a full year in season 1.
We have no idea how he’ll really do over 162. We also do not know how he’ll do when he stops getting fastballs to hit in most at bats
Preller doesn’t write checks and it seems like his asking Daddy for $ days are over
Stop commenting bingo on everything
Tatis hasn’t played a full season and cratered in September