Fernando Tatis Jr.'s extension means that we've now seen the four richest contracts in MLB history signed in the past three off seasons.
Tatis' extension is worth $340 million over the next 14 years, and is the third richest contract in league history. Mike Trout still owns the biggest MLB contract at $426.5 million signed in 2019. Mookie Betts owns the second richest contract in league history that will earn him $365 million that he inked with the Dodgers in 2020.
Tatis's $340M extension is the 3rd-largest contract ever handed out in MLB history. 💰 Mike Trout - $426.5M 💰 Mooki… https://t.co/RmmtLHgzYq— ESPN (@ESPN)1613613652.0
Tatis is only 22 years old however and isn't coming with a long track record of success in the league so there is some inherent risk in this move by the Padres organization. To compare, Trout and Betts were both 27 when they signed their mega-deals. However, Tatis has burst onto the MLB scene since his debut and has been a driving force behind the Padres becoming must-watch TV.
The young squad earned the moniker Slam Diego as the team increased their team home run ranking from 20th in 2019 (Tatis' rookie season) to 4th in 2020. Tatis only played in 84 games during his rookie season due to a lower back injury that forced the team to shut him down for the year. He still managed to finish third in NL Rookie of the Year voting finishing with a .317 batting average, 22 home runs, and 53 runs batted in.
To follow up on his stellar rookie performance Tatis continued to progress in his second MLB campaign in the truncated 2020 season. In the 60 game season Tatis slashed his way to a .277 batting average with 17 homers, 45 RBI, 50 runs scored and 11 steals and he finished fourth in NL MVP voting trailing only Mookie Betts, his teammate Manny Machado, and the eventual winner of the award Freddie Freeman.
Pretty good company to keep.
The Padres made it to the playoffs last year for the first time in 14 seasons. Much of that was due to the explosive offense led by Machado and Tatis (now both with $300 million contracts). Tatis made the most of his playoff experience as he hit .318, smashed two homers, drove in five runs, and scored five runs himself in San Diego's matchups against the Cardinals and Dodgers in the 2020 postseason.
San Diego fell just short of a World Series appearance last year, and the organization must feel like they are within striking distance of bringing a championship to Pacific Beach as they've been very active this offseason bringing in two all star caliber arms in Blake Snell and Yu Darvish. The Padres had spent the better part of a decade and a half floating up and down the standings in the NL West which allowed them to acquire a lot of high level talent in their farm system through the draft. The team in turn used a lot of those assets in acquiring Snell and Darvish in trades, but the results in San Diego owning one of the best looking starting rotations in baseball in 2021, and an even better one in 2022.
Darvish, who was once thought to be washed up, revitalized his career in Chicago with the Cubs and he finished second in NL Cy Young award voting last season. Darvish has returned to his dominant form we saw from him early on in his career with the Texas Rangers. Snell, a Cy Young winner himself in 2018, has to be excited to join a team with the kind of offense the Padres will be toting out there as his 3.24 career ERA should be good enough to get him close to that 21 win mark he had during his Cy Young year.
Padres have the best pitching staff in the league by 10% over 2nd place. https://t.co/jfhnnSxdgk— peter thomas (@peter thomas)1613500601.0
They will be joined by Mike Clevinger in 2022 when he returns from Tommy John surgery which must make the team's old ace, Dinelson Lamet, pretty happy considering the amount of pressure that is taken off his shoulders with all the help hitting the team's rotation. It doesn't appear that the Padres have many weaknesses heading into this season. One knock on them was they didn't have a clear closer at the end of their bullpen, but the recent signing of veteran reliever, Mark Melancon, should put those questions to bed.
We're all excited to see the next installment of the Slam Diego series, but now that the left side of their infield is worth nearly three quarters of a billion dollars, there are going to be some hefty expectations for this young team to live up to. If you didn't have a reason to watch Tatis and the Padres this season, now you have 340 million of them.
Earlier this week we released the first half of our 2021 power rankings for the upcoming MLB season.
Now that we know who ranks 30-16, we can take a look at the rest of the 15 teams, most of whom will be vying for playoff positions and dreaming about a World Series championship. It's been a wild offseason so far as we've seen a handful of superstar players finding new homes, and top contenders have gotten even better as teams attempt to separate themselves from the rest of the competition.
The Padres, Mets, and Cardinals all made attempts to improve their rosters to catch up with the Dodgers, but the defending champs made a splashy move themselves by signing one of the biggest fish in the free agent pond this winter by acquiring starting pitcher Trevor Bauer who they lured away from the Cincinnati Reds.
Position players, you’re up! https://t.co/N9LADklt0r— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Los Angeles Dodgers)1614015548.0
2021 may be a season that depicts the haves and the have-not's more than any other in recent history. Thus far, we've seen the top teams spending to get better, and the bottom dwellers shedding whatever talent they have left to build for the future. Let's take a look at the teams that have a good shot to win this season.
15. Los Angeles Angels
2020: Finished 4th in AL West (26-34)
This is a perfect spot for the Angels dead center in the middle of the rankings. The Angels have had Mike Trout for his entire illustrious career, and the entire duration of it has been an utter and complete waste. Trout is undoubtedly one of the most individually talented players the league has seen in 100 years, but whether it's his mentality, leadership skills, or an incapable organization around him, it hasn't resulted in any tangible success.
High, middle, or low, @MikeTrout can hit everything. https://t.co/NdBVWjSJWW— MLB (@MLB)1613781559.0
The team added some arms to help with their effort to leap over the A's and/or Astros in the standings this year, but offensively they only get Shohei Ohtani back, maybe? The fact that Trout has been able to go through most of his career without being criticized for his inability to help his team to the postseason baffles me. Don't forget that Trout had the opportunity to leave the Angels and test free agency to find himself in a better situation to win, but he chose to stay in California collecting a half billion dollar check while toiling in Middlesville USA with the Angels.
The 2021 MLB season is coming sooner than you'd think, judging by the temperatures we're seeing across the country.
As spring training is right around the corner, FindBet is releasing their initial power rankings for the 2021 season. These rankings will be updated throughout the season; but based on what teams have done since the end of last year, here are where we see all 30 teams standing going into this new campaign.
Whether it all falls down like Kim and Kanye's marriage or you found your only one, scouring through the waiver wire is bound to leave you paranoid.
But if you want to be stronger and have more power in your fantasy leagues, take four, five seconds (or more) to read this column so you can find free-agent gems like a gold digger or drop a player that you don't like.
Here are some amazing and not so amazing players from the last week to help your team become champions.