That deal became prominent again on Wednesday, because it’s inevitable to compare it to what the Washington Nationals offered to Juan Soto before the lockout.
The Nats put a 13-year, $350 million extension on the table for the 2021 MVP candidate, but he rejected it.
Washington #Nats star Juan Soto was offered a 13-year, $350 million contract extension that he turned down before the lockout, per @Enrique_Rojas1. Fernando Tatis Jr.received a 14-year, $340 million extension last spring from the #Padres
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 16, 2022
That made people think: did the Padres get a bargain with Tatis?
The answer is yes.
However, it’s not really comparable with the Soto offer for a variety of reasons.
Soto And Tatis’ Contract Offers Are Not Directly Comparable
Soto is more proven than Tatis at the moment of getting their respective offers: the Padres approached Tatis after his second MLB season, and Soto is rejecting the Nats’ advance after four solid seasons of play in the majors.
Additionally, the Padres had more leverage with Tatis because they “bought” four seasons of team control, one of which was for the league minimum.
They could have waited a year, for example, and paid Tatis near the minimum in 2021.
But they will probably enjoy seasons from Tatis in which he performs like a top-five player at “just” $24.28 million per year on average.
That makes the deal a win-win: Tatis got financial security for life, and the Padres will enjoy one of the best players in MLB for a below-market average annual value (AAV).
The Nationals, on the other hand, don’t have the luxury of paying Soto near the minimum anymore: he is slated to make $16.2 million in 2022 via arbitration, and that number will go up in a hurry in 2023 and 2024 if he is not extended.
The Padres got a bargain with Tatis (who hit 42 homers and stole 25 bases in just 130 games last season), but it’s not the same situation in which Soto currently is in.