Congratulations are certainly in order for Fernando Tatis Jr., the only man in baseball history to be guaranteed $340 million before he’s even played 100 games in a season.
All hail the San Diego Padres, who placed a moderate bet to retain one of the game’s most talented players well into the 2030s. Good morning to their fans, who can gamble a slightly smaller sum - $135 – to purchase the jersey of their young superstar knowing it will remain relevant a bit longer than that Justin Upton or Craig Kimbrel gear they might have purchased back in 2015.
Indeed, it’s a generally good day for baseball, a sport that prefers its stars strongly identified to a franchise, the better to render teams beyond New York and Los Angeles recognizable.
Tatis’ 14-year contract also surfaced many greater truths and myths about the game, the deal’s terms startling but its overall impact a relative blip in an $11 billion industry.
Let’s explore some of those, shall we?
The small-market myth
While it was assumed new Mets owner and notorious hedge-fund manager Steve Cohen would upset the unstated world order of baseball economics this winter, it was new Padres control man Peter Seidler who continued Ron Fowler’s work of doing business in the Gaslamp Quarter as if it were George Steinbrenner’s Bronx.