Padres general manager A.J. Preller acknowledged that there's "interest on both sides" regarding a contract extension for superstar shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., though neither side has taken the initial steps to begin negotiations.
Those negotiations could begin soon, Preller indicated during his end-of-season Zoom call with reporters on Wednesday.
"It was just such a short season and such a sprint to the finish line that I don't think there was a lot in the middle of all of that for trying to put a contract negotiation in there," Preller said. "We'll start to look more seriously at that here this offseason, and it sounds like there's interest on both sides, so we'll see where that goes."
Tatis has one more season before he begins salary arbitration and has four years of team control remaining before he can become a free agent following the 2024 season, when he would be only 25.
Considering the value of a young shortstop with generational talent and flair, any extension for Tatis would presumably be a lucrative one. He batted .277/.366/.571 with 17 homers and 11 steals this season and should finish near the top of the National League MVP Award race.
"With Tatis, I think everybody's been up front that the job is to get talented players and individuals that fans love to see play that lead to a winning situation," Preller said. "Then, you want to keep those guys in the city. He's expressed interest. I know we'll go down that path."
The Padres structured an entire rebuild with Tatis at the center of it, and they broke out in 2020, reaching the postseason for the first time in 14 years. With one of baseball’s youngest rosters, the organization oozes optimism for ’21 and beyond.
Tatis has expressed his love of playing in San Diego, though he has generally avoided questions about an extension, preferring to stay in the moment. But when the Padres were eliminated in the NL Division Series last week, Tatis seemed to indicate his desire for a long future with the club.
“This is a special group,” Tatis said. “We know what we’re going to be capable of the next six or seven years. We’ll see what happens.”