We're now toe- to ankle-deep into the year 2021. Despite the relatively late date on MLB's offseason calendar, however, most prominent free agents and trade targets remain on the market or perched tantalizingly atop the trade block. As such, Saturday occasions another round of MLB rumors and buzz, and we're here to round it up for you. Let us now do just that.
Padres talking big contract extension with Fernando Tatis Jr.
For some time, it's been expected that the Padres would explore signing superstar shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. to a long-term contract extension, and now it seems talks are getting serious between the two sides. Pio Deportes reports that the Padres and Tatis have discussed a massive extension -- 11 years and $320 million -- and that talks are in the advanced stages. Jessica Kleinschmidt of NBC Sports Bay Area and Jon Heyman each confirm the talks. As well, Heyman also reports that the contract is expected to be around 10 years. If Tatis indeed does sign for $320 million, then it would be the largest contract in franchise history. Teammate Manny Machado signed a $300 million pact prior to the 2019 season.
Tatis normally wouldn't be eligible for free agency until after the 2024 season, which means an 11-year extension that began with 2021 would in essence buy out seven free agency years. Delaying free agency that long when you're talking about a player like Tatis has a heavy price tag, which explains the figure you see above.
Tatis is still just 22 years of age, and across two major league seasons, he's put up a line of .301/.374/.582 with 39 home runs and 27 stolen bases in 143 games. That's in addition to being one of the most exciting players in the game today. Needless to say, the Padres would do well to secure his services for long-term future. From Tatis' standpoint, he gets life-changing money and would commit himself to a team that figures to contend for years to come.
Red Sox shopping Andrew Benintendi
CBS Sports HQ's Jim Bowden reports that the Red Sox are dangling outfielder Andrew Benintendi in trade talks:
Benintendi, 26, was not so long ago one of the top prospects in all of baseball, and he put together strong seasons in 2017 and 2018. Since the start of the 2019 season, however, some of the shine has come off as he's declined at the plate and on the bases. Benintendi is still young enough to realize his ceiling, but the Sox would in some ways being selling low on him if they dealt him this offseason. That said, Benintendi's upside could still mean there's a market for him, and the Sox are apparently seeing what that market is as they attempt to return to relevance in 2021.