How Ronald Acuna’s contract compares with Fernando Tatis’ new deal

When the Braves signed outfielder Ronald Acuna to a long-term contract 22 months ago, they presumably knew the cost would rise if they waited.

But they surely didn’t know how far and how fast it would have risen.

Shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.’s new mega-contract with the San Diego Padres, finalized Monday, provides the latest measure of the cost of a dazzling young star in baseball.

Tatis, 22, signed a 14-year, $340 million contract, the longest deal in MLB history. Acuna was 21 when he signed his contract in April 2019 — an eight-year, $100 million deal that will become a 10-year, $124 million deal if the Braves exercise two options at the end of the contract.

Most of the difference in the total value of the two contracts is simply that Tatis’ deal is longer. It runs through his age-35 season in 2034, while Acuna’s deal runs through his age-30 season in 2028 (including the option years). Of the $340 million in Tatis’ contract, $180 million covers his ages 31 through 35 seasons. Who knows how much Acuna will make, from the Braves or someone else, for those seasons in his next contract?

Still, in terms of annual value, Acuna’s current contract averages $12.4 million per year (if both options are picked up) and Tatis’ deal averages $24.29 million. Through his age-30 season, Tatis’ contract averages $17.78 million per year (including the signing bonus). Acuna will make $17 million in each of the final six years on his contract (including the options), while Tatis will make $36 million in each of the final six seasons on his deal.

Ronald Acuna vs. Fernando Tatis Jr. contracts
Here’s a season-by-season comparison of the contracts (Acuna’s covers 2019 through potentially 2028, while Tatis’ covers 2021 through 2034)
*- If the Braves exercise their option ($10 million buyout if they don’t); ** - If the Braves exercise their option

Tatis and Acuna are considered comparable talents on the field. A recent listing of baseball’s top 100 players by MLB Network ranked Tatis No. 6 and Acuna No. 7. Playing shortstop, a premium defensive position, enhances Tatis’ value.

Acuna had played in 115 major league games when he signed his contract, while Tatis has played in 143.

Here’s a season-by-season comparison of the contracts (Acuna’s covers 2019 through potentially 2028, while Tatis’ covers 2021 through 2034):

⋅ 2019: Acuna $1 million.

⋅ 2020: Acuna $1 million.

⋅ 2021: Acuna $5 million; Tatis $1 million (plus $10 million signing bonus).

⋅ 2022: Acuna $15 million; Tatis $5 million.

⋅ 2023: Acuna $17 million; Tatis $7 million.

⋅ 2024: Acuna $17 million; Tatis $11 million.

⋅ 2025: Acuna $17 million; Tatis $20 million.

⋅ 2026: Acuna $17 million; Tatis $20 million.

⋅ 2027: Acuna $17 million if the Braves exercise their option ($10 million buyout if they don’t); Tatis $25 million.

⋅ 2028: Acuna $17 million if the Braves exercise their option; Tatis $25 million.

⋅ 2029: Tatis $36 million.

⋅ 2030: Tatis $36 million.

⋅ 2031: Tatis $36 million.

⋅ 2032: Tatis $36 million.

⋅ 2033: Tatis $36 million.

⋅ 2034: Tatis $36 million.