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Donavan Tate or Tate Donovan: Whom did the Padres just sign?

David Brown
Big League Stew

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As baseball fans breathlessly wait to see if top pick Stephen Strasburg signs on the line which is dotted with the Nationals, the Padres have inked Donavan Tate, the third pick in the June draft.

Earlier, the signs were good it would happen.

Baseball America's Jim Callis reported Tate was sighted at PETCO Park earlier today to hammer out a deal that Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports to be worth about $6 million, which allows the young man to take batting practice with the big club Tuesday, Tom Krasovic at Inside the Padres reports.

Sounds like investigational triangulation to me.

Tate, who is a son of former NFL and University of Georgia running back Lars Tate, is one of those "five-tool" players who turned down a football scholarship at North Carolina to play baseball. The 18-year-old immediately gives the Padres a better outfielder than anyone else on their roster. Just kidding. But almost not.

My question about Donavan Tate: Will he be the Tate Donovan of baseball players?

Who is Tate Donovan? What, you've never seen "Space Camp"?

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Tate Donovan, best known at one time for being Jennifer Aniston's better half (pre-Brad Pitt), is a Hollywood B-lister who never quite crossed into stardom. But he has cobbled together a very respectable acting career — from "Memphis Belle" 20 years ago to TV's "Damages" today.

Or, if you're into Disney movies, he was the voice of "Hercules."

And he wants to direct!

Ambitious, as his semi-palindromic pal no doubt is.

But will the Padres youngster (above, with his mom, Tracy Sims, taking in Monday's Padres game) blossom into a player worthy being selected so high? Will he miss two-a-days, fizzle in the minors and retreat to football? Will he simply become a serviceable major leaguer, never an All-Star but always of value? Or will he be a star?

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Tate's dad was an OK player. After playing in Herschel Walker's shadow at Georgia, Lars Tate was a second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1988. He rushed for 1,000 yards in his career, which ended with the Chicago Bears in 1990. If Lars is remembered for anything, it's this incredible touchdown run against the football Cardinals in 1988.

The Padres obviously want his son to be a better baseball player. They already have enough Tate Donovans on the roster.

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