Fernando Tatis Jr
(Kelly Gavin/Major League Baseball/Getty Images)

The San Diego Padres Have Been Foolish With Fernando Tatis Jr

There is no doubt shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr has unmeasurable talent. When he’s on his game, he is perhaps the best player in baseball both offensively and at the plate. The only problem is that he is being handled by the San Diego Padres front office. These guys have money to supply talent on the team but have no idea what they’re doing in the process. Fernando Tatis Jr is their latest victim.

The first straw was to call up Tatis Jr when they did. The White Sox drafted him in 2016 at the ripe young age of 17 years old. Before he even played a professional game, Chicago traded him to San Diego. This was the same deal that sent James Shields to the White Sox. He only played 276 games in the Minor Leagues before the Padres felt it was time for them to call up the young stud at the age of 20 for the 2019 season. The previous year, he suffered a broken thumb during a headfirst slide, which turned out to be shapes of things to come.

Yet, the Padres felt it was time for him to play for them in 2019. He stunned everyone with his talent and seemed to be running away with the Rookie of the Year Award. However, the injury bug hit him hard again, with Tatis dealing with a back injury that finished his season. He only appeared in 84 games yet batted .317/.379/.590 with 22 home runs. The Padres still had a stud at their hands.

2020 proved to be a weird year for everyone. COVID-19 shortened the season to 60 games, yet that didn’t stop Tatis Jr. He hit 17 home runs and had a slash line of .277/.366//571. Tatis finished fourth in MVP voting and earned a Silver Slugger. He did suffer from his first slump, however. In his last month of 2020, he had a dismal slash line of .208/.306/.403. There was a notion that pitchers began to figure out how to pitch to him.

In the offseason, there was pressure on San Diego especially from their neighbors, the Los Angeles Dodgers. LA had just won their first championship since 1988 and had depth from top to bottom. What the Padres did next shocked many to the core and still have baseball fans scratching their heads. San Diego signed Fernando Tatis Jr to a 14 year, $340 million dollar extension, the third richest in Major League Baseball history. Yes, this man has incredible talent in many aspects, but the reality is that he hasn’t even played a full season. In fact, he’s only played 151 Major League games. AND the injury bug has already shown its presence.

Now here we are in 2021. Tatis Jr must be feeling the pressure from this stupid contract already. His slash line currently sits at .129/.229/.323 through eight games and seven errors, yes SEVEN errors in his playing time. To make matters worse, he has been dealing with shoulder issues too. Many thought the young shortstop would need surgery to repair it, yet the Padres jumped the gun to reactive him for a series against the Dodgers.

I hope all the best for this young talented player. The Padres, however, have to stop being foolish with him. They’re getting way too excited too early in order to compete, but not thinking about how it affects their talent in the process.

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