Fernando Tatis Jr. was supposed to be the shortstop of the present and future for the San Diego Padres. That may have changed.
According to Alden Gonzalez at ESPN, Tatis may no longer have a home at short. Instead, he could get time at short, second, center, and left as the Padres could look to turn him into a super utility player.
Fernando Tatis Jr. may have San Diego Padres future upended
Such a plan would have been unthinkable heading into 2022. But everything changed during the lockout. Tatis broke his wrist in a motorcycle accident, and then, as he was rehabbing from that injury, was suspended for 80 games due to a failed PED test. If everything goes according to plan, he will finally return to the Padres on April 20, 2023.
But something happened in that time. Ha-Seong Kim had a breakout campaign, posting a 107 OPS+ while hitting 11 homers and 29 doubles in his 582 plate appearances, stealing 12 bases. He also saved ten runs defensively and was named a Gold Glove finalist. There is no reason to move him off of the position.
There had been some talk of moving Tatis to the outfield even before Kim had his breakout campaign. The Padres needed help in center and Tatis had played there in 2021 as part of their quest to keep him healthy. A change could have been in the cards regardless.
One has to imagine that Tatis will eventually find a home on the diamond. The Padres are not going to pay him $332.6 million over the next dozen years to be a super utility option. It is simply the best way to keep his bat in the lineup for now. However, it is also a sign that his future course has changed, that he may not be the cornerstone at short that the Padres had expected just one year ago.
The San Diego Padres are reportedly looking to make Fernando Tatis Jr. into a super utility player for 2023. His future has changed in just one year.