One year ago, Fernando Tatis Jr. was the star shortstop of the San Diego Padres, as well as the reigning face of baseball. Now? After a motorcycle accident, a PED suspension, and — most importantly — a $340 million extension, people around the game are wondering whether he could be persona non grata in San Diego, as well as a possible candidate for the Yankees’ “big move” we heard so much about on Friday.
In a word? No. In another word? No way. The Padres didn’t acquire Xander Bogaerts with the intention of shedding Tatis’ mega-salary at his lowest value. They want to take the West away from the Dodgers this year, as LA deigns to pursue high-budget stars. They don’t want to zip ahead in the race only to even things up again by ditching All-Stars.
The Yankees-Tatis Jr. connection was inevitable, though, once Michael Kay, Buster Olney and Co. started spreading the idea that the Yankees were pursuing Carlos Rodón, sure, but also appeared to have something bigger up their sleeve.
How “big” could big really be, most fans wondered? Carlos Correa would qualify, but the Yankees refused to pursue him when a short-term deal was possible last offseason. Why would they go wild for him now with a higher price tag and Anthony Volpe/Oswald Peraza closer to the bigs? A Bryan Reynolds trade? Sure, it makes sense, but word out of Pittsburgh is the Pirates aren’t ready to move just yet. Plus, the way this rumor was worded made it seem like a total shocker; the Yankees exploring a Reynolds trade is just the logical next step of the offseason.
The inevitable rumor mill juicing happened on Monday morning, when former Islanders goalie turned New York sports radio host Rick DiPietro claimed he’d heard some Fernando Tatis Jr. buzz over the weekend. Sounds like a pretty good idea, besides the fact that he’s unavailable and Cashman could have Correa for money alone, without surrendering prospects from a thinning farm system.
Yankees make no sense for Fernando Tatis Jr. trade
“I’ll tell you what I heard over the weekend,” DiPietro began his rant. Of course you heard that. We heard that, too. And then we pushed it out of our minds and waited for the more realistic Rodón bomb/Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder trade.
DiPietro, of all people, should know how immobile long-term contracts can be, considering he’s still sitting on the Islanders’ books until 2028-29. Add in the controversy, the complicated mechanics, and the fact that the Padres don’t want to sell an absolute superstar at his floor, and it’s clear this will never happen.
The last time Tatis Jr. was on the field, he was drilling 42 homers, posting a 166 OPS+ and finishing third in the MVP race. While the Padres might regret the length of his contract, they’re still happy they were able to get something done, allowing them to build around him instead of seeking a way to cut bait on the face of their franchise.
Sorry, but he’ll never be a Yankee.