Padres: Fernando Tatis Jr. must be extended for life

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Fernando Tatis Jr. continues to prove that he’s worthy of a lifetime extension with the Padres, tying up the game in the ninth inning.

One of these days, the Padres will have a drama-free game with no bullpen meltdowns while the offense continues to stay hot. Unfortunately, only one of those stayed true in the team’s comeback win over the Rockies on Friday night.

Clinging to a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning, Matt Strahm took over for starting pitcher Garrett Richards, who went 5.2 innings while fanning six batters. But the 28-year-old lefty, who has gotten off to a difficult start this year, served up a two-run double to 86-year-old Matt Kemp on the first pitch.

Fernando Tatis Jr. would single-handedly see to that the Padres would be in a position to win the game, knocking in a game-tying single and home run in the seventh and ninth inning, respectively.

The latter came with the Padres down to their final out, against former All-Star closer Wade Davis. A 97.5 MPH rocket at a 26-degree launch angle over the left-field fence gave the Padres life, and Tommy Pham would follow that with a three-run blast on the way to an 8-7 win.

The Padres bullpen could use a shakeup

Under normal circumstances, I would be inclined to see a larger sample size, but the Padres are lucky to be 6-2 right now. The word “shaky” is a modest way to describe this bullpen right now. Who in the ‘pen do you trust the most right now?

Kirby Yates made his first appearance since Sunday, throwing another 28 pitches, but just 15 for strikes. He failed to close out the game, as Drew Pomeranz came in to record the final out.

As noted, Strahm has not been particularly good this year with opponents hitting .500 off his slider and .250 off his four-seamer.

The Padres have to consider adding Michel Baez, MacKenzie Gore, or Luis Patino – or some combination of all three – to this bullpen. With just 52 games remaining, and what’s looking more like a three or four team race in the NL West, the bullpen, the way it currently stands, cannot go on.

Tatis extension

While Tatis is technically under control through the 2024 season, the Padres must consider a long-term extension to lock up their star. Still just 21 years old, Tatis is a perennial MVP candidate, and he deserves to be paid like one.

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Especially with the Dodgers signing Mookie Betts to a long-term deal, the Padres need to follow suit, as the two teams figure to be competitive for the next decade.