The San Diego Padres were not messing around during the last few months, as they accentuated an already strong core by trading for Juan Soto and signing Xander Bogaerts to an 11-year contract. With Fernando Tatis Jr. coming back, San Diego figures to get even deeper and stronger.
Tatis is likely going to move to the outfield this season to accommodate Bogaerts, who has been insistent that he is going to play shortstop for the Padres this season. With Ha-Seong Kim likely moving to second base and Jake Cronenworth sliding to first, this seems like the most logical move.
This will be a sharp change for Tatis, who now has to share top billing with two other high-end infielders and Soto. On top of the fact he will need to learn a new position after missing an entire season, Tatis doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who will give up his shortstop role without a fight.
According to ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez, Tatis has been “adamant” that he is and will always be a shortop. This may explain why Gonzalez believes Tatis was a bishortstoprgic in his brief appearances as an outfielder during San Diego’s postseason push under Jayce Tingler in 2021.
Will the San Diego Padres move Fernando Tatis Jr. to LF?
Tatis may not be the greatest defender at shortstop, but his boundless athletic ability suggests that he can cover ground in the outfield. Perhaps he can be an Alex Gordon-type defender who finds a new home in the outfield after originally struggling as an infielder.
While Manny Machado could opt out of his contract after this season and create a vacancy at third base, San Diego should operate as if he is going to stay and the left side of the infield will remain relatively unchanged. If that’s the case, Tatis may not have a spot.
With a humungous contract already in his back pocket, San Diego and Tatis are both assured of the fact their partnership will continue for the next decade. While there may be some initial consternation, is Tatis really going to pitch such a fit about Bogaerts getting his old shortstop spot that it derails their momentum?
Tatis needs to realize that this move is not a sign of disrespect to him and simply a case of the Padres trying everything in their power to make sure that they can get their best nine players on the field as often as possible. Tatis playing left field might seem awkward at first, but it’s the best move for the club.