Former GM proposes curious Padres-Phillies trade involving Fernando Tatis Jr.

This isn't as crazy as it sounds.
San Diego Padres outfielder Fernando Tatis Jr.
San Diego Padres outfielder Fernando Tatis Jr. / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

No San Diego Padres fan wants to see the word trade in the same sentence as superstar outfielder Fernando Tatis Jr. In fact, most baseball analysts and pundits believe that Tatis' contract is rather untradeable.

But former Colorado Rockies general manager and current MLB Network contributor Dan O'Dowd disagrees. O'Dowd is of the opinion that if Tatis were to be put on the trade block today, at least seven or eight teams would make an offer.

During an in-studio conversation with MLB Network host Brian Kenny, O'Dowd offered up an intriguing trade proposal. O'Dowd posed the question, if the Padres called the Philadelphia Phillies and offered Tatis in exchange for Nick Castellanos and a young pitching prospect, would you take that deal?

Former GM proposes curious Padres-Phillies trade scenario involving Fernando Tatis Jr.

Kenny responded in the same manner as most Padres fans would by saying "no." But Kenny was advocating on the part of the Phillies, not the Friars. It's his stance that Tatis' contract is virtually untradeable based on a number of different factors (backloaded contract, the position he plays, etc.)

To put O'Dowd's proposal into perspective, the Phillies would effectively be taking on the remainder of Tatis' 14-year, $320 million extension that runs through the 2034 season. While the $24 million average annual value (AAV) is not overly troubling for most big-market ball clubs, Tatis' salary jumps from $25 million in 2028 to $36 million from 2029 through 2034.

As for Castellanos, who's off to a horrible start this season, the Phillies outfielder is owed $20 million per year through 2026. If the Phillies were to, as O'Dowd suggests, throw in a pitching prospect to sweeten the deal, perhaps San Diego could force Dave Dombrowski and the Philadelphia brass to include right-hander Mick Abel. The former first-round pick is considered a top-50 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

Padres-Phillies trade

Tatis would have to approve any such trade prior to the 2029 season, as the Padres superstar maintains a full no-trade clause through 2028. Losing Tatis would affect the Friars lineup and outfield defense, but with so many expensive, long-term contracts on the books, it might the Padres' only way out of the horrible payroll problem they now find themselves in.

Should the Padres trade Fernando Tatis Jr.?

The group of Tatis, Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, Joe Musgrove, and Yu Darvish are all under contract through at least 2027, and every player has an AAV of $18 million or more. With players like Dylan Cease and Michael King readying to reach free agency after next season, the Padres will have to move some contracts if they hope to keep their young starters beyond the 2025 season. Ha-Seong Kim is also eligible for free agency after this season.

It may be a tough pill to swallow, but trading Tatis to Philadelphia, or another organization for that matter, might be the best path forward for AJ Preller and the Padres, especially if this team doesn't pick it up soon.

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