The San Diego Padres' acquisition of Xander Bogaerts makes them a legitimate World Series contender. They checked in No. 4 in MLB.com's latest power rankings. If they add another quality starting pitcher before spring training -- we know better than to doubt AJ Preller -- they could jump even higher in the rankings.
While Bogaerts' arrival boosts the Padres' championship odds, it does complicate the return of face of the franchise Fernando Tatis Jr.
Bogaerts has been adamant about playing shortstop, and likely wouldn't have signed with San Diego if he wasn't guaranteed an every day role (or something close to it) at his preferred position.
What does this all mean for Tatis? Though a generational athlete, Tatis' struggles at shortstop over the last two seasons are well-documented. His freakish athleticsm could, in theory, make a seamless transition to the outfield.
With Juan Soto patrolling right field, and Jurickson Profar still braving free agency and potentially headed elsewhere, the dots have connected Tatis to becoming San Diego's new every day left fielder.
However, Padres writer AJ Cassavell of MLB.com doesn't see it that way. In making predictions for the club's 2023 campaign, Cassavell forecasted Tatis to play "most of his games" in right field.
"With Bogaerts at short and a deep Padres infield elsewhere, Tatis seems destined for the outfield. Petco Park’s spacious right field feels like the perfect spot to maximize his talents," Cassavell wrote.
Didn't see that one coming. Does Cassavell envision Soto becoming the Padres' full-time designated hitter? Might Soto shift from right to left field? Padres fans surely haven't forgot how much the two-time All-Star struggled in RF in the playoffs.
Barring a trade, Trent Grisham isn't moving from center field. Matt Carpenter is capable of playing the outfield, but the Yankees often pulled him late in games for defensive purposes in 2022.
Who knows what AJ Preller and Bob Melvin are plotting behind the scenes, but Carpenter seemingly has a better chance of being the every day DH and a fill-in starter around the infield (preferably first or second base) than playing left.
Whatever happens, the Padres are going to be making a defensive sacrifice at one of the corner outfield positions. The silver lining is Grisham is as solid as they come in center, and the infield has three studs in Manny Machado, Bogaerts, and Ha-Seong Kim.
Not the end of the world that left or right field might be a potential area of vulnerability. The offensive trade off will be well worth it, though Cassavell's predictions do make for an interesting couple months of speculation before spring training.