Just a week and a half ago, the Padres must have been feeling pretty good about themselves. They were in playoff position and had just had a huge trade delay, landing several big-name players, including 23-year-old superstar Juan Soto. On Friday, however, the team suffered a minor punch. Young star Fernando Tatis, Jr. has been suspended for 80 games for violating the league’s drug policy after he failed a PED test.
Keep in mind that Tatis fractured his wrist in a motorcycle accident during the offseason. When asked the date of his accident, Tatis answered with a question: “Which one?”
What motorcycle accident? In the same off-season?
And now, on top of that, Tatis has been suspended until next May. He will miss the entire 2022 season, basically due to poor decision-making. There’s a phrase I learned from a coach a long time ago that stuck with me for years. “Control what you can control.” You can’t control the referees, you can’t control the weather, you can’t control how the opposing team plays. You can control your decision-making, however, among other things.
Tatis had a motorcycle accident last offseason and apparently decided to continue riding. His wrist was injured and he didn’t tell anyone about it until he reported to camp in March. It was bad decisions that kept Tatis out of the Padres’ roster until August. And now, on top of that, we’ve learned that other issues with his decision-making have seen him sit out another 80 games.
Padres general manager AJ Preller spoke much harsher words than we’re used to seeing from office executives when addressing one of their stars.
“I think we hope from the offseason to now there will be some maturity,” Preller said, through athletics. “And obviously with the news today it’s more of a pattern and something we need to dig a little deeper. I’m sure he’s very disappointed but at the end of the day it’s a say it. You have to start by showing it with your actions.”
“I think we need to come to a time where we have confidence,” Preller said, Going through San Diego Union-Tribune. “Over the last six or seven months, I think that’s something we haven’t really been able to have.”
Hard? Probably, but that’s pretty fair. Starting pitcher Mike Clevinger had similar feelings about it:
Tatis is only 23, but his dad played in 11 major league games. The concept of being a responsible major league player shouldn’t be new.
As one of the most talented players in baseball, Tatis should be responsible to his teammates. Remember, they were in playoff position last year and fell apart in the process. They played well in his absence and were preparing to add major talent in pursuit of a long playoff run and possibly the Padres’ first World Series title. Instead, they will have to do without him.
He is also in the second year of a 14-year, $340 million contract, which means he has to be responsible for management and ownership. As Preller alluded to, Tatis has failed to do so so far.
The best bet here is that the PED suspension scared Tatis and he will grow a lot by the time his suspension is served, moving into the future with better decision-making. Again, shouldn’t the first motorcycle accident have been the alarm signal?