Did The San Diego Padres Prematurely Extend Fernando Tatis Jr?

Did The San Diego Padres Prematurely Extend Fernando Tatis Jr?
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Before the 2021 MLB season started, the San Diego Padres extended their franchise shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. to 14-year, $340 million dollar extension. The Padres locked up their face of the franchise for the next decade and a half.

With this extension, come the pros and cons. The Dominican youngster is a talented player, but his past injury concerns question whether the Padres extended him too early.

Career Up To This Point

Many fans do not know this, but Fernando Tatis Jr originally signed as an international free agent with the Chicago White Sox in 2015. Tatis Jr was only 17 at the time.

About a season later, in a move to bolster their starting rotation, the White Sox traded him and Erik Johnson to the San Diego Padres in exchange for starter James Shields. With Shields putting up unimpressive numbers over the next 2 1/2 seasons, it was obvious the San Diego Padres won the trade.

Tatis Jr spent the rest of the 2016 season with the Arizona Padres & the Tri-City Dust Devils. In that time, he recorded a .273 batting average with four home runs and 25 runs batted in. In the field, he committed 15 errors and recorded .904 fielding percentage. 

Fast forward to 2019, when he made the Padres’ Opening Day roster. In his MLB debut, he recorded two hits and five days later, he hit his first major league home run. In August, Tatis Jr injured his back so bad that it ended his season. He finished 2019 with a .317 batting average with 22 home runs, 61 runs batted in and 106 hits over 84 games.

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the MLB shortened the 2020 season to 60 games. Tatis Jr broke the unwritten rule of not swinging with three balls and no strikes. He faced controversy over the matter, but many people came in defense. He finished the season with 17 home runs, 42 runs batted in, 11 stolen bases, and a .277 batting average. 

Tatis Jr. finished fourth place for the NL MVP Award behind Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts & Manny Machado. He also won the Silver Slugger Award and was nominated to the All-MLB First Team.

Injury History

Unfortunately, Tatis Jr dislocated his shoulder and hit the injured list in the fifth game of the season. This is not the first time the injury bug came up as he sat out for a good amount of the 2019 season & 2020 shortened season with an injuries. Going back to his days in the minor leagues, Tatis Jr underwent season-ending surgery for a broken left thumb and ligament damage in 2018. 

FTJ is one of the best young players in the league but is already showing signs of being injury-prone. 

Premature Extension?

The San Diego Padres are on the brink of being one of the best teams in recent years. Signing their best player and face of the franchise was the top priority before this season started and the Padres were able to get it done. Tatis Jr. will come back from this injury like he always has in the past. The only concern the Padres would have is if he reaggravates that injury again if he comes back too early.

Though it does not seem like it, the San Diego Padres made the right decision in extending the youngster, even though he has had many injuries to start out the season.

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