San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. is the most exciting shortstop in all of baseball, if not overall player, but he has dislocated his shoulder twice already in 2021 and remains on the sideline – yet is still the NL MVP favorite on the MLB odds. In an effort to try and keep Tatis Jr. as healthy as possible while playing the field and for a playoff push, the Padres are expected to use him in the outfield the rest of the season when he returns.
What will happen with Fernando Tatis JR. this season?
While surgery on that troublesome shoulder seems inevitable, Tatis and the Padres hope that the procedure can wait until after the season, and the move to the outfield will theoretically help reduce wear-and-tear on Tatis’ shoulder in the interim. The latest dislocation was the worst of the bunch, and it landed Tatis on the IL on July 31. Although he was eligible to return on Tuesday, he is not ready just yet. At the minimum, Tatis is looking at a few more days of rehab — during which he’ll continue to get pregame reps in the outfield.
“His instincts are impeccable. He shouldn’t have any problem,” Padres outfield coach Wayne Kirby said about Tatis as an outfielder. “His speed will make up for whatever he doesn’t read. If he makes a false move, I’m sure he can make an adjustment.”
The decision will ultimately be made by general manager A.J. Preller and manager Jayce Tingler — and it won’t be formally made until Tatis’ return date approaches.
Tatis ranks 1st in the NL in HR (31), SLG (.650), SLG (1.021), runs scored (78), and SB (23). His 1.051 OPS vs. right-handed pitchers leads the National League. In his last 12 games before getting hurt, he had 13 hits, 3 HR, 11 runs scored, 10 RBI, 7 BB, and 3 SB. This year, he played in his first All-Star Game and was the first 1st Padre voted into an All-Star Game start since Tony Gwynn in 1999.
Jake Cronenworth has had the primary duty at short since Tatis landed on the IL on July 31. During Tatis’ previous two stints on the IL this season, Ha-Seong Kim had the call. Cronenworth, 27, has a small Major League sample at shortstop, but he played 367 Minor League games there. Kim has yet to find offensive consistency in the big leagues, but he rates at a 1 on Statcast’s outs above average defensive metric at shortstop.
Job Of Mets Manager Safe For Now
The New York Mets had a 6.5-game lead atop the NL East at the All-Star break but have fallen off a cliff and are now third in the division. Fans want manger Luis Rojas fired, but that’s not going to happen right now or probably at all this season.
Mets owner Steve Cohen isn’t holding the manager responsible for the poor play. Cohen believes this is a different time with a different type of player makeup than when George Steinbrenner used to fire Yankees managers regularly in bad periods for the club and/or to try to jolt players into better play. The Mets haven’t replaced a manager in-season since Willie Randolph in 2008. Rojas’ two-year contract runs through this season and Rojas says he’s not worried about his job security.
“I will never do that,” Rojas said. “My focus will always be on the team and nothing more than that. We have got to win games. If my focus is not there I’m disrespecting everybody who is wearing this uniform. That’s it, there is nothing more than that.”
If New York does miss the playoffs, then Rojas almost surely will not be back next season. He was promoted by the Mets to manager on January 22, 2020, after the Mets mutually parted ways with Carlos Beltrán due to his involvement in the Houston Astros sign stealing scandal.
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