On the night of September 18th, 2016, San Diego Padres third baseman Fernando Tatis Jr. was in a hotel room when he heard a loud noise outside. When he came out to investigate, his knee buckled on him and shattered the patella bone at the back of his leg. The injury required surgery and sidelined Tatis for three months before returning to defend home plate with renewed vigor from April through June 2017..
The “fernando tatis jr wallpaper” is a question that has been asked on the minds of many. The injury to Fernando Tatis Jr. has impacted his season, contract and the Padres.
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Alden Gonzalez is a character in the film Alden Gonzalez
- Baseball correspondent for ESPN. From 2016 to 2018, I covered the Los Angeles Rams for ESPN, and from 2012 to 2016, I covered the Los Angeles Angels for MLB.com.
- Jesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and now works for ESPN.com as an MLB reporter.
Fernando Tatis Jr.’s debut to spring training came with some surprising news: the San Diego Padres All-Star shortstop sustained a fractured left wrist over the summer, which will almost certainly need surgery.
According to San Diego general manager A.J. Preller, Tatis experienced the injury months ago but felt it worsen as he prepared to report.
What caused this to happen? What does this signify for the multimillion-dollar contract Tatis signed this spring? What are the Padres’ options now?
ESPN MLB reporters Alden Gonzalez is a character in the film Alden Gonzalez and Rogers, Jesse weigh in on everything you need to know about the fallout from Tatis’ injury.
Fernando Tatis arrived to spring training with a wrist ailment, right?
He certainly did. Tatis’ entrance physical on Sunday showed a broken scaphoid bone in his left wrist, which is something everyone goes through when they report to spring training. Tatis had informed the Padres a few days earlier, after the new collective bargaining agreement was finalized and the lockout was over, that his left wrist had been troubling him for a few weeks. Doctors discovered that the ailment was “a few months old” and that he just worsened it when he increased his offseason training, especially his hitting, during follow-up testing. The Padres, on the other hand, had no way of knowing he was having problems. Why? Because the MLB lockout, which started on December 2 and lasted 99 days, made it impossible for clubs to communicate with their players. On the day of reporting, every executive dreaded a scenario like this. “It absolutely could’ve been a different narrative” if not for the lockout, Tatis said.
So, how did it happen?
That’s what I’m talking about. Tatis fell off a motorbike in his home Dominican Republic in early December. According to reports at the time, he merely suffered minor scratches. The Padres, who had access to just third-party data at the time, had the same idea. Tatis was, too, saying that for the next week or two his wrist felt “jammed,” not unlike what happens when he slides too hard into second base. It didn’t seem to be something that would need surgery. The ache reappeared around a month ago. Tatis’ condition only worsened as his summer activities grew more strenuous. Was the wrist damage caused immediately by the motorbike accident? Although that seems to be the most likely conclusion, Preller stopped short of stating it. It “could’ve been anything,” Tatis remarked, adding that he suffered another tumble over the offseason (that other fall, the Padres believe, occurred during training and was not the result of another motorcycle accident).
What does this mean for the Padres?
The Padres are designed to win right now. After their dramatic collapse last season, there was a notion that if they didn’t make the playoffs in 2022, or at the very least play significant games down the line, ownership may have to cut salaries. Last year, the Padres had a then-franchise-record $174 million payroll on Opening Day, breaking the previous high by $64 million, and are on the verge of breaking the $200 million milestone in 2022. Tatis’ enthusiasm is contagious, and his brilliance extends beyond the sport. And now that it’s very probable he’ll have surgery by the end of the week, he’ll almost certainly miss the first three months of the season, if not the whole first half. To put that in perspective, the Padres dropped from 15 games over.500 to three games below.500 in three months last year, as Tatis was putting the final touches on an MVP-caliber season. It’s possible, particularly in the National League West, where the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants compete.
Is there anything they can do?
Perhaps. Standard major league contracts guarantee players’ full salary if they satisfy specific requirements, which include avoiding potentially risky hobbies like bungee jumping, snowmobiling, piloting, and a lengthy list of others (Jai-alai?). Fencing? (Horse racing?) Yes, motorcycling is one of them. If Tatis injured his wrist while riding a motorbike, he would seem to be in breach of his contract, but can the Padres prove it? And, above all, do they truly want to proceed down that road?
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A club that wishes to handle this will normally contact the player about the infringement and consider withholding part of his income as a penalty as a first step. However, the player, his agent, and the MLB Players Association would have to agree, which is normally unusual, particularly when there is so much gray area, according to a person familiar with the procedure.
The most extreme option would be to try to convert the rest of the contract to a non-guaranteed contract, allowing for a release. Of course, the MLBPA would submit a grievance right away. And the team’s chances of winning are little to none. Another approach is a transactional one, which involves placing the player on the restricted list, where he is not paid, and then putting the player on the hook for filing a grievance.
How frequently do teams take action in response to them?
It’s incredibly uncommon. Contracts for steroid users have not been terminated, nor have contracts for individuals in legal problems. Almost any effort would be met with fierce opposition from the players’ union. Teams would have to have convincing evidence that the player has broken the Uniform Players Contract (UPC), and then be ready to let the player go. That is unlikely to happen if he is a celebrity. If he was on a one-year contract and became injured for many months after disobeying the UPC, a club may decide to cancel the contract. It’s similar to what happened to Aaron Boone in 2004 with the Yankees. In January, he tore his ACL while practicing basketball, prompting New York to terminate his $5.75 million deal. He was granted $917, 553 in termination compensation and became a free agent.
Similar rules apply to other sports. Jay Williams, a Chicago Bulls guard, was involved in a motorbike accident in 2003, and his career was effectively over. The Bulls covered his medical bills yet terminated him, squandering roughly $7 million. He would have collected his entire wage if he had been injured on the basketball court.
Are the Padres going to do it?
For a variety of reasons, they are not anticipated to. 1. They can’t always show that Tatis’ injury was caused by his motorbike accident. 2. In the best-case scenario, the amount of money they would likely recuperate is insignificant in comparison to their wage. 3. None of this is worth jeopardizing their connection with their franchise player, particularly a 23-year-old who is under contract until 2034. Tatis’ contract will not be voided by the Padres. They don’t seem to have any intentions to attempt to impose a fine at this time, either.
So, where does Tatis go from here?
The Padres believe that this experience has taught him how to better manage his offseasons in the future. The Padres have received assurances from Tatis that he would never again ride motorbikes. They are hoping he will honor his promise.
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Padres owner Peter Seidler stated Tuesday, “From my standpoint, I trust and believe in Fernando.” “Individuals sustain injuries. And he’ll be returning as soon as his medicals are completed. It’s all part of the game. The most important thing to me is that I believe in this young guy, and I believe he’ll have another fantastic year and career with us whenever he’s medically cleared.”
Now, returning to the Padres, what will they do at shortstop?
According to a source close to the matter, the Padres are determined to keeping their shortstop in-house, which essentially means one name: Ha-seong Kim. Kim, a 26-year-old middle infielder from South Korea, was signed to a four-year, $28 million deal last offseason. He proved he can be a solid defender in the big leagues last year, but he battled hard on offense, hitting. In 298 plate appearances, he had a batting average of 202/.270/.352. Scouts say he failed to adjust to major league velocity, which is a frequent difficulty for players from Japan or Korea, and they question whether he’ll be able to bat at replacement level in the majors. The Padres, who are still looking for a corner outfielder or designated hitter, are counting on him. C.J. Abrams, their top prospect, is a 21-year-old with less than 350 professional plate appearances who will most likely not be ready to play daily shortstop in the big leagues when the season begins in April. Another alternative is to move Jake Cronenworth to shortstop, although that, like moving Manny Machado to third base, would create a vacancy at second base.