The San Diego Padres will be without superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. for roughly three months due to a fractured wrist.
Tatis fractured his wrist in the offseason and may undergo surgery to repair the issue, general manager A.J. Preller said Monday.
He told reporters he first felt the wrist issue a month ago, but MLB.com's AJ Cassavell says doctors believe the injury happened before then. Tatis was also in a minor motorcycle crash over the offseason.
Tatis also implied he may have been involved in multiple motorcycle crashes over the offseason.
Tatis, 23, is among the best players in the game when healthy. He has a .292/.362/.596 slash line, with 81 home runs, in two-and-a-half seasons to open his career. Tatis slugged a league-high 42 home runs in 2021 despite battling a shoulder injury the entire season. He has finished in the top-4 in National League MVP voting each of the past two seasons.
Tatis is expected to miss "up to three months" due to the injury. That would keep him out until mid-June if he doesn't experience any setbacks. The injury is a significant loss to the Padres, who are a popular pick to return to the postseason after a second-half collapse last year. After starting the 2021 season 67-49, the Padres went 12-34 over their last 46 games and fell out of playoff contention.
With Tatis sidelined, the team could rely on a combination of Jake Cronenworth and Ha-Seong Kim at short. The Padres could also explore the free agent market or seek another shortstop via a trade if they want another option at the position.
Padres expected to bounce back in 2022
Despite last season's disappointment, the Padres are expected to take a step forward in 2022. The team still has a strong rotation, anchored by Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove and Blake Snell. It will add Mike Clevinger, who missed all of 2021 with an injury, to the mix in 2022.
The team's offense will take a hit without Tatis, but the Padres still have Cronenworth, Eric Hosmer, Manny Machado and Wil Myers. The team was likely already in the market for another big bat prior to the Tatis injury. Tatis' absence should give the team even greater motivation to bring in another player, potentially someone who can play left field.
Prior to Tatis' injury, the Padres had the third-best odds in the NL to win the World Series, per BetMGM. They were tied with the Milwaukee Brewers at +1600. That figure is bound to change following Monday's news, though the Padres will still likely be considered strong contenders in the NL.