A bombshell was dropped on Friday night, as San Diego Padres’ shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. was suspended 80 games by MLB for violating the league’s drug policy.
The 23-year-old tested positive for Clostebol a performance enhancing drug. Fernando Tatis Jr. issued a statement in which he explains that ingestion of the drug came as an accident. The player contracted ringworm and was taking medication to control the fungal disorder. Tatis, again, did not use the resources available by the Padres and instead went to an outside source for treatment.
Needless to say there are a lot of angry people in San Diego.
From the fans, to the upper management of the team, there is a feeling of great disappointment when it comes to this story. Fernando Tatis Jr. let down the city of San Diego and most importantly- he let himself down.
The whole saga has multiple chapters as Tatis has yet to see the field for the Padres in 2022. The superstar baseball player injured himself while crashing his motorcycle (possibly multiple times) and his injury was not diagnosed until three months later as the player arrived in Peoria for spring training. Riding a motorcycle is a bit taboo for a player fresh off signing a 14-year/340 million contract. The Padres looked the other way and took the higher road, but this latest chapter is sincerely concerning.
General manager A.J. Preller spoke about the situation and communicated his frustrations with Tatis. “It is very disappointing. He’s somebody that from the organization’s standpoint we’ve invested time and money into,” Preller said on Friday. “When he is on the field, he’s a difference maker. You have to learn from the situations. We we’re hoping that from the offseason to now, that there would be some maturity. And obviously with the news today, it’s more of a pattern and something we’ve got to dig a little bit more info. I’m sure he’s very disappointed but at the end of the day. It’s one thing to say it. You have to start showing it with your actions.”
Trust was violated. Fernando Tatis Jr., once again, made a horrible decision and that is troubling. You cannot sugar coat that fact. You hope that he matures and learns simply because the Padres are so highly invested into him. His total salary owed is one of the highest in North American sports. The commitment is huge and the Padres are questioning the actions of Tatis.
Padres management learned about the suspension early in the afternoon on Friday, the clubhouse and active roster was made aware approximately 30 minutes before the start of the game in Washington. After the contest in which the Padres won 10-5, players in the clubhouse began to speak out. Padres’ pitchers Joe Musgrove and Mike Clevinger were vocal on the situation and neither player pulled any punches in speaking to the media.
“This is the second time we’ve been disappointed with him. You hope he grows up and learns from this and learns that it’s about more than just him right now.” Mike Clevinger said, while adding this last thought, “I know a thing or two about letting your teammates down with reckless actions.” Clevinger is referring to the 2020 season (while with Guardians) in which the pitcher violated club policy and went out for a night on the town. The right-handed pitcher flew with the team after his night out and broke several protocols. Cleveland dealt the pitcher at the trade deadline to San Diego.
Joe Musgrove signed a $100 million extension earlier in the season to remain in San Diego, his hometown city. His response to the news was equally as candid as Clevinger. “He’s a young kid. He’s going to learn his lessons or whatnot. But ultimately, I think you got to start showing a little bit of remorse and you got to start showing that you’re committed to it and want to be here.” Joe Musgrove said about Tatis. There was a little bit of anger in his comment as the shortstop let his whole team down with his recent actions.
Tatis’ statement on Friday acknowledges that he made a huge mistake. The message, unlike the ringworm story, provides no excuse for his actions. If he owns up to it and uses this as a lesson in life, then the Padres may still receive endless amount of joy from this player. His passion for the game is contagious and excellent for the game of baseball. This is a black mark. Make no mistake. But Taits has the ability to use this as motivation to truly be the best player on the face of the planet.
“I want to apologize to Peter, A.J. and the entire Padres organization, my teammates and fans everywhere for my mistake. I have no excuse for my error, and I would never do anything to cheat or disrespect this game I love.”
For the Padres, they can only hope this comment from their shortstop is factual. The focus on Tatis must improve. He must mature and it needs to happen now.
Sadly, the fans will not see Fernando Tatis Jr. on the field until 2023. His suspension will extend somewhere between 10 and 32 games into the season, depending on how many postseason games that Padres play. His first full season (because of injuries and such) can only potentially happen in 2024 and that is tragic for a player with so much promise. Time heals all though. If he can return to form, then this will all blow over eventually. His legacy and name may be forever tainted, but there is nothing you can do about the past. As a baseball player, Fernando Tatis Jr. knows this very well.
For now, he will just need to take the punishment. The fans will be vocal. His teammates have already been critical. There is a long road ahead.