Fernando Tatis Jr. is out with a broken wrist and will likely miss the first few months of the season. Who will play shortstop for the San Diego Padres until he returns?
San Diego Sports are cursed. Or at least it always feels that way.
The San Diego Padres are not immune to this curse, and the recent injury to Fernando Tatis Jr. is proof of that fact.
The Padres will be without their young superstar for the first half of the season as an off-season motorcycle accident resulted in a fractured wrist for Tatis. This diagnosis took months to come to the surface after the December accident. The CBA lockout was partially to blame for this, but the Padres and Tatis did not communicate well at all. The end result is tragic for San Diego Padres fans, who will suffer the first few months of the season as Tatis heals.
Thankfully, for the Padres, the team does have options at the position.
After years of running out the likes of Alexei Ramirez, Freddy Galvis, Erick Aybar, and Clint Barmes at shortstop, the Padres have multiple players who could step in and play the position. The Padres will need to rely on a few players to man the position until Tatis returns, and here is a look at the group that is capable.
Kim is the odds on favorite to start at shortstop on Opening Day for San Diego. The Padres are invested in him, and the Korean star has already shown that he possesses a plus glove at the position. The bat is of slight concern, but Kim looked decent during some stretches of the 2021 season. There is work to be done in regards to his approach at the plate, but there is no reason to believe he cannot be a productive player with the bat.
This spring, CJ Abrams is making a case to earn some time at the position in 2022. The way the left-handed hitter is playing, Abrams will debut for the Padres this coming season, and there is no doubt of that. The real question is if Abrams is ready for major league pitching now with minimal at-bats higher than the Single-A level. The glovework is present for Abrams, and he showcases excellent range at the position. The young prospect brings an excitement level to his game, and that could be a welcomed thing in a lineup without Tatis.
This is not very likely, but Jake Cronenworth has played shortstop in the past for the Padres. Cronenworth played 41 games in 2021 at shortstop and also manned the position for 11 games during the 2020 season. The left-handed hitter and 2021 MLB All-Star seems to be entrenched at the keystone position for the Padres, but if Bob Melvin needs him to play shortstop- Cronenworh is more than capable. The Padres have great flexibility, and Croneneworth is a prime example of it.
In 2019, during Tatis’ rookie season, Macahdo played 37 games at the shortstop position. The two-time Glove-Glove winner at the position could fill in, but the Padres will probably not move him off of third base. The Padres have no clear backup at third base for Machado, as Ha-Seong Kim serves at that role presently. Putting Machado at shortstop and placing Ha-Seong Kim at third base puts two players off a position they are presently used to. This seems like a far-fetched idea for the Padres in 2022.
If you were a betting man, the odds are on Ha-Seong Kim to start on Opening Day for the Padres. CJ Abrams is making a case for himself and could cut down the odds with continually solid play. Either way, the Padres have options at shortstop and do not need to look outside the organization. Tatis will be sorely missed by the Friars, but they have the depth to overcome his unfortunate injury. Bob Melvin brings great managerial experience and will help keep the calmness in the clubhouse until the young star returns.