Fernando Tatis Jr. kicked off his 2023 redemption tour, meeting with the media and those who want to give him a second chance at the Padres FanFest on Saturday.
The Padres hope Tatis’ regret is a positive sign. They’re still on the hook for $324 million over 12 years with the star and his hapless cast.
“It’s going to be a very long process to gain everyone’s trust,” Tatis said.
Tatis has 20 contests to serve for violating MLB’s substance abuse policy, a mistake that comes with an 80-game suspension. This news came just after Tatis skipped the first half of the year after suffering an off-season wrist injury.
“Now I can’t wait to miss something,” Tatis said ahead of a journalist meeting in Petco Park. “It’s a great feeling to be there again.”
Tatis, who also had his left shoulder repaired during his break, is fully ready for baseball activities. He is scheduled to make full-fledged training camp later this month before he has to downshift again to serve the remainder of his sentence.
Where Tatis fits in with the talented Padres is a question that needs to be answered.
“I need to talk to my agent (Bob Melvin),” Tatis said. “But I’m open.”
Tatis’ short-back was filled by Ha-seong Kim last year and he provided a steady consistency that Tatis couldn’t.
Then, San Diego bought free agent Xander Bogaerts on an 11-year, $280 million contract in the off-season, increasing his payroll to a franchise-record $240 million.
Bogaerts is expected to land on the short-back that pushed Jake Cronenworth into first-stage as Kim moves into second-stage.
He plans to land one corner outfield spot, while All-Star Juan Soto takes the other.
“I’ll do whatever it takes,” Tatis said.
Considering Tatis last played in 2021 and had two wrist surgeries and a shoulder surgery during that time, exactly what Tatis will offer will be determined.
There’s no doubt that he became one of the most exciting players in the game, with 81 home runs and .292 hits in the two seasons preceding Tatis’ absence.
The Padres advanced to last season’s National League Championship Series when Tatis was unavailable. Watching and not being able to participate in that postseason run, Tatis said, fed her.
“I just want to prove myself on the field,” said Tatis, who is a two-time top-five finalist for the NL MVP award. “Just get back on the field with my sons.”