The baseball world was rocked Friday afternoon, when it was realized that one of many sport’s brightest younger stars, Fernando Tatis Jr., had examined optimistic for a performance-enhancing substance and was hit by Major League Baseball with an 80-game suspension.
Tatis, the 23-year-old celebrity shortstop who had already emerged as one of many faces of the game, was solely days away from getting back from the wrist damage that had saved him out all season. His San Diego Padres, on the heels of a blockbuster commerce for Juan Soto, have been eagerly awaiting his return whereas in pursuit of a title. Now Tatis’ season is over, and the Padres’ championship hopes have been tremendously diminished.
However there’s a lot extra to this.
Listed here are just a few of essentially the most urgent questions regarding Tatis, the Padres and MLB.
What does this imply for Tatis?
We’ll get to the big-picture features later, however first the fundamentals: Tatis’ 80-game suspension begins Friday and can final by means of the remaining 48 regular-season video games. How lengthy it extends into 2023 will hinge on how deep the Padres play into the postseason, in the event that they get there (they entered play Friday with a one-game lead on the sixth and remaining playoff spot within the Nationwide League). Tatis additionally is not anticipated to be eligible to signify the Dominican Republic in subsequent yr’s World Baseball Traditional.
Tatis is likely one of the most charming stars within the sport, however over the course of his first 4 seasons he can have performed in solely 273 of a potential 546 regular-season video games. He missed the ultimate seven weeks of the 2019 season due to a stress response in his decrease again, spent all of 2021 coping with a balky left shoulder and can finally miss the whole thing of 2022 for elements that have been seemingly properly inside his management: a wrist damage that doubtless occurred throughout an offseason motorbike accident, and now a optimistic drug check.
Tatis, who may lose near $three million in wage with the suspension, issued a 198-word assertion through which he stated he “inadvertently took a medicine to deal with ringworm that contained Clostebol.”
Tatis later added that he is “fully devastated,” writing: “There may be nowhere else on the earth I’d somewhat be than on the sector competing with my teammates. After initially interesting the suspension, I’ve realized that my mistake was the reason for this consequence, and for that motive I’ve determined to begin serving my suspension instantly. I sit up for rejoining my teammates on the sector in 2023.”
What does this imply for the Padres?
It would not get any extra deflating than this. Return simply 10 days in the past, when followers lined up outdoors the gates at Petco Park, clamoring to get into the stadium for a midweek sport in opposition to the floundering Colorado Rockies. It was as a result of the crew had simply traded for Soto, sure, nevertheless it was greater than that; it was a palpable pleasure not simply due to what the Padres have been in the meanwhile, however of what they’d be very quickly.
The Padres stripped their farm system naked whereas in pursuit of Soto, and others, as a result of they noticed a possibility to go for it, a perception rooted largely in what the crew completed with out Tatis. With him again within the lineup, they noticed a official championship contender. And with the additions of Soto, Josh Bell, Brandon Drury and Josh Hader, they noticed a crew that might compete with the Yankees, Dodgers, Mets and Astros and any of the behemoths within the sport.
The Padres will nonetheless be good, in fact. They’re nonetheless thought-about prone to make the playoffs, with Ha-seong Kim persevering with to offer stellar protection at shortstop and Trent Grisham persevering with to be a mainstay in heart area. But it surely will not be the identical. It is a main missed alternative, and this isn’t a franchise that may soak up many of those.
Underneath the path of chairman Peter Seidler, the Padres have taken a significant leap of faith, investing closely within the main league roster with the hope that the native followers — inside a metropolis that not too long ago misplaced its NFL crew — would rally round them. Tatis in some ways embodied that method. They rewarded him with an enormous 14-year, $340 million extension in February 2021, billing it as a “statue contract.” And so they basically assembled a star-laden roster round him. Tatis hasn’t lived as much as his finish of it largely as a result of he hasn’t acted responsibly, as evidenced by the 2 causes he’ll miss all of 2022.
The Padres’ assertion was noticeably curt and by no means supportive, ending with the next line: “We absolutely help the Program and are hopeful that Fernando will be taught from this expertise.” Later, Padres common supervisor A.J. Preller alluded to trust issues whereas chatting with reporters in Washington, D.C.
What does this imply for MLB?
It is a black mark for the sport any time one in every of its star gamers will get busted for alleged dishonest (a side of this that Tatis denies). Tatis’ suspension is up there with prior ones for Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Miguel Tejada, Manny Ramirez and Ryan Braun. He is that massive a star; he signifies that a lot to the game.
Tatis embodies the kind of athlete Main League Baseball desires to market — bilingual, handsome, charismatic, flashy, supremely gifted. Now Tatis should stay with the stigma of this for the remainder of his profession, the extent of which is unattainable to find out in the meanwhile. His picture may by no means absolutely get well.
What does this drug do?
Clostebol is a testosterone-boosting anabolic steroid that’s banned by the World Anti-Doping Company and has been on MLB’s banned record because it started testing for steroids in 2003. Clostebol was one of many substances Dee Gordon examined optimistic for in 2016, on the heels of a batting title. Freddy Galvis additionally examined optimistic for it in 2012.
Tatis, nevertheless, is a a lot greater star, standing as the one participant in main league historical past with 80 house runs and 50 stolen bases inside the first 300 video games of his profession. He’s now the third participant within the growth period (since 1961) to complete inside the high three in MVP voting after which miss your complete following season, in keeping with ESPN Stats & Data analysis. The others have been Moises Alou, who missed the 1999 season due to a torn ACL, and Sandy Koufax, who retired after profitable a Cy Younger in 1966.