MLB Loses One of Its Biggest Young Stars — What Else Can Go Wrong for Baseball?

San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. could be out up to three months with a fractured wrist

Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres celebrates after hitting a home run
Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres celebrates after hitting a home run.
Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty

In a crushing blow to the Padres and Major League Baseball as a whole, San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Prelle announced that Fernando Tatis Jr. fractured his wrist during the offseason and needs surgery that will sideline him up to three months. How the injury occurred is unclear, but the fracture potentially occurred early in the offseason and flared back up when Tatis began to swing a bat a few weeks ago, per the team’s website.

There may be more details to come as reports surfaced in December that Tatis suffered scrapes on his hand and knee in a motorcycle accident in the Dominican Republic, according to The Associated Press. For a 23-year-old who dealt with a back ailment that ended his season in mid-August in 2019 and had a series of injuries to his left shoulder last year but still led the National League with 42 home runs in 130 games, a motorcycle accident is definitely not what the doctor ordered, even though Tatis said he only suffered “bumps and bruises” in the accident(s).

“It’s terrible,” Tatis said on Monday during the first full day of Padres camp. “I feel like everybody’s disappointed, especially me. I feel like we have a pretty good chance this year as a team, and I just want to be out there for my teammates.”

One of the game’s best young players, Tatis is a pleasure to watch and a rare recognizable superstar in a sport that has found itself lacking true star power in recent years. With news of MLB resolving its lockout almost immediately superseded in the sports media world with reports of star NFL quarterback Deshaun Watson hitting the trade market after a year of legal struggles only to be followed up by Tom Brady announcing his return to football, baseball can ill afford to lose a top talent like Tatis. Unfortunately, he may not be back on the diamond until July if the three-month timetable holds.

At least it sounds like he will be back:

Meanwhile, MLB free agency continues to roll on. But with the legal tampering period opening in the NFL on Monday before free agency opens in earnest on Wednesday, most MLB signings are going to be relegated to back-page news as the sports world focuses on football. Had MLB owners and players gotten their crap together and reached an agreement a bit earlier, baseball’s offseason would have had some time to operate and draw interest without having to compete with the NFL. That didn’t happen and now America’s Pastime is back to being yesterday’s news.

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