Ex-MLB Manager: 7-8 Teams Willing to Take on Tatis' Contract

MLB experts debate Fernando Tatis Jr.'s market appeal.

by Nouman Rasool
Ex-MLB Manager: 7-8 Teams Willing to Take on Tatis' Contract
© Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

As the 2024 MLB season unfolds, the San Diego Padres find themselves grappling with a challenging trajectory, marked by more losses than victories and erratic player performances. Despite possessing the option to engage in trades, the Padres encounter hurdles due to their players' high salaries and extensive long-term contracts fortified with no-trade clauses.

Among the roster, notable figures like Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, and even Fernando Tatis Jr. are deemed virtually untradeable. In a recent interview with Brian Kenny on MLB Now, former Colorado Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd stirred the debate by suggesting that Tatis might be an exception to the untradeable status.

O'Dowd pointed out Tatis' youthfulness at 25, contrasting it with previous high-profile trades involving older players like Stanton, Cano, Arenado, and Fielder. Emphasizing Tatis' premium defensive prowess in right field, O'Dowd speculated on his market appeal.

However, host Brian Kenny offered a counterpoint, citing Tatis' performance before and after his suspension during the previous season. The statistics reveal a notable decline post-suspension, prompting concerns about consistency and off-field conduct.

Tatis' suspension, stemming from a failed drug test, sidelined him for the first 20 games of the 2024 season, further complicating the narrative surrounding his trade viability.

Tatis' Trade Value

Despite the skepticism raised by Kenny, O'Dowd remained adamant about Tatis' trade potential, highlighting his rare combination of power, speed, and durability.

O'Dowd asserted that Tatis fills a unique niche in the game, which could attract significant interest from prospective trade partners. Addressing the hypothetical scenario of a Tatis trade, O'Dowd speculated that approximately seven or eight teams would eagerly pursue the dynamic outfielder.

This assertion underscores the perceived value of Tatis within the MLB landscape, despite lingering uncertainties surrounding his recent performance and contractual obligations. Since signing that mammoth 14-year, $340 million contract extension with the Padres in February 2021, Tatis has continued to show flashes of his brilliant talent throughout the course of the 2024 season.

Now standing at six home runs, 17 RBIs, and four stolen bases, Tatis is still grabbing attention, even if the statistical fluctuations have had him hit at a .238 average with an OPS at .763. A balancing act for the Padres: With increased speculation around Tatis trade potential, they find themselves in a more direct balancing act: weighing potential deals that could change the entire direction of their franchise this offseason against holding onto the stability that would come from keeping a prized asset during a very difficult season.