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  • Ethan Semendinger

Left Field Trades: Fernando Tatis Jr.

The Yankees have at least one player set for each position next year but left field. Is there a player out there to trade for?

 

The Background on Fernando Tatis Jr.:

The son of a major leaguer who has done something that nobody will ever beat- you can watch what it was, here- Fernando Tatis Jr. had all the necessary parts of his background to have a future in the MLB. Outside of having his father playing during his childhood years (and thus getting to be a part of an MLB clubhouse as a kid), Tatis also had the connections to train with the best people growing up, namely former Yankee, Robinson Cano. With all of this, and growing up in the Dominican Republic, Tatis was a top international prospect and in 2015, at the age of 16 he signed with the Chicago White Sox for $825,000.


Fernando Tatis Jr. would be almost non-existent in the White Sox system however, as he was traded to the San Diego Padres at the 2016 trade deadline (with Erik Johnson) for James Shields. Tatis Jr. at that point in his career still hadn't even played a game in professional baseball. He would however, play later in the 2016 season and stick in the minor leagues through the 2018 season, during the later of which he underwent a season-ending surgery for a broken left thumb. Going into that 2018 season, Tatis was a consensus Top-10 prospect.


For 2019, Tatis- who was now a consensus Top-3 prospect- made the San Diego Padres opening day roster and would finish 3rd in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, a result hindered by a season-ending back injury in August. This injury wouldn't return for Tatis, who finished in the Top-5 for the NL MVP in back-to-back years over 2020 and 2021, though before the 2021 season he did sign a record 14-Year/$340 Million extension, and twice during the season he suffered left shoulder subluxations. It was during his rehab after his second injury that he was being transitioned into the outfield with the Padres.


And, now with all of the money in the world and a variety of injuries already in his past we get to the most interesting part of Tatis' background: the 2021-2022 offseason and 2022 season.


Fernando Tatis Jr. missed the beginning of the 2022 season due to a surgery to repair a fractured scaphoid (wrist) bone. When asked what caused the injury, it became apparent that it was due to an offseason motorcycle crash by Tatis while in the Dominican Republic. It is also unknown- but highly speculated- that there was more than one crash that Tatis had that offseason. This surgery was going to keep Tatis off the field for at least 3 months.


And then, after successful surgery and just 4 games at the Double-A level into his rehab stint, Fernando Tatis was served an 80-game suspension on August 12th, for testing positive for the performance-enhancing drug Clostebol. Tatis attempted to blame the use of the drug for treating ringworm, but this excuse was quickly seen through by medical providers. Tatis will now miss the first 12 games of the 2023 season and be destined for the outfield as the San Diego Padres just recently signed former Red Sox shortstop, Xander Bogaerts, to an 11-Year/$280 Million deal.

 

The Stats on Fernando Tatis Jr.:

Having been in the Major Leagues since 2019- and by missing the entire 2022- Fernando Tatis' career has taken place in just parts of 3 seasons up to this point. It's fascinating in some regards about how he was arguably the most notable player in the game, all while playing in less than half the career games of...let's go with: Kosuke Fukudome. Thinking of it like that does really surprise me. However, it doesn't need to be said that what Tatis has done on the field and the statistics he's put up are on the path to being worthy of this type of notoriety.


Across 273 games in his career from 2019 to 2021, Fernando Tatis Jr. has produced to a .292/.369/.596/.965 quadruple slash (160 OPS+) over 1036 at-bats (1175 PA's) with 303 hits, 81 home runs, 144 extra base hits, 195 RBI's, 52 stolen bases (13 times caught), and 119 walks to 324 strikeouts. Combined with his flashy defensive at shortstop (which grades as neither good nor bad), Fernando Tatis Jr. has combined to accumulate +13.6 bWAR and +13.6 fWAR.


Fernando Tatis Jr. is also a 1-time All Star (2021), 2 time Silver Slugger (2020, 21), finished Top-5 in the NL MVP (2020, 21), and Top-3 in the NL Rookie of the Year (2019). During that 2021 season, Tatis Jr. also led the National League in Home Runs with 42.

 

Creating a Trade Proposal for Fernando Tatis Jr.:

One of the best things about looking at trades is trying to theory-craft different ideas for how a player could come over to the Yankees. Now, I am by no means an expert at this and if we want to adapt an old saying from the best in the business: "Your Trade Proposal isn't Very Good". That applies to me as much as it does to you. This doesn't mean that we can't have fun attempting to come up with a general trading principle, but it serves as a reminder that there is a reason none of us are running a major league franchise.


For Fernando Tatis Jr., his value (according to BaseballTradeValues.com) comes out at +112.5 MTV. (MTV means Millions [of dollars] of Trade Value.) That value is calculated to figure out how valuable he will be on his current contract. The fact that he's under control through the 2034 season at a pretty reasonable salary (about $24.3 Million AAV), especially as this will be his age 24 through age 35 seasons. For the sake of this experiment, we're also going to ignore that Fernando Tatis Jr. has a full no-trade clause in his contract and just assume that he'd okay a trade to New York.


To put Tatis' +112.5 MTV into perspective, the highest Yankees player (by MTV) is Anthony Volpe, who boasts a considerable +50.0 MTV. So, this would have to be one heck of a trade.


The first thing we'd have to consider is that Fernando Tatis would also be joining Aaron Judge in the outfield, both of whom have long contracts. Thus, the need for outfield prospects will be less important for the Yankees. To make a deal for Tatis, the deal would have to include Jasson Dominguez and his +26.5 MTV. We now have 86 MTV to go.


Now, the Padres would not be willing to trade Tatis away for a huge package of okay prospects. They'd require the best the Yankees have to offer. Thus, we'll also have to add Volpe and his +50.0 MTV to the mix. 36 MTV to go.


Let's also be fair and consider that getting within 10 MTV will get us the deal. To get that final 26 MTV we can use a mixture of Everson Periera (+16.8 MTV) and Clarke Schmidt (+10.8 MTV). This would get the Yankees offer up to +104.10 MTV. So, we have our deal:


The San Diego Padres Get: Anthony Volpe, Jasson Dominguez, Everson Pereira, Clarke Schmidt

The New York Yankees Get: Fernando Tatis Jr.

 

Would I Do This?

Fernando Tatis Jr. was set to be the face of baseball. He was the flashy, fun, fast, fan-centric, fascinating. And then, through a series of mistakes by a kid in his early twenties, he's slowly become a heel of the sport. Motorcycle crashes leading to injuries was the first mistake. Maybe it could have been ignored or learned from. But, using steroids and trying to come up with an excuse- especially one that was as subpar as his- really turned the sport against him.


And, I have to be honest. I wasn't even a real big fan of his in the first place. The steroid stuff ruined any chance of his to make me a fan. As a matter of a move that I would like as a fan of the New York Yankees, I would not be in favor of it.


As a baseball move, however, it would be the ultimate "we're in it to win it move" by the Yankees. They would be trading for a superstar (as much as I may not like him, this is an undeniable fact) who could be had for the right pieces. His salary ultimately isn't gut wrenching, though it would be a risk seeing if his stats are able to stay the same post-steroid suspension and if he'd be able to stay healthy.


If I ran the Yankees, this would not be the move for me. I'm not a fan in the first place and even with the high ceiling that Tatis could bring, there is far too much risk with his past to make me comfortable giving up what is essentially the Yankees entire future right now.

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