The Yankees have been connected to just about every top free agent this off-season, but nobody expected them to be involved with San Diego Padre superstar infielder Fernando Tatís Jr.
While it is a long shot the Yankees even come close to acquiring the 23-year-old shortstop, a report over the weekend indicated they had been intrigued by what he may cost.
According to Rick DiPietro of ESPN radio, the Yankees have kicked the tires on Fernando Tatis, coming off a broken wrist and PED suspension. Maybe, they can capitalize on his diminished value, but his contract is extreme.
Of course, this could be entirely false, and more likely than not, it is a sensationalized game of telephone. However, if there’s even a small chance that Tatís is on the market after breaking his wrist in a motorcycle accident and testing positive for PEDs, his value is at an all-time low.
Despite all of the negative variables working against him, Tatís would garner a monster trade, but the Yankees are one of the few teams that have that type of prospect capital to spend.
The Yankees would have to take on Fernando Tatís’s contract:
The Padres recently extended Tatís on a 14-year, $340 million deal, but interestingly, he will still be younger than Aaron Judge when it expires during his 35-year-old season. Tatís is set to earn $7 million during the 2023 season, with his price tag increasing to about $20 million in 2025 until 2027, when his cost gradually increases.
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At just 23 years old, Tatís is one year older than Oswald Peraza, who would undoubtedly be the focus of a prospective trade package. In 2021 before the injury and PEDs, Tatís hit .282 with a 36.4% on-base rate, including 42 homers and 97 RBIs with 25 stolen bases. He fits the Yankees’ mold exactly in the batter’s box, but his defense still requires a lot of work. He posted a .940 fielding percentage in 2021 across 842.1 innings, accruing 21 errors and -6 defensive runs saved above average. He was far better in 2020 over a smaller sample size, but there’s plenty of time for him to increase his metrics as a defender.
The problem with Tatís is that he’s untrustworthy and immature, but at such a ripe age, it is easy to overlook those negative variables and justify acquiring him when he’s at his lowest value point.
Despite buying low, the Yankees may have to give up Anthony Volpe, let alone Peraza, to get the deal done, and that is not even to mention other star prospects that would have to be included, notably Jasson Dominguez.
It seems like too much of a risk for general manager Brian Cashman, especially with their high hopes regarding Volpe and Dominguez as potential starters. However, Tatís is a bonafide superstar with Hall of Fame potential, so there is a strong argument to make that prospect hugging is not the right strategy if he were to be available.