Fernando Tatis Jr.

In stunning MLB news on Friday night, San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. was suspended for 80 games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Tatis Jr. tested positive for the banned substance Clostebol (he released a statement after the news broke).

The 23-year-old shortstop — who was on the cover of the video game MLB The Show 21 — hadn’t even played in an MLB game this season due to a fractured wrist suffered in the offseason.

Padres president of baseball operations and general manager A.J. Preller didn’t confirm how the injury happened, but he did refer to a motorcycle accident Tatis was in last December in the Dominican Republic. And when asked about the motorcycle accident by media in March, Tatis implied that there were multiple accidents: “Which one?”

And while Tatis was finally nearing a return (he’s been on a minor-league rehab assignment), he was hit with the PED suspension.

Well, Preller spoke with the media after the Tatis Jr. news broke on Friday night, and he’s clearly quite unhappy about the news.

First off, Preller claims he was unaware of Tatis failing a drug test until 3:45 pm ET on Friday.

Preller then questioned Tatis’ maturity- or lack thereof. And he referred to it “as more of a pattern.”

According to Dennis Lin of The Athletic, Preller told the media, “I think we’re hoping that from the offseason to now, that there would be some more maturity. And obviously, with the news today, it’s more of a pattern and something we’ve got to dig a little bit more into.”

Preller added (per Lin), “I’m sure [Tatis is] very disappointed, but at the end of the day, it’s one thing to say you. You have to start by showing it with your actions.”

Preller referred to a lack of “trust” as well, via Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune: “I think we what we need to get to is a point in time where we trust. Over the course of the last six or seven months, I think that’s been something that we haven’t really been able to have.”

So, those are pretty honest comments, especially from a general manager about one of the team’s star players. Preller and the Padres signed Tatis to a 14-year, $340 million contract in February 2021, and Tatis proceeded to be worth 7.3 wins above replacement per FanGraphs (he led MLB position players) in the 2021 season.

Preller went bonkers ahead of the Aug. 2 trade deadline, acquiring Juan Soto and Josh Bell in a blockbuster trade with the Washington Nationals. He also acquired Josh Hader and Brandon Drury in separate trades.

The thinking was that the Padres would be adding all of that to go with the return of Tatis, and then they may be a juggernaut on paper entering October. They’re still a really good team (entering play on Friday with a 63-51 record, and they’re a more talented team after the recent trades), but the absence of Tatis certainly lowers their hypothetical ceiling and title odds.

If Preller truly was completely unaware of the Tatis PED usage and suspension, it’s easy to understand how he’d be fuming after the effort he just made to help the Padres’ title chances.

Related: Padres stars speak candidly on Fernando Tatis Jr. after PED suspension

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at mclapp@thecomeback.com.