Fernando Tatis Jr.

The baseball world was shocked on Friday after San Diego Padres superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. was suspended 80 games for violating MLB’s performance-enhancing drug policy, by testing positive for Clostebol (Tatis released a statement after the news broke).

Tatis hadn’t played in an MLB game this season after suffering a fractured wrist over the offseason, which (by all indications) happened in a motorcycle accident that Tatis was in last December in the Dominican Republic. And when asked about the motorcycle accident by the media in March, Tatis responded with, “Which one?”

The 23-year-old shortstop had been on a minor-league rehab assignment and was expected to return to the big-league club soon, until Friday’s news.

San Diego president of baseball operations and general manager A.J. Preller spoke to the media on Friday after the suspension news broke, and questioned Tatis’ maturity, referring to it as “more of a pattern.”

Preller was very disappointed and claimed to not know anything about the situation until earlier Friday. This also comes shortly after Preller’s trade-deadline shopping spree that featured acquiring Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Josh Hader, and Brandon Drury. The assumption was with those additions, plus the return of Tatis (who led all MLB position players in FanGraphs’ wins above replacement last season), the Padres would be one of MLB’s most difficult teams to beat in October.

And with those title-contending expectations, it’s understandable that Padres players would be very upset with Tatis’ decision-making.

San Diego veteran starting pitchers Mike Clevinger (3.47 ERA this season and Friday night’s winning pitcher) and Joe Musgrove (an NL All-Star this season) spoke to the media after the Padres beat the Washington Nationals 10-5.

Clevinger told the media (via The Athletic’s Dennis Lin) that this is the “second time [the Padres] have been disappointed with [Tatis], and you hope he grows up and learns from this, and learns that it’s about more than just him right now.”

Musgrove told the media that Tatis has “to start showing a little bit of remorse, and you got to shart showing [the Padres] that you’re committed to it and you want to be here.”

Padres star third baseman Manny Machado told the media that Tatis “hasn’t been a part of this team all year, and [the Padres] have gotten this far without him.”

Via Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune:

“He hasn’t been part of our team all year, and we’ve gotten to this far without him,” Manny Machado said afterward. “We were waiting to get him back and hopefully be a spark plug for the team. But we’ve been doing it all year. Just continue doing it. Same message continues to go since day one. … Continue to believe in the guys that we have here. I think we have the guys to get to where we want to be. Obviously, with the trade deadline and what we did there, we reinforced the team and made the team a lot better. So just continue to keep playing as a team. We still have the same goal, which is to try to make a World Series and try to bring a championship to San Diego.”

Padres players were informed about the news in a pregame team meeting.

As Machado alluded to, the Padres are 64-51 this season, and Tatis didn’t play a single game. Additionally, the Soto, Bell, Hader, and Drury additions over the last two weeks significantly upgrade the team. So, perhaps they can still make a deep October run without Tatis.

And when Tatis returns next season, he’ll have a lot of work to do to earn back the trust of his teammates.

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.