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Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr.: Position Change to CF from SS 'Not out of the Question'

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJuly 2, 2022

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. said a move to center field is "not out of the question," per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

"I like winning ballgames," Tatis said. "If it means we're going to win more ballgames like that, I’ll do it that way."

The All-Star also said he has been shagging balls in the outfield.

Tatis has missed the entire 2022 season while recovering from a broken wrist, and he is not expected back until after the All-Star break. Ha-Seong Kim has filled in admirably at shortstop, which could push Tatis to the outfield.

Though he has primarily played shortstop in his professional career, Tatis made seven appearances at center field last season and 20 in right field.

After the season, Tatis told reporters his plan was to return to shortstop exclusively in 2022 and beyond.

"(A.J. Preller) signed a shortstop, and he's gonna have a shortstop," he said. "That’s the plan so far, and I'm not planning on moving for a very long time from there."

The 23-year-old has been inconsistent in the field, however, totaling minus-nine defensive runs saved over his three-year career, per FanGraphs. He was minus-six in the category last year alone.

Kim has 13 defensive runs saved over the past two years as a shortstop, including a plus-four mark this season, per FanGraphs.

Tatis is the far superior hitter and was an MVP candidate in each of the past two years. He finished last season hitting .282 with a .364 on-base percentage, 42 home runs and 25 stolen bases. His .975 OPS ranked fourth in the majors.

Kim has just a .223 average with four home runs with a .653 OPS this year.

The Padres could still fit both in the lineup with Tatis replacing the struggling Trent Grisham in center field, adding a huge bat to the offense without taking away Kim's strong defensive ability.

Tatis' apparent willingness to change positions could be a significant boost for San Diego's title hopes.

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