Fernando Tatis Jr.

Still upset the White Sox traded Fernando Tatis Jr.? Well, they reportedly agreed to sign his little brother

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USA TODAY

Still upset the White Sox traded Fernando Tatis Jr.? Well, they reportedly agreed to sign his little brother

The White Sox are hardly short on talented young players.

But as their rebuilding effort moves toward days of planned perennial contention, South Side baseball fans tend to think the future would look even brighter had the team not dealt away Fernando Tatis Jr.

The No. 2 prospect in the game — ranked one spot ahead of White Sox left fielder Eloy Jimenez — has already hit three home runs this season for the San Diego Padres, who acquired him from the White Sox in a 2016 trade that brought James Shields to the South Side. He figures to man the left side of the Padres' infield — next to Manny Machado — for years to come.

Well, the White Sox reportedly have found another Tatis to try to turn into a part of their future plans.

Elijah, the younger brother of the prospect the White Sox let get away, is just 17 years old. That's the same age Fernando was when the White Sox traded him away.

This latest Tatis is not the first legacy signing the White Sox have made in recent months. They signed Jimenez's younger brother, Enoy, over the offseason.

Will this signing make fans forget that the Padres' shortstop could be a big part of the White Sox plans? Probably not. It likely won't make general manager Rick Hahn forget either. But another name of note joins the organization.

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Rick Hahn referred to himself as a 'jackass' as Fernando Tatis Jr. came up again at SoxFest

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USA TODAY

Rick Hahn referred to himself as a 'jackass' as Fernando Tatis Jr. came up again at SoxFest

The White Sox farm system is undoubtedly loaded.

Rick Hahn pulled off three big trades in 2016 and 2017 to import Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech, Dylan Cease, Reynaldo Lopez, Yoan Moncada, Dane Dunning, Luis Basabe and Lucas Giolito into the organization. Add the other talent acquired through the draft or international signings, and there are few better systems in the game.

So why did the White Sox general manager refer to himself as a "jackass" on Saturday?

In what seems to be an annual tradition now at SoxFest, there was mention of Fernando Tatis Jr., one of the highest-rated prospects in baseball and a one-time White Sox signee who was traded to the San Diego Padres in the deal for James Shields just months before the start of the rebuild.

It's arguably the lone mistake Hahn & Co. have made during this rebuilding process (and it technically took place before the process started), with Tatis closing in on the majors and widely regarded as one of the best young talents around. Tatis was just 17 years old when the White Sox made the deal and had yet to play a minor league game. But that hasn't been much of an excuse in the minds of White Sox fans, who in an alternate reality could've seen Tatis and Eloy Jimenez sharing spots at the top of the prospect rankings.

Last year, a fan lobbed a question toward members of the front office during a panel Hahn wasn't a part of: "How could you whiff on him?" This year, Hahn took the initiative himself.

While praising the organization's success in the international-signing department, Hahn was listing the achievements of the department run by Marco Paddy and eventually got to Tatis, offering up a self-critique in the process.

"Since we’ve hired Marco Paddy and the staff he’s put together internationally, we’ve been as strong as anybody," Hahn said. "Signing Luis Robert, which was an example of us being strong internationally, did put us in the penalty box for a couple years, and we had to use some of that slot money in different ways to add talent. But his first signing was Micker Adolfo, who’s becoming one of the better prospects in the organization.

"He also signed someone that some jackass traded, a pretty good prospect by the name of Tatis."

Ouch. Self burn.

Hahn was likely poking fun at the social-media criticism he receives for making the move as much as he was perhaps admitting any regret at dealing away a guy who turned into a top prospect.

Of course, what shouldn't be lost in all that is that the White Sox have a pair of international signees in the system who figure to one day be a part of the outfield of the future. Nor should it be forgotten that Hahn has made a bevy of moves that have loaded the system and made the future extremely bright.

But if Tatis blossoms into an All-Star shortstop with the Padres, then he'll always be the one who got away.

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Fernando Tatis Jr. is the prospect who got away: White Sox fans, read this at your own risk

Fernando Tatis Jr. is the prospect who got away: White Sox fans, read this at your own risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Fernando Tatis, Jr. is one of the brightest future stars in the game. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the No. 3 prospect in all of baseball, one spot behind Eloy Jimenez.

He’s a five-tool shortstop slashing .289/.359/.509 at Double-A San Antonio with 15 home runs, 42 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 85 games. He’s bilingual, charismatic, the kind of guy who could be a face of a franchise.

And two years ago, he was property of the White Sox.

That was until they traded Tatis, who was only 17 at the time, to the Padres for James Shields. Tatis had yet to play a single game in the White Sox farm system, so it was tough to predict his future. However, speaking with Tatis before he competed in the MLB Futures Game on Sunday, the trade was definitely a shock to him.

“I was surprised. It was weird. For a kid that young to get traded, I had never heard of it. When they told me that, I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘What’s going on?’” Tatis said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

No front office is going to bat 1.000, and when it comes to Tatis, this is a trade the White Sox would love to have back.

But first, more perspective.

In June of 2016, six months before the White Sox started their rebuild, they were 29-26, a game and a half out of first place. With Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and a healthy Carlos Rodon anchoring their rotation, they felt that with the addition of Shields, they could compete for the division.

Unfortunately, perception didn’t meet reality. Shields struggled on the mound with the White Sox in 2016 and 2017. His numbers have improved considerably, and he could return the White Sox another prospect if he’s dealt before the trade deadline. However, it’s unlikely they’ll receive a player with the potential that Tatis has right now.

“(The trade) was about getting a good starter so they could get to the playoffs. I understood. I know this game is a business,” Tatis said.

Before the trade occurred, Tatis looked into his future and saw a day when he’d be the White Sox starting shortstop.

“Yeah, that was my goal when (White Sox director of international scouting) Marco Paddy signed me,” Tatis said. “We talked about it when I started and that was the goal.”

His goal now is to make it to the major leagues with the Padres.

“I’m pretty close. I want to keep working. When they decide to call me up, I’ll be ready.”

As for his former team, he’s impressed with the talent the White Sox have assembled.

“They’re building something special. They have really good prospects. I wish the best for them.”

You can’t help but wonder what the rebuild would look like if Tatis was along for the ride. He’s the one who got away.