A lot of White Sox fans probably have trouble watching the San Diego Padres.
Fernando Tatís Jr. has established himself as one of the game’s finest young talents and most exciting players. But to White Sox fans, he’ll always be the one who got away. Or the one who was traded away, rather, as the front office dealt the then-teenaged Tatís Jr. to the Padres right before launching a full-scale rebuilding project in 2016.
Indeed, Tatís Jr. would look good as another one of the White Sox thrilling core players, and Rick Hahn doesn’t need to be reminded of that unfortunate deal — he jokingly called himself a “jackass” for making the trade at SoxFest a few years back.
Fortunately, the White Sox are trying again with another member of the Tatís family.
They inked Tatís Jr.’s younger brother, Elijah, also a shortstop, as a 17-year-old international free agent last summer. A year and a half later, the organization has high hopes for the latest Tatís to come under the White Sox employ.
“I think he’s going to be a pleasant surprise to a lot of people,” White Sox special assistant Marco Paddy said during a conference call with reporters last week. “He’s very polished. Very polished defensively. … When you get a young player that repeats his swing with no problem and has the ability to handle the bat real well, obviously, right away, you get excited about it.
“He’s very polished defensively. He can really play some shortstop right now. He’s not as tall as his brother, but he’s very athletic. And he’s got a chance to be a pretty good player.”
Elijah’s still a teenager, of course, and the White Sox are entering win-now mode at the big league level. So he won’t be arriving in time to be a part of the team’s immediate championship expectations. But the White Sox are hoping to keep their contention window open for a while.
Long enough to get Elijah to the bigs and square off against his brother in the World Series?
We’ll have to see about that one. But the team’s happy with its latest Tatís at the moment.