When the San Diego Padres announced Fernando Tatis Jr. had tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday it felt like a closet full of other shoes were about to drop. After San Diego smoked the Colorado Rockies 8-1 in Denver Tuesday night, we the kind of news many were expecting. The Padres could now be on the verge of a full-blown outbreak.
Tatis, Jurickson Profar and Jorge Mateo were all put on the COVID-related injured list on Tuesday afternoon. Tatis tested positive but is asymptomatic, while Profar and Mateo were close contacts and have been put on the IL due to contact tracing protocols. Then Wil Myers left Tuesday's game mysteriously in the bottom of the 3rd inning and it was later revealed that he had also tested positive. Eric Hosmer soon left the game as well due to contact tracing protocols.
The Padres now have five players on the COVID-19-related injured list, and the sense is there could be more coming.
This is MLB's worst nightmare. First Tatis, the up-and-coming face of baseball is out due to COVID, and now the Padres, one-half of the game's best current rivalry and one of its more exciting teams, may have to shut things down. This kind of thing wasn't supposed to happen during the 2021 season, yet here we are.
If MLB grants the Padres "outbreak" status, they could bring up players without concern for roster limits, and players wouldn't need to be waived, outrighted or optioned when others return. But it appears increasingly likely if this trajectory holds that they would be forced to shut down until enough players clear quarantine. There is no available information on who in the clubhouse has been vaccinated, though manager Jayce Tingler said the team is close to the 85 percent mark. The next 24 hours will be interesting to watch. We could have a situation where the virus runs roughshod through the clubhouse in a flashback to 2020.
This potential outbreak follows a 10-day stretch where Chris Paddack was on the IL with no designation, which led many to assume it was COVID-19 related. We can't confirm whether or that that's true.
As of now it appears increasingly likely that the Padres may be forced to shut things down.