Tatis looking like Padres' SS in near future

Preller may seek short-term option for '18 at Meetings

Tatis looking like Padres' SS in near future

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Fernando Tatis Jr.'s remarkable 2017 campaign is officially over. His impact on the Padres' offseason plans is not.

Tatis, ranked as the club's No. 4 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, put forth a brilliant age 18 season between Class A Fort Wayne and Double-A San Antonio. After 17 games in the Dominican Winter League, the Padres opted to shut Tatis down for the year, believing his 665 plate appearances to be plenty.

Tatis' statement season could very well have an impact on the Padres' preparation for 2018. With a vacancy at shortstop, general manager A.J. Preller must add via trade or free agency this offseason. In doing so, Tatis' presence will loom large. If, indeed, he's the organization's shortstop of the future, it's less likely the Padres look for a long-term solution.

Hot Stove Tracker

"The positive for us, when you talk about shortstop at the big league level, is we have guys in the system who are starting to get closer and closer, guys playing well at high levels," Preller said on Monday at the General Managers Meetings in Orlando, Fla. "Tatis, his performance [this year] was excellent. Tatis, Javier Guerra, Luis Urias, they're some middle-infield candidates for us who are part of our discussion now, as far as acquiring somebody versus letting guys come up through the system."

Each of the past three offseasons, the Padres have signed one-year stopgap options at shortstop -- Clint Barmes in 2015, Alexei Ramirez in '16 and Erick Aybar in '17. Each of the past three offseasons, those moves underwhelmed, given the organization's need for a long-term answer.

Mayo on Padres' Tatis Jr.

With Tatis set to make an impact, perhaps as early as 2019, that need may no longer be there. Essentially, his presence could tilt the Padres toward a short-term option like Aybar or Alcides Escobar, instead of sacrificing prospects in a trade or signing former Reds shortstop Zack Cozart to a multiyear deal.

Tatis batted .281/.390/.520 at Fort Wayne, while setting a TinCaps record with 21 homers this year. He received a late-season promotion to San Antonio, where he batted .255 before coming on strong with a 7-for-20 showing in the postseason. Then, in the Dominican Winter League, Tatis was selected with the top pick by Estrellas de Oriente, and he batted .246/.358/.386 in 17 games.

"For an 18-year-old player to do what he did in the Midwest League, it was impressive," Preller said. "I think the biggest thing for him was to be able to lead his team. His team won. That's an indicator of success, to be as young as he was in the league and be the leading piece on that team."

Chalk Tatis' 2017 season up as a massive success in the eyes of the Padres' front office.

"I think clearly, overall, he was as good as could be expected," Preller said. "The biggest thing now is to go out and get better. Go out and top that next year. That's going to be our challenge to him going into the offseason."

Margot sixth in ROY voting
Center fielder Manuel Margot finished sixth in National League Rookie of the Year Award voting on Monday night, garnering a second-place vote and a pair of third-place votes.

Statcast: Margot's great catch

Once the club's top prospect, Margot batted .263/.313/.409 in his first full big league campaign, while playing excellent defense in center field. Margot finished +8 in Defensive Runs Saved, third among NL center fielders.

The Dodgers' Cody Bellinger won the award, with the Cardinals' Paul DeJong and Pirates' Josh Bell rounding out the top three.

Hand to spare?
Preller said he's fielded phone calls on coveted lefty reliever Brad Hand. In fact, Preller has "had a lot of teams checking in on a lot of our guys." None of those discussions mean a deal is imminent.

"We'll get to know who's more serious about certain things this week, and, I think, leading up to the Winter Meetings," Preller said.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.