Padres Postseason Run Means Fernando Tatis Jr. Can Return Earlier Next Season

The San Diego Padres have made a surprising run to the National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, which has undoubtedly been extremely exciting for Padres fans.

But the good news doesn't stop there, because extending the playoff run will help them get their best player back sooner rather than later.

When Fernando Tatis Jr. was suspended 80 games for violating MLB's performance-enhancing substance ban, it was initially assumed that the star shortstop wouldn't be eligible to return until May 2023.

But as Padres beat writer Kevin Acee reported, any postseason games the team plays count towards the suspension, per the agreement between MLB and the union.

Reaching the NLCS means the team can get Tatis back another 4-7 games earlier than expected, which means next year's Padres lineup will be at full strength well before expected.

With the NLCS beginning Tuesday night against the Phillies, the team has an opportunity to speed up Tatis Jr.'s return even further if they're able to advance to the World Series later this month.

And with the Padres benefitting from timely hitting from their worst hitters, excellent relief pitching helped along by extremely poor umpiring, and an expanded postseason that helped get them into the playoffs in the first place, this news makes their postseason success that much more valuable.

Who knows, with Tatis now becoming available for most of 2023, maybe next season they'll be secure enough in their fanbase to not restrict postseason ticket sales to the local San Diego area out of fear that their ballpark will be taken over by Dodgers fans.