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What’s Bernadina’s future with Nats?

Dec 5, 2011, 7:56 PM EDT

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Roger Bernadina faces an uncertain future with the Nationals.

DALLAS — A year ago at this time, Roger Bernadina appeared to figure into the Nationals' plans, both in the short- and long-term. The talented-but-inconsistent outfielder was at worst going to serve as part of a platoon in left field with Michael Morse and perhaps wind up as the everyday center fielder.

One year later, Bernadina's future with the Nationals looks murky. He's still on the 40-man roster and he's still under team control at a minimum salary level — he just barely missed qualifying for "Super 2" arbitration status — but no one's talking about him as a potential starter in left or center fields. And he's not really being discussed much as an option off the bench, with Davey Johnson pushing for more offensively minded players in that role than athletic, defensive specialists.

So why is Bernadina still on the roster? Because he remains a good insurance policy for the Nationals in case something else happens. If they fail to land a starting center fielder, it would be nice to have Bernadina available. If Adam LaRoche's shoulder isn't healed and Morse has to move back to first base, you'd like to still have Bernadina as an option in left field.

The problem is that the Nationals can't just hang onto Bernadina forever as a fallback plan. He's going to be out of options in 2012, so ifRead more ยป

  1. gonatsgo - Dec 5, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    I never felt that Bernie got a fair shake. He is very athletic and fast and can hit with some pop. I really think his defense and hitting would be consistent if he was playing every day – not just for a few weeks or even a month, but for a season or two. Seems like every time he was supposed to be given a shot, he got hurt or there was not enough time for him to work things out. He was pulled more quickly than some others that were given tons of time and chances. He seems like a great guy and I think maybe for his sake it would be better for him to be with another organization where he could get a new start.

  2. Anonymous - Dec 5, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    Hard to keep up with all of the frequent posts — keep them coming!!!

  3. Todd Boss - Dec 5, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    Never got a fair shake?? He's had nearly 900 major league at bats! http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bernaro01.shtmlSorry; nothing personal, but he's a poor hitter. Career 81 OPS+, career .668 ops+. That's below replacement level. And, if you look at his UZR/150 numbers he wasn't really that good defensively this year either.I'm surprised he hasn't been assigned yet frankly.

  4. P. Cole - Dec 5, 2011 at 8:19 PM

    @Todd Boss – actually, 803 is closer to 800 than 900. But semantics aside, those at-bats have come over 4 years, averaging to only 200 ABs per year.He's never had the chance to be an everyday player for more than a month or so, and has constantly been the odd man out. Perhaps a full year with Rick Eckstein's clipboard would do him wonders like it did for Morse.

  5. P. Cole - Dec 5, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    And, unlike other "speedy" and "defensive" outfielders we've employed previously, Roger can bunt!!!And he was damn near perfect in stolen base attempts most of 2011. I remember the first time he was caught stealing was a blown call by the umpire.We need The Shark!!!

  6. Anonymous - Dec 5, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    He's got almost 900 plate appearances, 800 at bats. Most of them were over the past two years. Problem is, you don't give a guy with an OPS+ in the mid-80s 600 ABs in a season. I've watched him play enough to know he's not a guy good enough to win with. Ankiel, for example, does just about everything better than Bernadina but makes it look easier. Bernadina is a HORRIBLE center fielder. He makes at least one play a month that makes me run screaming from the room (or from my seat like the 4th of July vs the Cubs). Surprised he wasn't DFA'ed. He will probably end up where Slaten ends up.

  7. Section 222 - Dec 5, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    If I remember correctly, the Shark had two defensive plays in the top 25 of the year on MLB network — the snowcone play in center in Nats Park (against the Marlins?), which was in the top 10, and the time he robbed Adam Dunn of a home run in Chicago. He certainly has flashes of brilliance in the field. But I think he's had plenty of chances to show that he can hit MLB pitching and he just can't. The Nats are now ready to contend if they find the right pieces this winter. We just don't have time anymore to give players a few years of playing every day to see if they can become good hitters. Bernadina isn't the only guy whose time is short, or past. (I'm looking at you Ian Desmond.)

  8. NatStat - Dec 5, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    After 10 years of playing professional ball, the Shark either can do the deal or he can't. I like the guy, and he's always been in great physical shape, but both fielding (difficulties going back on a ball in CF) and hitting continue to be inconistent.After 10 years, at whatever level, you're going to be what you're going to be. Anything that he needed to improve on, he should have improved on by now.

  9. joemktg - Dec 5, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    He had a few chances: (1) he had a chance to take over the CF position during last year's ST; (2) he had 2-3 months during the 2011 to take over an OF position; (3) he had a great opportunity to differentiate himself from Ankiel offensively, but it didn't happen; (4) he had an opportunity to take over the leadoff spot; didn't happen.At this point in his career, when given opportunities, you've got to take advantage of it. Didn't happen. Nice ballplayer, nice player to have on the bench, and to gonatsgo point, deserves a shot elsewhere.

  10. Anonymous - Dec 5, 2011 at 8:47 PM

    I am not so sure he'll be in Viera in Feburary, he could be moved by then. He'd likely do better in another organization. The Nats have Werth forever in one corner OF spot, Harper on the way to stay forever in the other, and I am guessing (based upon the constant drum beat to get a CF on the roster via trade or FA) that they don't see Bernadina as an every day CF. He might make a nice 4th OF, gotta like the speed and decent glove, but I think that they do want more of an established MLB bat for that bench spot (though the lefty bat helps some, maybe). Who knows what the future holds for Roger. He has had moments in the minors where he's mashed the ball, maybe he gets it together. Hope so.dfh21

  11. Water23 - Dec 5, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    Yes, I really like him but I think he might end up as part of a deal or a PTBNL from a previous trade. I would think a team like the Indians or Astros would not mind having him for depth. I almost mentioned the Marlins but realized they are now the Marlin$

  12. blovy8 - Dec 5, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    Yeah, but it's pretty easy to see why he's on the roster right now, because there isn't really a better option for center fielder on the team at the moment if everything goes wrong. He's been an effective base stealer, but he doesn't really seem like a guy who can make a living as a pinch runner who can steal a bag when everyone knows he's going to try. I would think they'd cut him loose in spring training early enough to catch on with another club if things aren't desperate, but he doesn't even really figure as a platoon guy given his numbers.

  13. Mark'd - Dec 5, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    Bernies numbers vs RH starters batting 2nd are very good. It's a shame he is a Plan B.

  14. Jeeves - Dec 5, 2011 at 9:27 PM

    I imagine desi is shaking in his boots, section 222.

  15. sjm308 - Dec 5, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    Rizzo and others have always said they don't think he is a CF'r. He will be at best our #4 outfielder and the fact he can play all 3 positions is a plus. If he is starting for us, I am not certain we are playoff bound.

  16. gonatsgo - Dec 5, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    I really feel that with Bixler gone and Bernie the odd man out we have no speed. Can anyone steal a decent base? Desi? Werth? I feel the need – the need for speed!

  17. Anonymous - Dec 5, 2011 at 9:48 PM

    OK, Zuck says the Nats are not hard chargers for CJ Wilson, I am guessing that they are the club that has a 6 year offer in on the guy right now. Just a hunch. Big bat last year in Werth, big SP this year in Wilson. They add Mark DeRosa and Angel Pagan, or some comparable pair of shorter term guys, trade away Desmond and or Flores for some future pieces and fill in the bench with whomever. Speculative as can be, of course, but that club might win more than it loses.dfh21

  18. Gonat - Dec 5, 2011 at 9:53 PM

    Roger Bernadina is one of those bench guys that can make a difference. Speed kills. 'Nuff said.

  19. Section 222 - Dec 5, 2011 at 10:15 PM

    Oh Jeeves, come on, lighten up. It was a figure of speech.So are you satisfied with Desmond and his .298 OBP and 80 OPS+ batting leadoff? Or batting anywhere in our lineup if a better alternative is available? If not, why are you giving me a hard time? If so, I'm not sure what to say.

  20. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 5, 2011 at 10:48 PM

    I suspect Jeeves meant Desmond isn't worried about it, not that he, Jeeves, considers Desmond to be The Best Of All Possible Shortstops.

  21. natsfan1a - Dec 5, 2011 at 11:22 PM

    fwiw, I took Jeeves' response to be light-hearted, in which case I would posit that he's already light, and thus doesn't need to lighten up. But that's just me. :-)

  22. Bertie - Dec 6, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    Jeeves said…I imagine desi is shaking in his boots, section 222.December 5, 2011 4:27 PM——————I got his back, Jeeves…..

  23. sjm308 - Dec 6, 2011 at 2:14 AM

    I read that to mean that Desi has no concerns about what happens to someone else. These guys have to take care of themselves and if they are reading blogs or worrying about other players its going to distract from their game. Both Davey & Rizzo have come out in support of Desi (as well as UNKD) and I think that is what Jeeves is trying to say in a funny way.

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