I guess that’s the biggest question mark in the wake of yesterday’s deal, where the Nats released the longest serving member of their franchise Roger Bernadina and traded for a decent bench player in David DeJesus and at least $2.5M worth of contract obligations for PTBNL.
Update: Ken Rosenthal is speculating that the Nats brass may have made this trade because of a “waiver wire mistake.” DeJesus is apparently already back out on waivers again. If this is the case … then I’ll really criticize Mike Rizzo here. If you put in a claim on a Chicago Cubs guy, a team CLEARLY shedding any and all payroll, you have to think they were going to accept the claim. There seems to be more to this story that seems to cast the Nats front office in a questionable light.
For me, Bernadina was a case study in a guy who was just slightly below a good MLB hitter. He wasn’t a 4-A guy; he showed that in spurts he could hit in the majors. But when given full time opportunities in 2010 and 2011 he just couldn’t get it done.
An, in yet another comment that seems to indicate how out of touch Davey Johnson is this season, he was quoted by Amanda Comak as saying that Bernadina is “still kind of a young player” as part of his explanation for why he just couldn’t get it going this season. Really? Kind of a young player? Aged 29. Played in the majors parts of 6 seasons, has more than 1300 major league plate appearances to go with another 3300 plate appearances in the minors, and playing professionally in our system for a decade. Sorry Davey, he’s not a young player anymore. He is what he is; a streaky hitter who was probably lucky last year and unlucky this year, who had his shots to be the full time CF here and just couldn’t hit enough to stick. Great fielder, by all accounts a great guy.
Why release him instead of DFA him? Probably a classy move by the Nats here; by outright releasing him there’s no waiver process, no shenanigans that have been going on related to teams trying to rig the waiver/DFA process. Bernadina was almost guaranteed to be non-tendered this coming off-season anyway, so why not make him a FA now and give him a shot to catch right back on with a team right away?
ps: useless programming note: this is the 600th post at NationalsArmRace! Too bad its on such a down note.
Update: 2 days after his release, Bernadina has signed with Philadelphia after receiving calls from “10 teams.” Good for him; he should get playing time in Philly and maybe he can parlay that into another MLB gig elsewhere.