Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

What will Shark fans do now?


Bernadina's Aug2012 catch in Houston remains a franchise highlight.  Photo

Bernadina’s Aug2012 catch in Houston remains a franchise highlight. Photo

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.

Written by Todd Boss

August 20th, 2013 at 9:35 am

8 Responses to 'What will Shark fans do now?'

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  1. I don’t think Bernie is much of a loss as a player. The stuff around DeJesus is more interesting, but I think that we are missing something.

    If they made a mistake on a waiver claim, then there would not be any other player to be named going to the Cubs. If it was a trade, then they want him and probably will exercise his option for next year (which is how I took it). Not a bad fallback if Span sucks again, I thought.


    20 Aug 13 at 11:43 am

  2. If this was a “waiver wire mistake”, DeJesus would not have been traded for a PTBNL. Cubs would have just given the Nats the contract, like Toronto sending Rios to the CWS several years ago.

    This is probably just due diligence, everyone from the Nats has likely been put on waivers by now.


    20 Aug 13 at 12:59 pm

  3. Waiver issue: I know what you both say makes sense … but then why did the Nats almost immediately put him back on waivers?? I think that’s what has the baseball writers flummoxed. It just seems odd. “Hey welcome to the Nats oh hold on a sec I’ve gotta put your ass on waivers real quick.”

    Todd Boss

    20 Aug 13 at 3:54 pm

  4. That is why it is interesting to me, because it isn’t clear. My guess is that Rizzo is still walking that fine line between selling and going for it, and he might give up and sell everyone who isn’t core. Thinking Haren, maybe a few relief guys (although who would want any of these guys other than Clip?). This just keeps his options open, although it is a little silly to think that he can find a buyer when the Cubs couldn’t.


    20 Aug 13 at 4:14 pm

  5. This was on MLB Trade Rumors. “The Nationals acquired David DeJesus from the Cubs yesterday, only to place him promptly on waivers, leading to speculation about the team’s intentions. Whatever the Nats do, the Cubs are likely only to receive “a nominal amount of cash” back in the deal, reports ESPN Chicago’s Bruce Levine (via Twitter). ”

    Still doesn’t completely explain what happened.


    21 Aug 13 at 7:51 am

  6. I hope that PTBNL turns into some rookie league 4th outfielder or something.

    Todd Boss

    21 Aug 13 at 9:50 am

  7. Good morning everyone!

    Have to wonder how much this relates to the Hairston deal. Recall that the deal was for a PTBNL on both sides. Now the DeJesus transaction. The back story we will not know fr awhile, but a few things for sure and for further consideration:

    1) Pineyro has been great for the Cubbies, better than anyone expected
    2) Hairston, before last night, was nothing more than a salary dump blocking Tyler
    3) Moore is back and Davey needs to get him at bats
    4) A proven option like DeJesus may relate to trade considerations involving Span
    5) Goodwin is not ready yet. I am finding it fascinating to watch him and Burns, both leadoff OF types, in Harrisburg. Burns up to 8 SB, steals third well. Goodwin playing CF is highly regarded defensively around the minors and the Baseball America types
    6) Corey Brown, we hardly knew ye

    The pitching haul in the minors is impressive. Have to hope that the scouting can start churning out position players the same way.

    I still am bullish on Souza and believe he will be back this weekend, just in time for a pennant push.

    Quite impressive to see how Potomac has reloaded rotation with talent. Unbelievable that with their entire opening day rotation gone, the talent they have in there now.

    And hopefully we can see movement from the talented GCL bunch upward. The system is just so power depleted.


    22 Aug 13 at 11:17 am

  8. I’m sure from a Cubs standpoint its entirely a salary dump. They were probably ecstatic to get someone to claim that contract. They’re bottoming out on purpose and would absolutely rather play an OF prospect right now than continue to give ABs to someone not in their 2015 plans.

    Btw, I don’t buy that Rizzo “was interested in DeJesus but wasn’t able to work something out before the deadline.” Really?? You dont’ think that “DeJesus for a PTBNL” wasn’t on the table in July? Hell, you don’t think that deal wasn’t on the table in frigging April? Something doesn’t add up here; why purchase an expensive veteran for bench depth at the same time that you
    a) have three FT outfielders already and
    b) are out of the pennant race, so if anything now’s exactly the time to bring up Moore, Brown, whoever else is on the 40-man roster and give them end-of-season at bats??

    Todd Boss

    22 Aug 13 at 12:06 pm

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