Phillies Should Consider Adding Roger Bernadina

Update: Per Matt Gelb, the Phillies have signed Roger Bernadina.

The Washington Nationals recently released outfielder Roger Bernadina, the culmination of a very poor season in which he has hit .178/.247/.270. Now 29 years old, Bernadina will enter his second year of arbitration eligibility in the off-season after earning $1.21 million in 2013. CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reported that the Phillies have expressed interest.

Bernadina was somewhere between replacement level and league average last year, the best season of his career, accruing 1.7 Wins Above Replacement according to FanGraphs, and 1.0 according to Baseball Reference. A large majority of his success was due to an abnormally-high .359 BABIP and a walk rate three percentage points higher than his previous career-best, leading to a .341 weighted on-base average. In the previous two seasons, he posted a .295 and .305 wOBA, a bit below the league average.

If you trust small samples of defensive data, Bernadina grades out somewhere between slightly below average to slightly above average, spending nearly equivalent time in all three outfield corners. Because the Phillies already have Ben Revere and his bat would only play in center field, Bernadina would have use to the team as a fourth outfielder not unlike the role in which John Mayberry, Jr. served prior to 2013.

Bernadina doesn’t have drastic platoon splits and he has decent speed — he stole 48 bases from 2010-12 — a combination that plays well in the later innings. Should the Phillies continue using Darin Ruf in right field, Bernadina would come in as a defensive replacement, or as a pinch-runner, around the seventh or eighth inning.

One concern is that adding him, especially this late in the season, would siphon away some of the playing time from the younger players who will eventually be called up in September when rosters expand. The Phillies can play Bernadina as little or as much as they feel is warranted. He isn’t a long-time veteran with clout who would complain about getting one start a week, nor is he expensive enough that it would be tough to justify inconsistent playing time.

Factoring in that Bernadina would be relatively cheap and under control for two more years, the Phillies should take a shot with him. His lackluster performance at the plate this year is an aberration, so his numbers should climb back up going forward. He has the profile of a 0.5 to 1.5 WAR player, depending on playing time. As the fiascoes with Laynce Nix, Ty Wigginton, and others showed, it can be hard to find a quality role player, especially one who is young and relatively inexpensive. Bernadina, though unexciting, certainly fits the bill and would be a quick fix to one of the myriad areas the Phillies need to address in the off-season.

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13 comments

  1. joecatz

    August 21, 2013 09:46 AM

    wierd part about Bernadina’s 2012:

    291/372/405 with a .359 BABIP. (he’s a .295 career BABIP guy in 1317 PA)

    233 of his 261 PA came against RHP. His RHP line? 276/359/399 with a .331 BABIP.

    against LHP the dude was 417/481/458 with a .625 babip!! (granted its 28 PA) but that really inflated his overall numbers.

    he’s a career 243/310/360 guy with a .295 babip and his RH career numbers are right in line with that. considering 1122 of his career PA are vs RHP.

    so hes a pure platoon guy. Adequate, if the defense makes up for it, and if you’re actually looking for a platoon player.

    My bigger issue with him is actually the defense. While overall he’s a slightly plus uzr guy, his value comes from his ability to play all three OF positions.

    he’s been 0.1 in LF the last two seasons, 1.0 and 1.5 in CF, and was 4.2 in RF this year. that said, he as a negative UZR fielder in CF until last year, and was really bad in 2010, overall the year he logged close to 1000 innings.

    I’m not saying he isn’t an adequate bench piece, but if the phillies decide that the bench consists of

    Kratz
    Frandsen
    Galvis/hernandez
    RH OF
    LH OF

    if the LH side of that OF portion isn’t a solid power bat off the bench, he better be able to make up for it with exceptional defense.

    Where bernadina FITS is if the plan is to platoon him with Ruf, or another complementary player in the OF, which essentially gives them a 6 man bench, not a 5 man bench.

  2. Pencilfish

    August 21, 2013 11:22 AM

    If MLB doesn’t grant another option year for Hernandez, he must be kept on the 25-roster all year in 2014 or be placed on waivers. Hernandez is a 2B, but he has been experimenting as a CF in the minors as a prelude to a 2014 utility role. Having both Hernandez and Bernadina on the bench seems redundant, especially if Galvis is also being considered. Neither have much power for the LH OF bench role, so I hope we can stash Hernandez in the minors in 2014.

  3. ya

    August 21, 2013 01:29 PM

    Bill, “three percent higher” is not the same as “three percentage points higher”

  4. Pencilfish

    August 21, 2013 02:00 PM

    Bill,

    You should take a 2nd job as a part-time prophet. The Phillies just signed Bernadina.

  5. Andrea

    August 21, 2013 03:02 PM

    I don’t really know who bernadina is, but I assumed you were being sarcastic about him being good for the phils when you cited his inflated numbers and high BABIP.

  6. Scott G

    August 21, 2013 03:25 PM

    Is it a bad thing when I read that the Phillies signed Roger Bernadina, and immediately assume that the Crashburn post that I’d glossed over earlier must have been titled “Phillies should NOT consider adding Roger Bernadina”… Seriously. I thought there was no way the Phillies front office would make any move that this site advocated especially in such a small time frame.

  7. adam

    August 21, 2013 07:04 PM

    can’t believe how fast the mighty phightins have fallen..just two years ago we were the best team in baseball, now were discussing the plus side of signing a 29yo platoon bench outfielder..fml.lol

  8. Tony

    August 22, 2013 07:13 AM

    Good post Adam.

    Has RA sucked guys like Bill down the abyss of foul toxic sewage after these ” glory years” that saw the turn the Phillies into a joke of a franchise ? These are pretty startling and depressing thoughts coming from a writerwho many, including myself, totally fooled as being an astute baseball writer.

    Roger Bernardina ? Really ?

  9. Scott G

    August 22, 2013 07:43 AM

    Tony,

    I don’t really understand your beef. The Phillies aren’t in a place to do anything other than these Bernadina type acquisitions. 1) Because it’s post-July 31 trade deadline, and 2) They’re a bad team that’s currently experimenting with younger players to see who should be around next year.

    I think Bill should actually be considered more astute for being willing/able to comment on fringe moves like this.

    By the way, did anyone hear TMac say “slash” last night when discussing the applicants for the HK scholarship? “Late teens slash early twenty somethings”. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard someone actually say slash before.

  10. hk

    August 22, 2013 07:57 AM

    Tony,

    What’s your point? Are you saying you prefer Michael Martinez to Bernadina on the roster? Are you of the belief that RAJ should stop trying to find players who might help next year? Granted, RAJ’s mismanagement has led the team to where it is right now, but we have all beaten his bad moves to death. Should we ignore the current status of the team and not address the decisions they now face?

  11. joecatz

    August 22, 2013 10:11 AM

    you know theres two ways to approach these types of moves.

    1. we can bitch about the fact that they should have kept Schierholtz, or overshot on Nix, etc.. and now they’re experimenting with Wells and bernadina etc.. till we’re blue in the face with assumptions that everything turns to poo.

    or

    2. We can recognize that they are actually looking at ANALYZING possible bench pieces, hoping to find someone who might be a fit on the cheap next year in a platoon role.

    I don’t have much confidence in Bernadina myself, but at the same time, he’s having an off year, fueled by a lack of playing time and a ridiculously low BABIP. And basically washington forced themselves INTO this move by getting caught with their hand in the DeJesus cookie jar.

    11 other teams went after the guy.

    I guess for me its about finding the bright side here, as I’m really really tired of automatically second guessing and immediately looking for why the decision is a bad decision. So for me, I’m commiting to tempering that between now and the end of the season.

  12. Required

    August 25, 2013 11:11 PM

    Dude can play centerfield. Any questions?

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