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Roger Bernadina was one of 15 different players to see time in the outfield for the Phillies this season. He’s one amongst a crowd of underachievers and injury replacements, yet he somehow managed to be the most divisively graded player to date in this series.
Signed two days after his release from the Nationals in August, Bernadina was looked to to be a center field stop gap as it became more clear that Ben Revere would not be returning from his injury. Bernadina’s descent was steep; his 2012 was a rather excellent reserve season (.291/.372/.405 in 261 PA) but his 2013 started slowly and never recovered. He lost playing time to the younger and only slightly more effective Steve Lombardozzi and Tyler Moore – likely mainly because of age, but with due consideration to Bernadina’s arbitration eligibility – and after collecting just two hits in only 20 PA from the start of July to mid-August, he was set free.
So the Phillies, having tired of trying to pretend that one of John Mayberry or Michael Martinez was capable of playing the position, picked up Bernadina, ostensibly as a tryout for 2014. The tryout wasn’t a great one.
Bernadina’s bat, no more corporeal in a different shade of red, produced a .187/.256/.347 line in 83 Philly PA, plus a net zero of Good Fielding Plays and Defensive Misplays, according to Baseball Info Solutions. He drew four walks against 21 strikeouts, and having a .231 BABIP can only excuse you of so much when you’re striking out at that rate and not hitting a few more dingers. What’s more, Bernadina actually featured a reverse platoon split in Philadelphia (SSS alert).
The long and short of it is that Bernadina, in the relatively little time he was given, did not prove to be useful in his designated roles. He didn’t hit. He proved to be only a slightly more capable center fielder than the bench bats he replaced. He was unremarkable.
Still, the chance Bernadina remains on the 40-man roster and breaks camp with the club next spring is non-zero. He’s at the fringe definition of “versatile” in the outfield, hits left-handed and won’t cost as much in his second arbitration year as, say, Nate Schierholtz cost the Cubs.
But the fact of the matter is that Bernadina failed his tryout. He’ll be 30 in June and is likely to be bumped down to no better than fifth outfielder, assuming the Phillies locate the right field upgrade many of us hope they pursue. Is it worth paying in the neighborhood of $2 million for a fifth outfielder on a transitioning team? Don’t bet on it.
UPDATE: Bernadina was outrighted off the 40-man roster the day of this post.