After yet another loss, the Washington Nationals sit in sole possession of third place in the NL East at 29-31.
There’s really nothing else to say. We’ve addressed their issues here over and over, but the fact is that Washington just needs to get healthy and they should be okay. Most of their players are mired in slumps, and in front of a doubleheader with the Minnesota Twins, the Nationals have called up Chris Marrero, their 2006 draft pick who they are calling a 1B/OF. Wait a minute, that’s odd, Marrero was once considered the Nationals’ First Baseman of the future, now he’s called up as the 26th man for a doubleheader as a dual-position player.
That makes me wonder: Does this mean Roger Bernadina‘s days on the big league roster are numbered? We all remember, at least those Nationals fans who didn’t jump on the 2012 bandwagon, how Bernadina introduced himself to us in 2010. In his first 63 games as an everyday player, Bernadina hit .282/.345/.436 with 5 HRs and 24 RBIs, striking out 37 times and walking 15 times. Bernadina looked like he was on his way to an everyday role at the top of Washington’s lineup for years to come.
Except, the Nationals had a whole other half of the season to play, and Bernadina did not seem aware of that. In his next 71 games, Bernadina hit .219/.278/.343 with 6 HRs and 23 RBIs, striking out 56 times (!!) to just 20 walks. We all know how pitchers make adjustments to rookie hitters and how rookie hitters need to make adjustments as the league learns about them. Well, Bernadina never seemed to do that, and just like that, Bernadina became an enigmatic player, seemingly able to make every defensive play and at times, looking like a Major League hitter.
Bernadina had seemed to find his niche as a fourth outfielder, being able to come off the bench and being productive as both a hitter and defensive outfielder. This year, however, Bernadina, along with the rest of the Nationals’ bench, has been less than stellar, perhaps even warranting the aforementioned Marrero call-up. Bernadina has batted .170/.228/.287/2 HR/4 RBI/28 K/5 BB in 2013, his worst offensive year to date. With the way the Nationals have struggled, it would not surprise me if Bernadina soon finds himself designated for assignment or on waivers.
Washington has two options. Marrero is one, as he’s had a great offensive year in Triple-A and deserves a shot, but he is not a straight outfielder, so a guy like Corey Brown makes a little more sense. Brown, in his minor league career, is a .268/.353/.490 hitter with 114 Hrs, 377 RBIs and 757 strikeouts to 302 walks. Marrero is a slightly better average hitter, as his career stats are .286/.353/.456 with 96 HRs, 435 RBIs and 565 strikeouts to 263 walks. Neither of them really profile as a direct comparison to Bernadina, but at this point, Washington needs to weigh all their options.
Bernadina, at this point, can not crack a replacement lineup, as the Nationals have Jeff Kobernus leading off today in Denard Span‘s place. If I had told you that Kobernus was the leadoff hitter in Span’s place on June 9 before the season started, you would have slapped me.
But that’s how far we have come.