Roger Bernadina, we hardly knew ye.
Bernadina’s release on Thursday by the Philadelphia Phillies signaled that GM Ruben Amaro means what he says about upgrading the outfield in the offseason. Bernadina had been mentioned by several Phillies beat reporters as having a future in the organization at the end of the season because he brought a unique defensive skill set to a group of outfielders who sorely lacked similar ability to track down a baseball.
It was the offensive side of Bernadina that turned the Phillies off to him, though. Bernadina struggled to find the stroke that made him the longest-tenured member of the Washington Nationals before they released him in August, and if the Phillies are serious about making a move on the Nationals and the Atlanta Braves, they cannot make reclamation projects of their castoffs.
Bernadina was released by the Nationals after hitting .178 this season. When he followed that with a .187 average in his final 27 games, the Phillies had seen enough. The Phillies have to go after some big-ticket outfielders of their own, and one look at the free-agent list strengthens the belief that the Phillies will try to negotiate a trade for a right-handed hitting outfielder rather than sign the more high-profile left-handed hitting free agents that are available. The Phillies have some pieces in their minor-league system they can offer for a big-time outfielder, particularly at a position of strength like third base.
The release of a defensively intriguing player like Bernadina signals that something big could be up in the Phils’ outfield plans no later than the Winter Meetings in December.