According to Adam Kilgore, outfielder Roger Bernadina may not be a lock to make the Nationals out of camp.
Bernadina will be contending with Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel for left field and a bench or platoon role. Nationals manager Jim Riggleman says that Bernadina has “superstar potential” and is “our most physical specimen” but many critics agree that he did not “seize his opportunity” with the team last year despite having 461 plate appearances where he hit just .246 with 11 home runs and 16 stolen bases.
Washington signed Ankiel to a major league deal giving him a guaranteed salary, so it is unlikely that he would be demoted. The same can be said for Matt Stairs, whose power and pinch-hitting experience is no match for Bernadina.
What does this mean for Bernadina? I feel as though people throw around the “potential” card a lot for underachieving guys, and this may be the latest example. To be honest, I don’t ever see him becoming a “superstar” let alone a star, but I do think that he can find some value coming off the bench, even if its with another team.
Unlike last year when he was trying to prove himself at the big league level, he will likely be doing it in Class AAA Syracuse. Does he have the mental toughness to make best of the situation? How well does he have to perform in Spring Training to make the Opening Day roster? Should the Nationals shop him? One things for sure, he will have turn a lot of heads the next month if he wants to earn another shot with Washington.