Former Major League Baseball players Roger Bernadina and Wilin Rosario are looking for their next big league gigs, according to reports by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. They spent the past season on different teams in the Korea Baseball Organization and, as Crasnick points out, may be looking to resuscitate their careers in the U.S. à la backup-outfielder-turned-slugger Eric Thames.
Bernadina, 33, debuted with the Nationals in 2008 and cycled through several stints with the Phillies, Reds and Dodgers before hanging up his cleats after the 2014 season. The veteran outfielder capped his seven-year career in the majors with a .236/.307/.354 batting line, 28 home runs and a cumulative 1.2 fWAR and made his rounds in the minors for several years before picking up a gig with the Kia Tigers during the 2016 offseason.
The new hitting environment transformed his production levels in 2017. Bernadina slashed .320/.372/.540 through 621 PA with the Tigers in 2017, tacking on a career-best 27 home runs, eight triples and a .913 OPS.
Rosario, 28, was also successful overseas. He had a couple of decent years with the Rockies during his five-year stint in the big leagues, but found himself out of a job once Nick Hundley joined the club. Prior to the 2016 season, he packed up his .273/.306/.473 batting line and 71 career home runs and signed on with the Hanwha Eagles. The catcher/first baseman found KBO much more to his liking, producing 70 total home runs and a .300+ average in each of his two seasons with the team.
No teams have come forward with offers yet, and there’s no guarantee that either Bernadina or Rosario will find a suitable landing place before the start of the 2018 season. Rosario tried to stage a comeback last winter, but his lackluster stats and underwhelming performance behind the dish limited his options, and he eventually re-upped with the Eagles instead.
MLBPA player representative Max Scherzer sent out a short statement late Wednesday night regarding the ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. On Tuesday, ownership proposed a “sliding scale” salary structure on top of the prorated pay cuts the players already agreed to back in March. The union rejected the proposal, with many worrying that it would drive a wedge in the union’s constituency.
Scherzer is one of eight players on the MLBPA executive subcommittee along with Andrew Miller, Daniel Murphy, Elvis Andrus, Cory Gearrin, Chris Iannetta, James Paxton, and Collin McHugh.
After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions. We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received. I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.
Indeed, aside from the Braves, every other teams’ books are closed, so there has been no way to fact-check any of the owners’ claims. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, for example, recently said that 70 percent of the Cubs’ revenues come from “gameday operations” (ticket sales, concessions, etc.). But it went unsubstantiated because the Cubs’ books are closed. The league has only acknowledged some of the union’s many requests for documentation. Without supporting evidence, Ricketts’ claim, like countless others from team executives, can only be taken as an attempt to manipulate public sentiment.
Early Thursday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLBPA plans to offer a counter-proposal to MLB in which the union would suggest a season of more than 100 games and fully guaranteed prorated salaries. It seems like the two sides are quite far apart, so it may take longer than expected for them to reach an agreement.