Reds To Sign Roger Bernadina

2:10pm: Sheldon has the contract details: Bernadina will make $1MM if he makes the roster. If he does not, he has three opportunities to opt out: March 18, March 28, and July 1.

10:33am: The Reds have agreed to sign outfielder Roger Bernadina to a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite, reports Mark Sheldon of (via Twitter). Cincinnati will be able to control the 29-year-old for one additional year if it wishes, as Bernadina has just under five years of service time.

Bernadina, who swings and throws from the left side, has always offered tantalizing athleticism. He seemed to put things together in 2012 with the Nationals. Over 261 plate appearances, Bernadina slashed .291/.372/.405 with 15 stolen bases. With his solid outfield play factored in, Bernadina was worth 1.7 fWAR to the Nats. Last year, however, he took a step back, ultimately losing his roster spot in D.C. and signing on with the Phillies. For 2013, Bernadina ended up with a .181/.250/.295 triple-slash in 250 disappointing plate appearances, and swiped just four bases after notching at least 15 for three successive seasons.

For the Reds, Bernadina may be more of a depth piece than a likely threat to earn a roster spot. Presumably, he takes the opportunity that would have been given Grady Sizemore. Like Sizemore, Bernadina brings the speed and experience to play center field. But top prospect Billy Hamilton is expected to take the starting spot there. And three other players — Chris Heisey, Skip Schumaker, and Jay Bruce – have at least some experience playing center, which seems to leave enough flexibility to avoid using an active roster spot on the new signee. Of course, an injury or a step back for Hamilton could open the door for the Curacoan native.

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