Former major leaguers Wilin Rosario, Roger Bernadina and Nolan Reimold are each hoping to return to MLB in 2018, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports (Twitter links). Rosario and Bernadina spent 2017 in the Korea Baseball Organization, while Reimold had a brief stint with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League before retiring in May.
All three players experienced unspectacular big league careers in their first tries, with Rosario enjoying the most success before heading to the KBO after the 2015 campaign. Rosario, who once ranked as Baseball America’s 49th overall prospect, hit a Coors Field-inflated .270/.312/.530 with 28 home runs in 426 plate appearances as a rookie catcher with the Rockies in 2012. He posted similar numbers the next year (.292/.315/.486 with 21 homers in 466 PAs), but his defense behind the plate was a problem even during his best days as a hitter, and his offensive decline from 2014-15 brought an end to his MLB career.
The Rockies designated Rosario for assignment in November 2015, and after he was unable to find a deal to his liking in the majors, he signed with the Hanwha Eagles of the hitter-friendly KBO in January 2016. Rosario played first base in the KBO and tore through the league over the past two seasons, hitting .330/.390/.625 with 70 long balls in 1,042 trips to the plate, and is now seemingly hoping to follow in the footsteps of Eric Thames. Now with the Brewers, who awarded him a three-year, $16MM contract last winter, Thames feasted on KBO pitching from 2014-16 after serving as a mediocre major league hitter from 2011-12. Thames’ KBO output (.348/.449/.715, 126 HRs across 1,638 PAs) was vastly superior to Rosario’s, though, and the latter also made an unsuccessful attempt to rejoin the majors last offseason. There’s no guarantee any MLB teams will have interest in Rosario this time around, then, but he’ll only be 29 in 2018 and could land on the radar of clubs in search of an inexpensive power source.
Bernadina, 33, is fresh off his first season in the KBO, where the outfielder batted .320/.372/.540 with 27 homers and 32 stolen bases over 621 PAs as a member of the Kia Tigers. It was the third straight year outside of the majors for Bernadina, who last appeared in the bigs in 2014 (nine PAs with the Dodgers) and spent 2015-16 at the Triple-A level. In his most productive season in the majors, 2012, Bernadina hit .291/.372/.405 and stole 15 bases in 261 PAs with the Nationals – his team from 2008-13. Overall, Bernadina owns a .236/.307/.354 line in parts of seven major league seasons with the Nats, Phillies, Reds and Dodgers.
Reimold, also an outfielder, put up a .246/.323/.422 line in 1,556 trips to the plate with the Orioles, Blue Jays and Diamondbacks from 2009-16. In his top season, which was also his rookie year, Reimold slashed .279/.365/.466 with personal highs in HRs (15), steals (eight) and PAs (411).