So who gets the call up? Roger Bernadina, aka The Flailing Dutchman. Let's look at his line through one week:
23 PA / 3 H / 0 XBH / 4 BB / 5 SO /.167 BA / .318 OBP / .167 SLGBernadina had this to say after he learned he was getting the call: "I was kind of surprised when I got the call up."
Yeah, no shit.
OK, so in fairness to Bernie (golly, can't we at least get good nicknames on this team? Zimmy, Kearnsy, Guzzy, Bergy, Belly, Bernie...), I must stress that we're dealing with an extremely small sample size. It's not fair to draw any conclusions about any player from 23 plate appearances, not Milledge and not Bernadina.
Still, based on Rizzo's own standard, what is it exactly that Bernadina's done in AAA that shows that he deserves to be with the MLB team more than Milledge? Milledge's line is practically identical to Bernadina's, save a couple fewer walks and more Ks, but basically the same bottom line. In fact, they have literally the exact same BA and SLG.
And before you tell me about his defense, let's take note of (again, SSS alert) Bernadina's -6.7 UZR/150 in 20 career games--over the course of a full season he'd cost the team almost 7 runs. He was even worse in CF.
How do you square that with this from Rizz, via Harlan:
Milledge's demotion, Rizzo said, doubled as a "message that we need for players to perform. We need players to adapt to the major leagues, and we need players to perform.Oh, also we have this from Rizzo, FWIW:
"Lastings Milledge plays extremely hard. I have very little problems with Lastings' attitude and his work ethic."If he's trying to send a message about his attitude, as some have speculated, that's a weird package to send it in. I know most people seem convinced that this is all about Milledge lack of professionalism, attitude, whatever... but let's consider for a moment that maybe Rizzo, who is not known for his guile, is telling it straight here. Milledge is not getting sent down because he missed a team meeting on his birthday (or whatever other egregious transgressions he's committed that the team isn't telling us about).
Some of the speculation in the last 24 hours was that Milledge was going down to room for Alex Cintron. Because of the rash of injuries to all our replacement-level second basemen, we're really kinda out of bodies, so someone has to go. Unfortunate, but Lastings has options, other guys don't, so until Harris or someone else comes back, Milledge goes down. But now we know that's not the deal, because his spot is being taken by Bernadina.
So why did they make this move? More and more, I'm with Harper. It's just a panic move. They're 0-7, and Rizzo feels the need to do something... anything. It's not a good omen for the current leadership of the team, but it's certainly possible that this is a move that will have little lasting significance. As I said yesterday, we shall see.