The Phillies continue to overhaul their bench this offseason, coming to terms with lefty outfielder Laynce Nix on a two-year deal. Nix joins earlier additions Jim Thome and Ty Wigginton among the reserve options Charlie Manuel will have available next season. Financial terms are not yet available.
Nix, 31, plays all three outfield positions and seems most likely to serve as the long half of a platoon in left field with John Mayberry Jr; both also could see time at first base early in the season until Ryan Howard returns from injury. With the Nationals in 2011, Nix put up a .250/.299/.451 line, with 16 homers in 351 plate appearances; all 16 came against right-handed pitchers. For his career, Nix has a .253/.296/.451 line against righties, compared to .181/.235/.271 facing left-handers.
While Nix's career numbers are unspectacular--as seen by the fact that this is his first major-league contract entering a season--his last three seasons have been his best by far in the majors, as he's posted OPS+ figures of 99, 114 and 103. Nix spent 2009 and 2010 with the Reds before joining Washington last season. The Phils will be his fifth big-league team, following earlier stints with the Rangers and Brewers.
As Jim Salisbury notes in the article linked above, the signing probably means that Raul Ibanez won't be returning to Philadelphia in 2012. Nix's production against righthanders in 2011 was almost eerily similar to Ibanez's performance, and--while this obviously is a pretty low bar--he's considered a much better defender. Presumably the price tag will be far more modest as well.