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Nats sign Nix to minor-league deal

Feb 3, 2011, 8:29 PM EDT

The Natonals have signed outfielder Laynce Nix to a minor-league contract with an invitation to big-league camp this spring.

Nix, 30, hit .291 with four homers and 18 RBI in 97 games with the Reds last season. In 483 career major-league games with the Rangers, Brewers and Reds, he has 48 homers and 142 RBI.

A left-handed hitter, Nix faces stiff competition this spring. The Nationals already have five outfielders expected to make the Opening Day roster: Jayson Werth, Nyjer Morgan, Roger Bernadina, Rick Ankiel and Michael Morse. Utilityman Jerry Hairston also figures to get playing time in the outfield.

  1. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    Filling out those split squads.

  2. Water23 - Feb 3, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    Adding decent potential bench players is a sign of Phase II. Granted it is on a minor-league deal but the option is nice!

  3. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 3, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    I say Nyjer Morgan is 50/50 to be on the opening day roster.

  4. Peyton Dowdy - Feb 3, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    I was thinking the same thing NatsJack. Ankeil, Bernadina and Nix all are capable of playing CF. As is Werth.

  5. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    When they signed Laynce Nix, I said Y?When they signed Cla Meredith, I said Y not.

  6. SCNatsFan - Feb 3, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    As long as we aren't signing anyone to contracts that put them on the 40 man I say sign all you can

  7. HHover - Feb 3, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    I know many of us (and I include myself) would like to be done with Nyjer, but this really doesn't mean much. All of those guys you name, Peyton, may be "capable" of playing CF, but none of them is a realistic full time replacement for Nyjer–Nix perhaps least of all. He saw almost all of his innings last year in LF–269, vs 17 at CF. And only 24 at CF in 2009. I know hope springs eternal, but I don't see much hope of dislodging Nyjer in the short term.

  8. P. Cole - Feb 3, 2011 at 9:27 PM

    Nyjer is going to bounce back and prove everyone wrong.Then he'll get hurt and be replaced by Bernadina for good.

  9. Scooter - Feb 3, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    Anon 4:16, if your hand is more substantial than your identity, I would like to shake it.(The hand, I mean.)

  10. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 3, 2011 at 9:43 PM

    It will be interesting to see how many players are in the ML camp this spring. I remember Manny's first season and they had over 80 guys in camp and, quite frankly, that was too many. And it seems like we've been hanging around the 70 – 72 mark the past two seasons.The Mets are limiting their camp to around 60 which seems reasonable. Too many players limits actual work time and takes away from individual drills on fundamentals.

  11. Theophilus - Feb 3, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    I dunno if this is too much to ask but could Mark, or somebody who's been keeping a spreadsheet, post a list of all of the fringe players who've been "invited" to ML camp?Nix performs Mench's role on the Syracuse roster and, as a "throw the sandbags around Harry Truman" emergency call up, is a significant upgrade. I watched three of Strasburg's starts in Syracuse last year (against Rochester, Tidewater and Gwinnett) and was stunned by how awful all four rosters were. Very few real prospects (except maybe Freeman for Gwinnett and I don't recall him doing anything special). Is this the state of Triple A baseball everywhere? Or did these organizations just not have talent that was AAA-worthy? Are all the real up-and-comers at AA? I grew up watching the Toledo Mudhens feed Willie Horton, Jim Northrup, Mickey Stanley and others to the Tigers. Later, the Orioles brought Belanger, Grich, Bumbry, Ripken, etc., through Rochester. Much different, now, I think. The Nats' farm system may be improving but Syracuse this year is going to be painful to watch — again.

  12. Tcostant - Feb 3, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    Must read –>http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/02/03/scott-boras-explains-the-jayson-werth-contract/Not sure what I think other than Boras is real good at his job!

  13. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 3, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    Theophilus: So far, these are the non-roster invitees I know of. There will be more, especially current Nats minor-leaguers who will get invites to big-league camp…PITCHERS: Joe Bisenius, Chad Gaudin, Shairon Martis, Ryan Mattheus, Cla Meredith, Tim Wood.INFIELDERS: Michael Aubrey, Brian Bixler, Alex Cora.OUTFIELDERS: Jeff Frazier, Laynce Nix, Matt Stairs, Jonathan Van Every.

  14. Theophilus - Feb 3, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    Mark — Thx much. Of those, Cora and Stairs seem to be the only ones with a measurable chance of making the final 25, so far as I can tell. Like Nats Jack, I'd hate to see them wasting time or ABs on people who haven't a prayer of seeing Nationals Park w/out a ticket.

  15. DFL - Feb 3, 2011 at 10:21 PM

    Nix seems Syracuse bound and will probably be called up at some point of the season due to injury or if Morgan and Ankiel both fail badly. Looking at his lifetime statistics, Nix seems to have the plate discipline of Cristian Guzman. The man's lifetime K-to-BB ratio is terrible. Last season was the first in Nix's career where his K-to-BB ratio was below 4. It was also his best year by far in Batting Average, On Base Percentage and OPS. There's something to learn from that.

  16. BinM - Feb 3, 2011 at 11:49 PM

    Rizzo seems to be over-compensating on LH-hitters this off-season. LaRoche, Brown, Ankiel added to Harper, Morgan & Bernadina on the 40-man; Aubrey, Cora, Coats, Van Every, & Nix added on minor-league contracts. ——–BTW, are we ever going to hear the "other shoe" being dropped off the 40-man roster for Gorzelanny? We're coming up on two full weeks now without an announcement.

  17. Peyton Dowdy - Feb 4, 2011 at 12:03 AM

    HHover, I was not meaning Nix would play CF if Nyjer was not on the roster. I meant Nix could easily platoon with Morse with Bernadina handling CF. I believe Bernadina is a better CFer than Nyjer. He has a much better arm and UZR is too limited for him to base anything off of. He is much more fluid than Nyjer is in the outfield. With that said I'm still all for giving 1 more shot to Nyjer. If he lands somewhere around the .280 BA he would be in the .350s or so with his OBP and that isn't awful. He just needs to smarten up, but if Nix is in AAA at the start of the season I feel better having a proven major leaguer there to call up if Nyjer is a trainwreck. It seems like "insurance" in case another situation like the Dukes thing comes up.

  18. BinM - Feb 4, 2011 at 12:07 AM

    @Theophilus: Sadly, AAA farm clubs are rarely development grounds any more. They've become holding pens for older players who sign 1-year contracts for a possible injury callup (what I call "insurance policies"), rehab assignments, the "not-quite prime-time" players (4A), or for some institutional players who have outgrown the lower minors, with 1-2 exceptions per team. Overall, a rather garbled collection. The real prospects are usually at AA before they jump, with rare exceptions. Times have changed.I salute any Manager who can lead a mashed-up roster composed of the likes of this to the playoffs, let alone a League Championship.

  19. Peyton Dowdy - Feb 4, 2011 at 12:10 AM

    Theophilus, if you think Stairs has a chance, why wouldn't Nix? He can actually play above average D in the outfield, unlike Stairs.Also, I'm not sure Syracuse is going to be that painful. They will probably have Maya and Detwiler. They should get Marrero and Lombardozzi for at least some of the season. You will probably have Cole Kimball and Adam Carr in the 'pen and I would think Flores or Ramos catching. That would be a handful of solid talent.

  20. Knicks nix Nix 'Nicks nicks', - Feb 4, 2011 at 12:44 AM

    He was a prospect in the NBA until he faked a minor injury, saying he was hurt onstage at a Fleetwood Mac concert. NY didn't believe it, and released him.

  21. Arlington BigFish - Feb 4, 2011 at 12:51 AM

    Anonymous @ 4:16, re Laynce vs. Cla: I was thinking the same thing — only you put it much more inventively. Are we trying to corner the market on players whose Moms didn't know how to spell? ;-)

  22. Nick knocks Nook's neck knacks - Feb 4, 2011 at 12:52 AM

    Still, that's not as bad as the time the Nat's first baseman criticized the center fielder's techniques for stretching his upper vertebrae.

  23. The Nights Who Say Nix - Feb 4, 2011 at 1:13 AM

    Laynce Loganhans languishes lazily in left field.

  24. greg - Feb 4, 2011 at 3:16 AM

    stairs has a chance for the last roster spot over nix because he's a professional pinch hitter. one of the better PHs in the league over the last few years.

  25. NatBiscuit - Feb 4, 2011 at 3:31 AM

    IMHO, the inclusion of career minor leaguers at big league camp serve many functions including a) warm bodies to field complete drills and intra squad games; b) injury replacements; c) protection against having to interrupt minor league instruction; and d) roster candidates for AAA so that prospects can be trained at lower levels. Not actually being in the business, I could be wrong on some of that, but I expect they are all true to some extent. And in any case it is a best practice conducted by all 30 teams. And of course the practice does not block prospects at all. At any time the franchise thinks a true prospect deserves promotion and/or MLB rostering, they release/trade/move the obstacle.

  26. Peyton Dowdy - Feb 4, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    greg, Nix hit .300 as a PHer last season. He was 15 for 50 w/ 4 walks so his OBP was .360. I'm not sure how that makes Matt Stairs a better option than him. Stairs hits for more power but can't play the field at all. I don't think either one will make the team out of camp though.

  27. Geoffrey Chaucer - Feb 4, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    Cla Meredith needs a yLaynce Nix needs to lose a ySyracuse has a yWhy did we sign these guys?

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