One outfielder in, one outfielder out. Hello Laynce Nix, goodbye Ben Francisco. Ruben Amaro inked himself an outfielder the day before the MLB Winter Meetings begin in Dallas, Texas (they start today), and that outfielder is Nix, who is a left-handed batter that is getting a 2 year pact from the Phillies. Merry Christmas! Dude lived off 4 straight minor league contracts, so 2 years guaranteed is like hitting the lottery. He's hit .244/.718 in 9 MLB seasons with the Rangers, Brewers, Reds, and Nationals. The 31 year old is a late bloomer, having never been much of anything until the last 3 seasons (OPS: '09- .767, '10- .805, '11- .750). Assuming he platoons in LF with John Mayberry Jr., the overall production should be better and MUCH cheaper than Raul Ibanez of last season. Added bonus- according to advanced defensive metrics, Nix plays quality outfield.
The 2012 bench now includes- Jim Thome/1B/PH, Ty Wigginton/UTL, Laynce Nix/OF, Brian Schneider/C, and Wilson Valdez/UTL or Michael Martinez/UTL. This leaves no room for Ben Francisco, meaning he is likely to be non-tendered since he'll have cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $2M. I know WSBGMs readers are hoping Valdez is the choice over Mini-Mart too.
My reaction- not sure why this has to be 2 years, but depending on the money, this could be an very good deal though. 2 years $2M would be ideal, hopefully not much more than that. If the money is right, I like this move because it takes pressure off Domonic Brown to be ready, rids the Phils of Francisco's contract, and sets up a very good defensive outfield with Nix, Mayberry, Victorino, and Pence.