DALLAS -- Just arrived at the Anatole Hotel for the Winter Meetings, and was immediately greeted with news of the Phillies coming to terms with Laynce Nix on a two-year contract (according to my colleague Jim Salisbury of CSNphilly.com).
Financial terms haven't been reported yet, but money isn't the key to this deal. The fact Philadelphia was willing to give Nix two years is the key detail here.
The 31-year-old outfielder had never signed a major-league contract before, let alone a multi-year deal. He came to the Nationals late last winter on a minor-league contract that wound up paying him 700,000 after he made the Opening Day roster.
Nix proved a valuable player for the Nats, ultimately batting .250 with 16 homers and 44 RBI in 124 games. Projected all along to come off the bench, he wound up starting more games in left field (59) than anyone else on the roster.
Nix was very productive at the plate early in the season, posting a .296 average, nine homers and an .881 OPS through June 14. But hampered by a lingering Achilles' tendon strain, he slumped badly the rest of the season, hitting a scant .209 with a .634 OPS after that June 14 date.
The Nationals did have some interest in re-signing Nix as a reserve outfielder but weren't willing to offer a two-year deal the way the Phillies did, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.
Now they not only won't have Nix back in 2012, they'll have to face him 36 times over the next two seasons as a member of their toughest division rival.