UPDATE: the deal is 2 years, $2.5 Mil according to multiple sources
According to Jim Salisbury of CSN Phillly, the Phils have signed outfielder Laynce Nix to a 2 year contract, pending a physical. The outfielder, 31, hit .250 in 2011 with the Washington Nationals. His signing isn’t huge news, but it does mean someting to the
In short, it means that the Phillies will most likely not go after Raul Ibanez, or any other left fielder. Nix is about the same as Ibanez when it comes to hitting against right-handed pitchers, with better contact but worse power numbers than Raul. Nix hit .263 with 43 RBI and 16 homeruns against RHP, while Raul hit .256 with 60 RBI and 16 homeruns. The only role left for Ibanez since Mayberry took over as the everyday is to come in and hit against righties, and if Nix can perform at the same level, Raul is unnecessary. (it is also worth noting that their RBI totals, when adjusted for number of games played, are almost identical, and Nix’s adjusted homerun total higher than Raul’s).
Fielding wise, they are also about even. Raul had (technically) only one error last year, Laynce had two. Nix had seven outfield assists, Ibanez had five. Now, one can dig further into the fielding SABRmetrically, but for a fourth-outfielder I really don’t find it appropriate. If you’re looking for a more SABR-oriented blog, I suggest you check outCrashburnAlley.com. The one SABR stat I think works here is the WAR (wins above replacement): Ibanez’s 2011 WAR was -0.4, Nix’s was +0.8. That’s a big positive for the new sign.
Perhaps the biggest factor in Nix over Ibanez, though, is the cost. Ibanez made $12 million last year, and while of course he would get nearly as much, the payday would be more than Nix’s 2011 sum of $700,000. If Laynce’s salary is close to this, let’s say an even $1 million, leaving the Phillies about $20 million under luxury tax. With that kind of money they could easily resign Rollins and go get a reasonably priced third baseman/ reliever.
There were much better options out in free agency than Laynce Nix, like Johnny Damon, Jason Kubel or Kosuke Fukudome, but his price relative to Ibanez similarity (now THAT should be a SABR stat) was good enough to settle on.