Before the 2012 season, Ruben Amaro, Jr. signed Laynce Nix to fill the team’s need for a left-handed bat off the bench in the same vein as Ross Gload and Greg Dobbs before him. The deal was relatively cheap and also provided the roster with a player who had a superfluous “y” in their name, something the team was lacking after Jayson Werth skipped town in 2010 and left the Phillies in desperate need for a player of that ilk in 2011.
Nix also figured to help pitch in playing some time in left field, where it was wide open, and also at first base while the Phillies waited for the return of the injured Ryan Howard. On paper, it was a prudent move by the Phillies GM.
For awhile, the move seemed to translate from paper to the field, as well. Nix started off the season pretty well, hitting .326 through the first five weeks of the season with two dingers and eleven RBI in 46 total at-bats. At that time, his OPS was a very impressive .979. Things seemed to be going swimmingly for Nix. Then an event happened that would come to define his 2012 season: Nix got hurt.
On May 11, he was placed on the DL with a calf strain. By the time Nix returned to the big league roster on July 22, he was a forgotten man, a footnote on a season that seemed all but lost. Upon his return, he appeared to be a drastically different player than the one that was contributing the way he expected to at the start of the season. His first half/second half splits read like night and day:
First half: 51 PA, 7 R, 2 HR, 11 RBI, .326/.392/.587
Second half: 76 PA, 6 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI, .191/.263/.294
His OPS+ went from 168 in the first half to 55 in the second half. Yikes. That’s really the story when it comes to Nix. He started off well, but an injury caused him to miss a lot of time. When he returned, he just wasn’t the same player. Had he stayed healthy, could he have produced at the rate he was for the first five weeks of the season? There’s no way of knowing. But it’s not too outlandish to suggest he could’ve maintained some semblance of positive production had he kept getting regular at-bats.
Grade: D … Had Nix been able to maintain his production from the beginning of the season, he’d easily be a candidate for an A. Had he played the entire season the way he did after returning from injury, he’d surely get an F. I arrived at a D because the scale shifts slightly more to the failing grade when considering the larger sample size of Nix’s second half performance. All in all, it seems likely that it was a one-time hurrah for Nix in a Phillies uniform. With a bloated cast of potential back-up outfielders, and the Phillies clearly looking to add a couple more, Nix seems a likely candidate to be released.