The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed utility player Jayson Nix, according to a team press release. Nix was signed to a Major League deal, and is expected to be active for today’s game. To make room on the active roster, Brent Morel was optioned to Triple-A. Dean Anna was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster. Michael Waterloo first reported the signing last night.
— Michael Waterloo (@MichaelWaterloo) August 3, 2014
Nix was released by Tampa Bay recently after putting up a .274/.341/.411 line in 215 plate appearances at the Triple-A level. The 31-year-old played in the majors for the Phillies this year, and had a .445 OPS in 43 plate appearances. Last year he had a .619 OPS in 303 plate appearances with the Yankees. In his career, he has a .641 OPS.
Throughout his career, Nix has played all over the field, getting time at second base, third base, shortstop, and the corner outfield positions. His defense has been good everywhere except shortstop, where he’s just an emergency guy. The Pirates were looking for a backup middle infielder, but it seems like this move has a different purpose.
Nix is a super utility guy, which is a role that Josh Harrison was filling. With all of the struggles that Pedro Alvarez has been having, you have to wonder if Harrison will be moving to a full time role at third base, which would leave a need for a utility player who can back up several positions. That’s the only way this move really makes sense.