|Born: August 26, 1982
Drafted: 1st Round, 44th Overall, 2001 (Rockies)
How Acquired: Free Agent
High School: Midland (TX) HS
Agents: Turner Gary Sports
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Nix was drafted as an offense-oriented shortstop with good power potential. He wasn’t regarded well defensively and moved to second for his first full year. After he reached AA, though, Nix struggled with the bat and never really recovered. Ironically, after he reached the upper levels of the minors he became highly regarded for his glovework. In the majors, Nix has played third more than any place else, but he has a reasonable amount of time at second and short. The defensive metrics seem to regard him as average or above, but it’s hard to judge defense with a utility player due to the small and sporadic sample sizes. Nix hasn’t hit much in the majors. He has a platoon split, posting a career OPS of .702 against LHPs and .605 against RHPs.
The Rockies gave Nix a tough assignment after he signed, sending him to advanced rookie ball. He played short regularly and hit well, albeit with a high K rate.
Nix moved to second at low A. He didn’t hit as well as the year before, but cut down on the strikeouts.
Nix hit for very good power in high A, although it was the California League. After the season, Baseball America ranked him the fifth best prospect in the Rockies’ organization and the 94th best in baseball.
Nix struggled badly at the plate in AA. According to BA, though, he improved to the point of being above-average defensively at second. The Rockies added Nix to their 40-man roster after the season rather than risk losing him to the Rule 5 draft.
The Rockies sent Nix back to AA, but his hitting didn’t improve at all. He cut down a little on the strikeouts, but his walk rate also dropped, to a career low. BA dropped him to 31st on the Rockies’ prospect list.
The Rockies tried Nix in AAA and his power disappeared entirely despite the fact that he was playing in a high-offense environment at Colorado Spring in the Pacific Coast League.
Nix’ hitting rebounded when he repeated AAA.
Nix opened the season as the Rockies’ second baseman, but by April 25 he was hitting .111. He had no options left, so the Rockies designated him for assignment and he cleared waivers. He hammered the ball in AAA and the Rockies added him back to the roster in July, only to outright him again less than two weeks later. He became a free agent after the season and signed with the White Sox.
Nix strained a quad in spring training, but after a rehab he joined the White Sox in early May. He served as a utility player, playing second the most but also seeing time at third, short and in the outfield corners. He didn’t hit for average, but he showed some power and had a good walk rate.
The White Sox again employed Nix as a utility player, but he didn’t hit at all and the Sox put him on waivers in June. Cleveland claimed him and for a while played him a lot at second, with Luis Valbuena having flopped. Nix eventually spent more time at third, though, as Jhonny Peralta moved from there to short. Nix’ hitting was very similar to what it had been the year before, except his walk rate dropped sharply.
At the end of spring training, the Indians sold Nix to Toronto. The Blue Jays played Nix semi-regularly at third, excluding a month starting in late April when he was out with a leg injury. Nix didn’t hit at all and, after he cleared waivers, the Jays outrighted him to AAA. He had no trouble with the pitching in the minors. After the season Nix became a free agent and signed a minor league deal with the Yankees.
The Yankees initially sent Nix to AAA, but they called him up in early May when Eric Chavez got hurt. Nix spent the rest of the season in the majors. The Yankees used him at third, short, second and in left. He hit respectably, tying a career high in OPS+ at 86. The Yankees outrighted Nix to AAA after the season and he accepted the assignment.
Nix made the Yankees out of spring training and spent the season with them, except that he missed most of July with a hamstring injury and then his season ended in late August due to a fractured hand. Nix divided his time between short and third. He had largely the same season at the plate as he had the year before, except his power fell off sharply. He became a free agent after the season and signed a minor league contract with the Blue Jays.
The Rays sold Nix to the Phillies at the end of spring training and Philadelphia put him on the major league roster. He served as a utility infielder and didn’t hit at all. The Phillies outrighted him in May and he refused assignment to their AAA team, instead re-signing with Tampa Bay, which sent him to their AAA team. Nix hit decently there, but not like he had in AAA in his last couple stints. The Rays released him at the beginning of August and the Pirates signed him to a major league deal.
The Pirates signed Nix at a time when their infield was in flux. Pedro Alvarez had played himself out of a job at third due to his inability to make throws to first, Neil Walker was suffering from back issues, Clint Barmes was injured and Starling Marte was struggling to stay healthy, which meant the team needed Josh Harrison some of the time in the outfield. Still, it’s hard to understand why they couldn’t do better than a player who’d been ditched by the aging, last-place Phillies. The Pirates could have called up Matt Hague, who at least has some remaining, albeit limited, upside with the bat. The team, however, seems obsessed with veteran bench players despite a long line of disasters such as Luis Rivas, Bobby Crosby and Brandon Inge, to name just a few. It also seems obsessed with obtaining marginal players who played for Clint Hurdle in Colorado.
UPDATE: Nix played well defensively for the Pirates but didn’t hit at all. They designated him for assignment in late August to make room for Jose Tabata. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Nix return in September.
|Signing Bonus: $925,000
MiLB Debut: 2001
MLB Debut: 4/1/2008
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2016
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: November 19, 2004
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2005, 2006, 2007)
MLB Service Time: 4.127
|June 5, 2001: Drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 1st round, 44th overall pick; signed on July 14.
November 19, 2004: Contract purchased by the Colorado Rockies.
April 26, 2008: Designated for assignment by the Colorado Rockies; outrighted to AAA on April 30.
July 8, 2008: Called up by the Colorado Rockies.
July 19, 2008: Designated for assignment by the Colorado Rockies; outrighted to AAA on July 21.
October 15, 2008: Became a free agent.
October 31, 2008: Signed as a free agent with the Chicago White Sox.
June 17, 2010: Designated for assignment by the Chicago White Sox.
June 25, 2010: Claimed off waivers from the Chicago White Sox by the Cleveland Indians.
March 29, 2011: Traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Toronto Blue Jays for cash.
July 3, 2011: Designated for assignment by the Toronto Blue Jays; outrighted to AAA on July 7.
October 6, 2011: Became a free agent.
November 23, 2011: Signed as a minor league free agent by the New York Yankees.
May 3, 2012: Called up by the New York Yankees.
November 30, 2012: Designated for assignment by the New York Yankees; outrighted to AAA on December 7.
March 29, 2013: Called up by the New York Yankees.
December 2, 2013: Became a free agent.
January 9, 2014: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Tampa Bay Rays.
March 28, 2014: Traded by the Tampa Bay Rays to the Philadelphia Phillies for cash.
March 29, 2014: Called up by the Philadelphia Phillies.
May 12, 2014: Outrighted to AAA by the Philadelphia Phillies; elected free agency on May 13.
May 17, 2014: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Tampa Bay Rays.
August 1, 2014: Released by the Tampa Bay Rays.
August 3, 2014: Signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
August 25, 2014: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates.