• The Music Dies: Laynce Nix, according to CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury, agreed on a two-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies tonight. The 2011 Washington Nationals' outfielder finished his one and only year in the nation's capital with a .250/.299/.451 line, 15 doubles and 16 HR's in 121 games and 351 plate appearances.
Washington Times' writer Amanda Comak talked to Nix's agent last week in an article entitled, "Nationals among 'several' teams interested in OF Laynce Nix", in which he said the Nats' had shown interest in bringing Nix back. He was, however, also quoted stating at the time that the 31-year-old nine-year veteran who'd never signed a major league deal and, "... some teams have discussed the possibility of a multi-year deal." ESPN.com's Buster Olney speculated on the Twitter (@Buster_ESPN) that though, "PHI still views Domonic Brown as future everyday player... their projected outfield now is Mayberry/Victorino/Pence, Nix/Francisco bench." Why mention this?
Because the one positive effect of Nix signing in Philadelphia for the Nats is that it likely means the end of Raul Ibanez's time in the Phillies' outfield, if that end hadn't already been assured. The 39-year-old, 16-year veteran free agent outfielder has crushed Nationals' pitching in the last few seasons, and Ibanez ended the 2011 campaign with a .314/.375/.485 line, 12 doubles, 16 HR's and 50 RBI's in 59 games and 248 plate appearances in his career against the Nationals.
• FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal), who wrote earlier this week about the Nationals' interest in Cuban-born international free agent Yoenis Cespedes, tweeted a list of the Nats' top center field targets tonight, writing that the, "#Nationals' CF targets include Bourjos, Upton, maybe Pagan if non-tendered. Cespedes also possibility."
Bourjos, is of course Peter Bourjos, the LA Angels' 24-year-old '05 10th Round pick who put up a .271/.327/.438 line with 26 doubles, 11 triples, 12 HR's and 22 stolen bases in 147 games and 552 plate appearances in his first full season in the majors. B.J. Upton is of course the Rays' 27-year-old center fielder whose name has been tied to the Nats' search for a CF for two years now. 30-year-old outfielder Angel Pagan, who played for the Mets over the last four years, finished the 2011 season with 24 doubles, four triples and seven HR's in 123 games and 532 plate appearances for New York in which he put up a .262/.322/.372 slash.
Cespedes is set to become an internationals free agent as soon as he establishes his residence in the Dominican Republic. Upton and Pagan are both arbitration eligible and due raises to around (by some estimates) $7-8M and $4-5M, respectively. Bourjos made $414,000 last season and he isn't arbitration-eligible until after the 2013 season.
D.C. GM Mike Rizzo told reporters earlier this winter that if Washington was going to find the outfielder they were looking for he thought, "... that would probably come from a trade from our depth, our minor league depth or major-league-ready players." If Cespedes isn't the answer, or if the Nats sign him with the intention of letting him work his way up, the other three outfielders on Mr. Rosenthal's list might be the best options unless the Nats and Twins decide to revisit the Denard Span talk, which sources out of Minnesota said earlier this winter wasn't likely to happen.