When the Yankees signed Jayson Nix it seemed like a move destined to provide them with little more than minor league depth. By now though most Yankees fans have realized he has provided much more than that – versatility defensively around the field and even a solid bat against lefties.
It turns out that former Yankee Randy Velarde is a fellow denizen of Midland, Texas and a friend of Nix. Both played similar roles with the Bombers and Velarde described Nix as invaluable to the Yankees – he’s right.
“With future Hall of Famers like Alex and Derek [Jeter] in front of him, you could question whether it was the right fit, but when Nunez was gone, I told him it was his time,” Velarde told Dan Martin of the NY Post. “Guys like him you don’t really appreciate until someone goes down. You have to rely on your frontline guys, but you’ve got to be ready with players like Jayson.”
“They don’t get the credit they deserve,” said Velarde. “When you can play the whole infield and even the outfield, that’s invaluable.”
Nix has played in 44 games and counting with the Yankees. He has played second, third, short, and left field. Overall his OPS+ is a solid 104, but his numbers have been even better against lefties – .298/.333/.526.
Even with the addition of Casey McGehee, Nix should still see plenty of playing time. Instead of playing third, he will likely play left field and probably a decent amount of shortstop as well when the Yankees face left handed pitchers.
It seemed like such a small move at the time – especially considering the Yankees also signed Bill Hall to a minor league deal during the offseason. But unlike Hall, Nix sat in the minor leagues for the month of April and waited until an opportunity opened up. When it did he took full advantage of it.