When the Royals signed Jayson Nix the other day, they had until today to locate a spot for him on the 25 man roster. The corresponding move to activate Nix has been made, as he will be taking the place of Christian Colon, who was sent down to the AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals. By being assigned to the Naturals, Colon will be eligible to return once their season ends after Monday night, instead of waiting the normal ten days before being recalled.
In Nix, the Royals have a glove first utility infielder with a decent amount of speed. Despite never being an every day player, Nix has reached the double digit mark in stolen bases twice in his six year career. Nix also led the American League in total zone runs at shortstop last year, despite playing only 48 games at short last year.
A true throwback to the defense first shortstops of the 1970′s and 1980′s whose offensive games were based on their speed, Jayson Nix is not a threat with the bat. Over his career, he has posted a .214/.284/.347 batting line, not exactly numbers that scream that Nix is an offensive threat. Yet, those numbers are an improvement over how he preformed for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season, when he ‘hit’ at a .111/.158/.111 rate in 39 plate appearances. Chances are, Nix will be used primarily as a defensive replacement and pinch runner with the Royals.
Colon, meanwhile, had certainly produced during his time in Kansas City, posting a .302/.348/.442 batting line. Taking the place of the injured Omar Infante over the past few days, Colon continued to impress with his ability to make the right plays seemingly every time. Colon’s assignment to the minor leagues is not a reflection of anything that he may have done to warrant a demotion; instead, it simply appears to be a matter of having minor league options left.
Although he was sent to the minors to make room for Nix, it may be that Christian Colon makes more of an impact upon the Royals chances for a playoff berth. Although he does not have the defensive acumen possessed by Jayson Nix, Colon has been solid at second and third for the Royals, and is a natural shortstop. Also, unlike Nix, Colon has displayed an ability to be of use at the plate.
It may be that if the Royals have an infielder get injured during September that they use a tandem of Christian Colon and Jayson Nix to fill in, with Colon starting and Nix coming in as the late inning defensive specialist. However, for now at least, Colon has been sent to the minors, replaced by Nix.