Pirates sign Jayson Nix to a one-year deal

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Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates have signed utility infielder Jayson Nix to a one-year major league contract. The club also optioned infielder Brent Morel to Triple-A Indianapolis and designated infielder Dean Anna for assignment.

Nix, 31, started the season with the Phillies but was released in May after posting a mediocre .154/.214/.231 slash line. The Rays — who sent Nix to the Phillies for cash in late March — picked him back up and stashed him at Triple-A but released him on Friday. In 215 plate appearances with Triple-A Durham for the Rays, Nix slashed .274/.341/.411 with three home runs and 16 RBI.

The Pirates picked up Anna off of waivers from the Yankees on July 5, but he never made it back to the majors, instead spending his entire time at Triple-A Indianapolis, finishing with a meager .671 OPS in 57 plate appearances. Morel has a .661 OPS in 292 plate appearances at Triple-A, and a .485 OPS in 17 major league plate appearances this season.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?