This time, however, someone decided his work was worthy of that elusive big-league deal. Just before the start of baseball's winter meetings in his hometown of Dallas, the Phillies agreed to a two-year deal worth $2.5 million. He will be paid $1.15 million this season and $1.35 million next season. Previously, he had never made more than $700,000 in a single season.
The contract, however, was only the second-best thing that happened to Nix during the offseason. In November he married Brooke Sorenson, a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, in the Bahamas, and the news about the Phillies' offer came shortly after he returned home.
"It was a really fast-moving offseason," Nix said. "I never had a wedding in the offseason, so that was a first, and then it was nice to have the contract worked out before the holidays. It was really nice timing for me. I've had a little bit of a different career path than most guys with as much service time as me."
A year ago, the Phillies had no lefthanded power off the bench unless Raul Ibanez was out of the starting lineup. Ross Gload, playing with a severe hip injury, contributed five doubles and no home runs as a pinch-hitter. Manager Charlie Manuel believes the additions of Jim Thome and Nix will rectify that problem.
"I think (Nix) is a line-drive hitter with power," Manuel said. "I think he likes to play. He's a baseball player with a football player's mentality. I think he's definitely capable of getting big hits for you."
Because of Gload's injury, there was rarely a place in the field for him last season. He started just 11 games.
"Nix definitely has more strength than Gload and he can play more positions," Manuel said. "I think Nix will get to play some. We have to play him to keep him sharp. One of the biggest things about our team now is if we get guys hurt, one of our regular guys, we can replace them now with guys like (Laynce) Nix and (Ty) Wigginton, who are pretty good players."
The most likely scenario is that Nix will share playing time in leftfield with John Mayberry Jr., but it's always unpredictable what can unfold over the course of a season.
"I haven't given it a ton of thought," Nix said. "I'm just getting my body ready to play a lot. If that's the case, I'll be ready to play, and if that's not the case, I'll be ready to play the role that Charlie asks me. I think Charlie is going to put me at some different positions and I am sure I'm going to be playing. John is a great, young player and he's going to do good things and I'm sure as a team we're going to do some damage."
Nix's hope is that the best offseason of his career leads to the second postseason of his career. His first one came in 2010 when he was part of a leftfield platoon with Jonny Gomes for the Cincinnati Reds. The Phillies, of course, swept the Reds in the division series and it didn't take long for Nix to come up with his most vivid memory.
"The first thing I remember is Roy (Halladay) pitching a no-hitter in that first game," Nix said. "That was quite an experience. We were a little shocked because our offense led the league in most of the significant categories, which made what Roy did even more impressive. The atmosphere in that stadium was something."
Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at firstname.lastname@example.org or @brookob on Twitter.