(Jonathan Newton/WASHINGTON POST)

Nix liked the opportunity he perceived in Philadelphia, where he could platoon in left field with John Mayberry and also serve as an emergency backup at first base with Ryan Howard out for the first portion of the season. Nix knows the Phillies, the NL East champions five years running, will contend. And they also offered a two-year deal.

The combination made Nix decide to head north. But the Nationals didn’t make it easy, making a strong push for him. Nix enjoyed his time in Washington and was grateful for the playing time he received with the Nationals.

“They were there,” Mitchell said. “They made a strong push at him. They wanted him back. … He liked playing for the Nationals. He appreciated the opportunity they gave him, and he would have liked playing for Davey Johnson again.”

Nix also received “strong” interest from the Boston Red Sox and Oakland A’s, Mitchell said. He decided ultimately to sign with the team the Nationals are chasing in their division.

After missing out on Nix, the Nationals will consider bringing back Rick Ankiel, their other free agent, left-handed fourth-outfielder type.

One other note to pass along from the lobby of the Hilton Anatole: Stan Kasten may be a prospective Dodgers owner, but for this week he’s slumming it with the mongrels in the media. He proudly pulled a media credential from his pocket to prove it. Kasten will be appearing on MLB Network.

Also, the Nationals contingent, including General Manager Mike Rizzo and Principal Owner Mark Lerner, have arrived.