The Washington Nationals have signed son of the late Tony Gwynn to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. The veteran will aim for a spot on the Nationals bench.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 3, 2015
Tony Gwynn Jr. has played for four teams in his eight big league seasons, most recently with the Philadelphia Phillies. The lefty hit .152 in 80 games. Previously, Gwynn played for the Dodgers in 2012 before being unable to secure a job in 2013. Gwynn brings veteran presence and a guy who can steal bases and play multiple positions.
The Nationals have had a need for more outfield help with the injuries to Jayson Werth and Nate McLouth. Both had offseason shoulder surgery and will likely miss opening day. As it stands, the Nationals will go into opening day with Bryce Harper, Denard Span and Kevin Frandsen in the outfield.
If Gwynn makes the team he will most likely serve as a pitch runner with an occasional spot start. The 32-year-old is a career .238 hitter. His best season came in 2012 with the Dodgers when he hit .256/.308/.353. He also stole a career high 22 bases that season.
After his father, the great Mr. Padre, Gwynn Jr. took a break from baseball. After a down year last season, he is getting another shot with this year to prove he still belongs in the league. He could wind up being a decent role player for a Nationals team that looks poised to make a deep run in the postseason. Adding Gwynn to the mix will only increase competition for a team with major concern over injury in the outfield.