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Dodgers Sign Tony Gwynn

The Dodgers have reached back into their past to sign reserve outfielder Tony Gwynn, formerly of the Padres. Gwynn is the nephew of former Dodger outfielder Chris Gwynn. The deal, which was first reported by Tom Krasovic of AOL Fanhouse, is worth $675,000, per Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.

Gwynn hit .204/.304/.287 in 339 plate appearances for the Padres last year, and is a career .244/.323/.314 hitter. His best offensive year was 2009, when he managed .270/.350/.344 in San Diego. However, Gwynn's calling card is his defense. His career UZR/150 in center field is 14.2 runs above average, and he has been +13 and +11 in John Dewan's plus/minus system in the last two seasons. In plus/minus, Gwynn ranked second among MLB centerfielders in 2009, and fourth in 2010, all while playing the equivalent of slightly more than one full season in total over the two years.

Gwynn figures to be the go-to defensive replacement and occasional starter all over the outfield this season. What this also means is that Xavier Paul, who is out of options, is as good as gone. Right now, the Dodgers have Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Jay Gibbons, and Gwynn targeted for their outfield, and I would be shocked if they don't sign another, preferably right-handed outfielder, presumably a more offensively-minded player. There just isn't enough room on the bench of Paul, so expect him to be traded at some point before opening day.

Gwynn gives the Dodgers 38 players on their 40-man roster, and when the Vicente Padilla deal becomes official the Dodgers will have 39 players. I have seen Gwynn referred to as Gwynn, Jr., by some media outlets, suggesting he had a father of the same name. Apparently he is a baseball coach of some sort at San Diego State. If Senior could hit as well as his brother and son, he might have been good enough to make the major leagues, too.


The Dodgers today also announced the hiring of a pair of scouts. Wade Taylor, a former big league pitcher for the Yankees, and former scout with the Yankees and Nationals, will be an advance scout with the Dodgers. Bill Latham, a former pitcher with the Yankees and Twins, and former Red Sox scout, will serve as a pro scout for the Dodgers.