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With Tony Gwynn Jr. For Two More Years, Dodgers Have Plenty In Reserve

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Tony Gwynn has signed up to be a Dodger for two more seasons, avoiding arbitration.
Tony Gwynn has signed up to be a Dodger for two more seasons, avoiding arbitration.

When I first saw the email that said the Dodgers had signed outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr. to a two-year contract, my first reaction was to laugh. After all, Ned Colletti has had a comical obsession with two-year deals this offseason, most of which have been heavily backloaded. So naturally I thought Gwynn, who made $675,000 last year, signed for something like $750,000 in 2012 and $2.5 million in 2013, an unnecessary risk for someone who would be arbitration eligible again next season.

Then I saw the terms of the deal. Gwynn will make $850,000 in 2012, and $1.15 million in 2013, per Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.

Those salaries seem remarkably reasonable for someone who will likely earn his keep on defense alone. I have no illusions that Gwynn can hit - he hit .256/.308/.353 last season and has a career line of .247/.319/.324 - but he can play all three outfield spots well, is a good baserunner, doesn't mind being the fourth outfielder, and is entering his age 29 and 30 seasons.

Depending on which version of Wins Above Replacement you prefer, Gwynn has been worth between 2.7 and 6.5 WAR combined over the last three seasons. Two million dollars for that? Sign me up.