The Nationals have agreed to terms with outfielder Tony Gwynn, Jr. on a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Gwynn appeared in 80 games with the Phillies last season, but he struggled in limited playing time, putting up a .152/.264/.190 batting line across 127 plate appearances. He also lost his father, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, last June. The 32-year-old owns a .238 batting average and a .619 OPS across 685 games in the majors, but he offers speed and experience at all three outfield positions.
As Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com notes, Gwynn will function as insurance with Jayson Werth and Nate McLouth each rehabbing from shoulder surgery.
Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.
Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”
Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.
The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.