Brewers’ AAA outfielder Tony Gwynn, Jr. is likely on the trading block, if Adam McCalvy’s recent article on Brad Nelson is any indication.
McCalvy is forecasting that Nelson, 26 and left-handed, is edging out Gwynn, 26, for the 5th outfield spot, behind starters Ryan Braun, Mike Cameron, and Corey Hart, and also Chris Duffy, who is also left-handed and 28 years old.
In Cactus League play, Nelson, as of Tuesday, was hitting .367, with a .474 OBP in 30 AB’s, while Gwynn, who was injured early on, has only gone 2-for-9, .222 thus far this spring.
Also, Gwynn is more of a center fielder, like Duffy…Duffy is hitting .341 this spring. Nelson’s power (18 HR’s in 132 games in AAA Nashville, with a .286 BA and .380 OBP) is a better compliment to Duffy. Nelson can also play first on days that Prince Fielder needs a rest…or, more likely, can be used as a pinch-hitter to replace Russell Branyan’s bat off the bench.
Gwynn, theoretically, could be dealt to the Rays, as the Brewers have released Rule 5 pitcher
Eduardo Morlan, giving the Rays the option to re-claim him back from the Crew for $25,000.
Gwynn is out of options and, I think, would be exposed to waivers if not on the 25-man this year, meaning a trade is likely if he does not beat out Nelson. Given Nelson’s success over the past year, his versatility, and his power, Gwynn seems to be headed elsewhere.