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Blue Jays acquire Daulton Varsho from Diamondbacks for Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Gabriel Moreno

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The Toronto Blue Jays acquired outfielder Daulton Varsho in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks for outfielder Lourdes Gurriel and top catch prospect Gabriel Moreno on Friday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Varsho, 26, batted .234/.306/.432 in three seasons at Arizona. He plays both catcher and outfielder and hit 27 home runs last season.
  • Gurriel Jr. 291 last season with five home runs and 52 RBIs.
  • Moreno was the best prospect in the Toronto system and the number one. 5 in all of baseball, according to Athleticism Keith Law.
  • The 22-year-old shot .319/.356/.377 in 25 MLB games last year.

What Arizona gets in Moreno

Moreno is an incredibly athletic receiver, moving extremely well behind the plate and has an above average arm. He is an above average defender, who handles short jumps well and shows great ease in moving the glove, but could easily slide into other positions if the need arose, especially third base. At home plate, Moreno has a short, quick shot that leads to a lot of contact. He also has great plate coverage, so he’s not doing a lot of deep counts, at least not yet, and could end up getting most of his on-base percentage thanks to his high batting averages.

A premium defender behind the plate who puts the ball in play a ton and has some pop is a potential impact player on both sides of the ball, and his unusual athleticism for the position makes him the type of player you should bet he will improve when he needs to. Right

Why did the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks make this trade?

The simple answer is that the Blue Jays had a surplus of receivers and needed a left-handed outfielder. The Diamondbacks had a surplus of left-handed outfielders and could use a young receiver. Both teams dealt from an area of ​​strength to address one team’s weakness.

The Blue Jays had three MLB-caliber catchers in Danny Jansen, Alejandro Kirk and Moreno. Throughout the offseason, the main question surrounding the team was whether they would choose to trade from this area of ​​strength to fill a need.

Throughout the offseason, Toronto has been looking for left-handed hitters to better balance their roster. They added outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, but general manager Ross Atkins said earlier this week that the team is always looking for more left-sided offense, especially after eliminating slugger Teoscar Hernandez earlier in the offseason.

With most of the best free agent left-handed outfielders signed, the Blue Jays looked to the trade market to add the controllable left-handed outfielder the front office was looking for in the form of Varsho. It was expensive though, as they had to send their number. 1 prospect in Arizona with Gurriel, a solid contact hitter who was part of an important part of the core that transformed the team from a rebuilder to a contender. A transformative offseason for Toronto continues. — McGrath

What Varsho brings to Toronto

There are a few attributes that make Varsho a good choice in Toronto. First off, he’s a power hitter on the left side of the plate, which is exactly what the Blue Jays roster needs to make it more diverse. Last season, Varsho hit a career-high 27 homers with a 106 wRC+. During his MLB career, he was just about an average hitter in the majors (101 wRC+), but a lot of his value comes from the defensive end as well.

He’s an elite outfielder, who finished with 18 over-average strikeouts, per Statcast, to lead all MLB outfielders last season. He has experience at all three outfield positions and is also a catcher, giving the Blue Jays the ability to use a DH catcher with an extra backstop available.

At 26, Varsho comes with four years of team control, which helps offset the cost of trading Moreno. Gurriel, meanwhile, will be a free agent at the end of the 2023 season. McGrath

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(Photo: Jay Biggerstaff/USA Today)