The Blue Jays agree to a deal with the Diamondbacks that will see them acquire an outfield player Dalton Farshawreports ESPN’s Jeff Bassin. The Blue Jays send out a package that includes catching a prospect Gabriel Moreno to Arizona. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. He will also head to Arizona in the deal, according to reports Bob Nightingale from USA Today. John Heyman from the New York Post I reported earlier that the Jays were close to landing Varshaw. The Blue Jays have since announced the deal.
For the Blue Jays, they have always been looking to add a left-handed component to their right-handed heavyweight lineup. They have also been rumored to be all willing to take on their catch surplus in order to tackle other areas of their list. With Danny JansenAnd the Alejandro Kirk and Moreno vying for playing time, it looks like they’ll use one of them to arrange a deal with the team in need. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks have attracted a lot of commercial attention this offseason on their multiplayer. Corbin CarrollAnd the Alec ThomasAnd the Jake McCarthy Varshaw is all left-handed and has different traits, but he created a predicament that many expected to remove by trade. Given these factors, the two teams were often set up for speculative business partners, which paid off with this deal.
Varshaw, 26, was a top 100 prospect in the minors and made his debut with the Diamondbacks in 2020. Although he was primarily a player, his natural athleticism has led him to an outfield role lately. It was reported near the end of the 2022 campaign that the Diamondbacks were so impressed with his work abroad that they were planning to keep him there moving forward. This was a fairly reasonable conclusion to tie given his excellent defensive scores on the turf. He had +19 points defense saved on the court this year, along with an 18.8 absolute zone rating and 17 points above average. All three of those numbers were the leading all MLB players this year, with DRS tied for Michael A. Taylor.
adding that the Blue Jays have largely focused on blocking runs this season Chris Bassett to take turns, Eric Swanson to their defense and defense specialists Kevin Kiermayer to outside them. Now with Varsho, they’ve continued that run blocking trajectory by adding the 2022 Outfielder of the Year. However, Varsho isn’t just about being a contributor alone. He hit 27 home runs this year and stole 16 bases. He finished the season with a .235/.302/.443 hitting streak, good enough for wRC+106, indicating that he was 6% above the league average. Combined, those contributions amounted to 4.6 wins above replacement for the year, FanGraphs calculates.
This move, and their other moves this season, resulted in right-handed Guuriel and Tuscar Hernandez swapped left for Kiermayer and Varshaw. Gurriel and Hernandez are more productive at the plate but are both generally considered sub-par defenders, while Kiermaier and Varsho are generally the opposite, although Varsho has taken a huge step forward at the plate this year. Varshaw and Kiermeyer should go into an overseas mix that also includes George Spring and Whit Merrifield. While last year’s alignment saw Springer as the top defensive option, along with a couple of his teammates, he now appears to be the third best defender in the Toronto mix.
For the Diamondbacks, they dish out one of the best striking prospects in the sport, regardless of position, but certainly one of the best striking prospects. Moreno, who turns 23 in February, is considered the #3 prospect for the game by both Baseball America and FanGraphs. He made his MLB debut in 2022 and carried himself well in his first 73 plate appearances, hitting .319/.356/.377 for wRC+ of 113. He spent most of the year at Triple-A, hitting .315/. 386/.420 in a wRC+ of 120. Although the strength part of his game may be missing, all reports indicate that he is an excellent fullback with putt skills. This is evidenced by his 16.9% strikeout rate in Triple-A this year and 11% average in his MLB debut.
The club have used Carson Kelly, 28, as their primary striker over the past four seasons, who has proven inconsistent in that time. Both his 2019 and 2021 seasons were above average at the plate, with double-digit home runs and walk averages, resulting in a WRC+ of 107 in the former and 103 in the latter. However, the 2020 and 2022 seasons were on the low side, with both walks and strengths declining. He posted a WRC+ 70 in 2020 and just 73 in 2022. Defensively, he’s generally considered mediocre, with DRS rating him at absolutely zero so far in his career.
Kelly still has two years of refereeing control left and likely has the eye-catching job of the moment, given Moreno’s youth and limited experience. Moreno will also need some time to get to know the Arizona pitching staff. But as Moreno continues to develop, Kelly will likely be pressed in time and become a trading chip himself before it hits the open market.
More is coming.
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