The Toronto Blue Jays acquired outfielder Dalton Varshaw in a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks for outfielder Lourdes Guuriel and prospect Gabriel Moreno on Friday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Varshaw, 26, batted with a .234/.306/.432 over three seasons in Arizona. He plays catcher and outfielder and hit 27 home runs last season.
- Gurriel Jr. 291 last season with five home runs and 52 RBI.
- Moreno was the best player in the Toronto system and the fifth-best player in all of baseball, according to him Athletic Keith Low.
- The 22-year-old hit .319/.356/.377 in 25 MLB games last year.
What you get in moreno arizona
Moreno is an incredibly athletic catcher, moves extremely well behind the plate, and his throwing arm is above average. He is an above-average defender, who handles short hops well and displays great ability to move the glove, but can easily slip into other positions if the need arises, especially third base. At the plate, Moreno has a short, quick stroke that makes a lot of contact. He has excellent plate coverage too, so he doesn’t make many deep charges, at least not yet, and he may end up getting most of his on-base percentage from his high batting averages.
An outstanding defender behind the plate who puts the ball into play a lot and has some bobs is a player with potential impact on both sides of the ball, and his unusually athletic style in the position makes him the kind of player you should bet he will improve when he needs to. – Law
Why did the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks make this trade?
The simple answer is that the Blue Jays had a surplus of catchers and needed a left fielder. The Diamondbacks had a surplus of left-handed players and could use a young catcher. Both teams operated from an area of strength to address a team weakness.
The Blue Jays had three MLB-caliber catchers in Danny Jansen, Alejandro Kirk, and Moreno. The main question surrounding the team was whether they would choose to operate from this area of strength to meet a need.
Throughout the offseason, Toronto has been looking for left-handed hitters to better balance their lineup. They added outfielder Kevin Kiermayer, but general manager Ross Atkins said earlier this week the team was still looking for more left-side offense, especially after dealing with pitcher Teuscar Hernandez earlier in the offseason.
With most of their top left-handers signed to free agents, the Blue Jays turned to the trade market to add the controllable left-hander the front office was looking for in Varshaw’s form. It came at a heavy price, however, and they had to send their first prospect to Arizona with Gurriel, a solid contact hitter who was an important part of the core that transformed the team from builder to contender. Toronto’s transformational offseason continues. – McGrath
What Varshaw brings to Toronto
There are a few attributes that make Farshaw such a good place to be in Toronto. First, he’s a solid hitter from the left side of the plate, which is exactly what the Blue Jays lineup needs to make it more versatile. Last season, Varsho hit a career high 27 home runs with 106 wRC+. During his MLB career, he was around the major league batting average (101 wRC+) but much of his value comes on the defensive end as well.
He’s an elite player, who finished 18 times above average, per Statcast, leading all MLB catchers last season. He has experience in all three outfield positions and is also a catcher, giving the Blue Jays flexibility to use a catcher on the DH while providing additional support.
At 26 years old, Varshaw comes with four years of team control, which helps offset the cost of dealing with Moreno. In the meantime, Gurriel will be a free agent at the end of the 2023 season. McGrath
(Photo: Jay Biggerstaff/USA Today)
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