The Toronto Blue Jays and Arizona Diamondbacks struck a deal on Friday. The centerpiece of the trade is C/OF Daulton Varsho, who heads from Arizona to Toronto. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks receive top catching prospect Gabriel Moreno and INF/OF Lourdes Gurriel.
The trade certainly isn’t the most notable move of the offseason. But it was one that has the potential to benefit both clubs in a pivotal manner. Without further ado, let’s dive into this deal.
Blue Jays get Daulton Varsho
If one were to take a singular look at Daulton Varsho’s career offensive numbers, they would automatically assume that the Diamondbacks fleeced the Blue Jays with this trade. Varsho is slashing just .234/.306/.432 with a .738 OPS through 283 big league games. But Varsho offers much more than surface numbers.
From a defensive standpoint, he is a uniquely versatile player. Daulton Varsho is an outfielder who also has catching experience. If a team needs a backstop, Varsho is more than capable of holding down the position. But he’s a solid outfielder as well. The fact is that there aren’t many players in the big leagues with the ability to play both catcher and centerfield.
Daulton Varsho clubbed 27 home runs to go along with 16 stolen bases in 2022. He’s a speed-power threat with the potential to turn into an All-Star down the road. However, he will need to raise his OBP to truly produce positive offensive value.
Diamondbacks get Gabriel Moreno, Lourdes Gurriel
The Blue Jays entered the offseason with no shortage of catching options. As a result, many people around the MLB world expected them to trade one of Gabriel Moreno, Danny Jansen, or Alejandro Kirk. In the end, Toronto ultimately dealt Moreno along with Lourdes Gurriel to the Diamondbacks.
Arizona fans will be excited to see Gabriel Moreno play. The loss of Daulton Varsho is far from ideal, but Moreno realistically has a chance to become an All-Star caliber backstop.
Moreno was previously a top 10 prospect in the Blue Jays farm system. Scouts have long raved about his hitting potential from the catcher position. And that alone drew plenty of interest given the lack of offense from catchers around MLB. But his defense is nothing to scoff at either. Moreno features a powerful arm and should be able to cut down possible base stealers at an impressive rate.
He doesn’t provide the same versatility as Daulton Varsho. But he arguably features a higher ceiling and could become a franchise player in Arizona.
The acquisition of Lourdes Gurriel will fly under the radar. But it is a good pickup for the Diamondbacks. Gurriel, despite being limited to 121 games during the 2022 season, slashed .291/.343/.400 with a .743 OPS. In 2021, Gurriel smashed 21 home runs for the Blue Jays while hitting just south of .280.
He’s a good player who can play a multitude of positions in the outfield and infield.
Grading the trade
So who won the trade?
Arguments can be made for both the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks. The fact is that Toronto did not need three catchers on the big league team. And Gurriel did not have a clear position on the field for Toronto.
The Diamondbacks are in rebuilding mode so trading Daulton Varsho to acquire a young player with potential was a quality move. The addition of Gurriel makes this a tremendous deal for Arizona. But in the end, both teams will benefit from the trade.
Diamondbacks trade grade: A
Blue Jays trade grade: B