Blue Jays Find Their Outfielder

On the day known for Festivus, the Toronto Blue Jays found their outfielder by making a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks for Daulton Varsho.

Going back to the Diamondbacks will be former top-10 prospect Gabriel Moreno and outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. This trade, on paper, is a win-win for both sides. The Blue Jays round out their starting outfield, and the Diamondbacks get a potentially top-tier backstop plus a solid piece for their own outfield.

Blue Jays Find Their Outfielder

In trading for Varsho, the Blue Jays will be receiving a lefty that seemed to have found his power swing in 2022. Prior to 2022, Varsho hit .231/.310/.418 with 14 home runs and a 95 OPS+ across 132 games. In 2022, Varsho hit .235/.302/.443 with 27 home runs and a 109 OPS+ in 151 games. He held a home run rate of 3.3% across his first 132 games but raised that to 4.6% in his last 151.

Daulton Varsho also carries some sneaky speed. As a former top prospect that came up as a catcher, he has 25 career stolen bases, 16 of which came in 2022. He has only been caught stealing seven times. However, he does hold an above-league-average strikeout rate of 24% and a league-average walk rate of 8.6%. Despite his power and sneaky speed, he would be better suited for the fifth or sixth spot in their lineup.

Diamondbacks’ Return

In Lourdes Gurriel, the Diamondbacks are getting a player that has been above league-average in every season of his career per OPS+. Gurriel carries a career line of .285/.329/.468 with 68 home runs and a 117 OPS+. The 29-year-old righty can play left field, shortstop, or second base, but should man left field daily in Arizona. He is entering his contract year, and should the Diamondbacks not extend him, he will be a free agent for the first time after the 2023 season.

Gabriel Moreno signed as an international free agent with the Blue Jays in 2016. The former top prospect worked his way through the minor leagues before making his debut on June 11th of 2022. He collected 73 Big League plate appearances in 25 games. In those plate appearances, he showed everyone what he has been doing for years in the minor leagues. He hit .319/.356/.377 while also collecting his first Major League home run. Behind the plate, he threw out seven out of 17 potential base stealers. That is a caught-stealing rate of 41%, with league average being 25%. Moreno exceeded his rookie status during the 2022 season, but will still be under team control through 2029.

On paper, this is a good trade for both teams. The Blue Jays find their outfielder, and the Diamondbacks shore up holes in their lineup. It will be interesting to see how these players fit in with their new clubs in the coming season.

Main photo:
Embed from Getty Images

Players mentioned:

Daulton Varsho, Gabriel Moreno, Lourdes Gurriel Jr.