Diamondbacks Trade Daulton Varsho to Blue Jays for Gabriel Moreno, Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

Top: Daulton Varsho Makes a Leaping Catch Bottom Left: Gabriel Moreno Throws to Second Bottom Right: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. at bat
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) Bottom Left: BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - OCTOBER 05: Gabriel Moreno #55 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws the ball to second base against the Baltimore Orioles during game one of a doubleheader at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on October 05, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) Bottom Right: BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - SEPTEMBER 07: Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #13 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 07, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Diamondbacks Trade Daulton Varsho to Blue Jays for Moreno, Gurriel

The Arizona Diamondbacks cashed in on their left-handed-hitting outfielder surplus Friday afternoon, trading Daulton Varsho to the Toronto Blue Jays. In return, the Diamondbacks received top catching prospect Gabriel Moreno and right-handed-hitting left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. The trade was first announced by Jon Heyman of ESPN, with the Diamondbacks officially announcing the deal roughly an hour later.

Blue Jays Get Outfielder/Catcher Daulton Varsho

Daulton Varsho, once called “the most dynamic player on our roster” by Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen, first came up in 2020, which is why he has 2.128 years of service despite having played three seasons. In 283 games, he has slashed .234/.306/.432 (214-for-916) with 45 doubles, seven triples, 41 home runs, 121 RBI, 25 stolen bases in 32 attempts, 88 walks, 245 strikeouts, nine hit-by-pitches, 136 runs scored, a .319 wOBA, and 5.0 wRAA.

Defensively, Varsho gives the Blue Jays versatility. In 2022, he was a finalist for the Rawlings Gold Glove in the National League as a Utility player after finishing with six Total Zone Fielding Runs Above Average (Rtot on Baseball Reference) and 14 Defensive Runs Saved (Rdrs) in 541 2/3 innings as a right fielder. He also had five Rtot and five Rdrs in 378 2/3 innings as a center fielder.

In his career, he has played 690 1/3 innings across 98 games (76 starts) as a center fielder. He has also played 620 innings across 83 games (70 starts) as a right fielder, 553 innings across 82 games (61 starts) as a catcher, and 103 2/3 innings across 17 games (11 starts) as a left fielder. Defensively, he is much better in the outfield than at catcher. For his career, he has six Rtot and five Rdrs in center, eight Rtot and 16 Rdrs in right, and two Rtot and five Rdrs in left. As a catcher, he has -1 Rtot and -11 Rdrs in his career.

Diamondbacks Get Left Fielder Lourdes Gurriel, Jr.

In return, the Diamondbacks received two players. One was veteran left fielder Lourdes Gurriel, Jr, who came up as an infielder. After Gurriel made the majors in 2018, a logjam of middle infielders — Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette, Freddy Galvis, Marcus Semien, and Santiago Espinal — forced a move to left field. In Gurriel’s five seasons, he has played in 468 games. He has slashed .285/.329/.468 (491-for-1724) with 101 doubles, five triples, 68 home runs, 254 RBI, 14 stolen bases in 28 attempts, 106 walks, 378 strikeouts, 15 hit-by-pitches, 224 runs scored, a .339 wOBA, and 37.6 wRAA.

Gurriel, 29, made 46 appearances at shortstop and 24 at second base in 2018. Those were his only appearances at shortstop. He made nine more appearances at second base in 2019 but none since, giving him 33 total in his career. Gurriel has also made 23 appearances at first base — three in 2019, one in 2020, 11 in 2021, and eight in 2022. But the lion’s share of his career appearances has come in left field. A regular since 2019, Gurriel has made 340 appearances there — 63 in 2019, 53 in 2020, 119 in 2021, and 105 in 2022. His innings breakdown is 351 1/3 at shortstop, 272 1/3 at second, 106 1/3 at first, and 2810 in left.

Defensively, Gurriel has been better in left than he was at the other positions. At shortstop, he has -8 Rtot and -8 Rdrs. Second base wasn’t as far below average, coming in at -1 Rtot and -4 Rdrs. Over at first base, he has two Rtot and two Rdrs, while in left, he has four Rtot and three Rdrs. In 2022, he was second in the American League and third in the majors in Rdrs among those with 800-plus innings, with three.

Diamondbacks Also Get Catcher Gabriel Moreno

The other piece in the return haul for the Diamondbacks is catcher Gabriel Moreno, who was the top-rated prospect in the entire Blue Jays system and the seventh-rated prospect in the majors. A native of Venezuela, the 22-year-old has been described by Fangraphs as “the most athletic catcher to come along since J.T. Realmuto.” Moreno hit the famous ball while playing for the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons that stuck in the outfield wall. Not the crack between the padding — the actual padding itself.

His prospect ratings, according to Fangraphs: 60/70 Hit, 40/45 Game Power, 50/50 Raw Power, 50/50 Speed, 50/55 Fielding, and 60 Future Value (out of 80). The 60 Future Value translates to “All-Star” on the Fangraphs WAR scale.

Moreno in the Majors

Moreno made his major league debut June 11, 2022 and played 18 games before heading back to Buffalo. He was recalled September 15, playing in seven more games at the very end of the season. In his brief time in the majors, he played in 25 games, starting 18. He slashed .319/.356/.377 (22-for-69) with a double, a homer, seven RBI, four walks, eight whiffs, 10 runs scored, a .326 wOBA, and 0.9 wRAA.

Moreno made 19 defensive appearances at catcher as well as one appearance each at second base, third base, and left field. (Note: Due to playing multiple positions in the same game, adding his appearances together will give a sum greater than 25.) Take the infield and outfield appearances with a grain of salt — he played four innings at third, four in left, and one at second. As a catcher, however, he played 147 2/3 innings. Runners stole 10 bases against him in 17 attempts, giving Moreno a caught stealing percentage of 41% — well higher than the league average of 25%.

As a catcher, Moreno had an Rtot of one and Rdrs of two. Projecting those totals to 1200 innings instead of the 147 2/3 he played gives 11 Rtot/yr and 16 Rdrs/yr. The former would have tied Gold Glove winner Jose Trevino for the AL lead and the latter would have been fifth in the AL behind Trevino, Adley Rutschman, Cal Raleigh, and Alejandro Kirk.

See also:

General Manager Mike Hazen had a press conference Friday evening via Zoom with several Diamondbacks writers. Read about it here.

Main Photo:

The main photo is a composite of the following three images.

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

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