Toronto Blue Jays-Arizona Diamondbacks Trade Has Greatly Improved Both Teams

Good baseball trades help improve both teams involved.

Good baseball trades make both teams better.

Good trades help resolve unmet team needs.

The Toronto Blue Jays and Arizona Diamondbacks have completed a three-player trade that helped strengthen and improve both teams. They made a very fair, but consequential trade. Team needs were addressed.

The Diamondbacks sent outfielder/catcher Daulton Varsho to the Blue Jays for catcher Gabriel Moreno and outfielder/infielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

Varsho, 26, is in the prime of his career. The left-handed hitter is coming off the best, and most impressive season of his career. Varsho hit 27 homers, drove in 74 runs and scored 79 runs for a Diamondbacks club that improved markedly as the season progressed.

Moreno, who will turn 23 in February, has been viewed by MLB scouts and analysts as one of the best prospects in the game. The right-handed hitting Moreno played 25 games for the parent Blue Jays last season, hitting .319 in 73 rookie plate appearances.

Gurriel, 29, is a right-handed hitting outfielder/infielder with parts of five MLB seasons, all with Toronto.

About Daulton Varsho:

This scout was in attendance for many of Varsho’s home games at Chase Field in Phoenix. To this observer, Varsho remains one of the most underrated players in the game.

Varsho brings a unique blend of potential power, speed, and very solid defense in the outfield. He is much more proficient as an outfielder, than as a catcher.

Drafted in the 2nd round in 2017 out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Varsho was given a signing bonus of $881,100 by the Diamondbacks.

Drafted as a catcher, Varsho has caught and has played all three outfield positions for Arizona.

Last season, for example, Varsho played 103 games in the outfield, caught 31 games, and was used as the Diamondbacks designated hitter in 15 games.

Varsho will probably play left field in a Blue Jays outfield that will include newly acquired Kevin Kiermaier in center and highly regarded George Springer in right field.

While Kiermaier brings Gold Glove caliber defense to center field for the Blue Jays, Varsho is a very solid offensive replacement for right-handed hitting Teoscar Hernandez, who was traded by Toronto to the Seattle Mariners in a deal for right-handed reliever Erik Swanson, and prospect left-handed pitcher Adam Macko.

To this old scout, Varsho is just beginning to tap into his offensive potential. While he had a career best with his 23 homers, he is capable of more. Potentially much more.

Varsho leaves a Diamondbacks lineup that didn’t have game-changing impact hitters. Hitting in a Blue Jays lineup that includes George Springer, Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Alejandro Kirk, it is highly probable Varsho’s home run and RBI totals will improve.

According to RosterResource, Varsho is projected to hit 6th in the Blue Jays lineup, directly behind third baseman Matt Chapman. There should be runners on base for Varsho when he gets to the plate.

When scouting Varsho over the years, this scout has been most impressed with Varsho’s first-step quickness in the outfield. He gets a terrific jump on the ball, takes good routes, and closes very quickly on balls hit to the gap. He’s a potential Gold Glove quality outfielder.

The Blue Jays have obtained a bonus when trading for Varsho. If Toronto needs a third catcher behind Alejandro Kirk and Danny Jansen, they can turn to Varsho. Varsho offers the team lineup flexibility.

Varsho’s strong and accurate arm qualifies him to play right field, but that role probably belongs to Springer.

Varsho is the son of former MLB player, Gary Varsho.

Gary Varsho spent his first nine years in the big leagues with the Chicago Cubs. A utility player with Chicago, Varsho went on to become a regular with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Now, Gary Varsho’s son, Daulton, will be leaving the team that drafted him, changing leagues, and getting a golden opportunity to play on the contending Toronto Blue Jays.

About Gabriel Moreno:

Gabriel Moreno was signed by the Blue Jays out of Venezuela as an international free agent in 2016.

Moreno was given a $25,000 signing bonus, which has become a wonderful investment. By helping to fetch Varsho, Moreno has already exceeded the value of his bonus.

As a 17-year-old beginning his career with Toronto in the Dominican Summer League, Moreno began to show promise as a hitter and solid defensive catcher.

To date, Moreno has played parts of five seasons in the Blue Jays minor league development program.

This scout observed Moreno in the 2021 Arizona Fall League. Playing for Mesa that fall, Moreno was a league leader in offense and behind the plate. He hit .329/410/.494/.904 with 11 doubles, one home run, and 18 RBIs in his 100 plate appearances.

Moreno impressed scouts with advanced mechanics behind the plate. His arm was strong and accurate, and he played the position with the poise and skill of a seasoned veteran.

It seems the Fall League set the future stage for an emerging Moreno.

Moreno is an elite athlete. At 5-11, 195 pounds, Moreno is agile, and strong.

Being able to control the barrel of the bat, Moreno’s excellent eye-hand coordination, and his quick hands through the ball lead to hard hit, line drive doubles to the gap. Eventually, as he matures, more and more of his hard hit balls will clear the fences for home runs.

A good handler of pitchers, Moreno’s catching mechanics are improving with experience. Moreno has a quick release, and is very accurate in his throws. He’s a quality receiver, and is a good handler of pitchers.

While he may not be handed the catching job out of spring training, Moreno will be challenging veteran Carson Kelly to become the leading catcher on an improving Diamondbacks club.

It is this scout’s opinion Moreno will win the Diamondbacks catching role, and remain in that position for years to come. He’s that promising. Unproven, but promising.

About Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

More than a “throw-in” in the trade, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. could win the left field job for the Diamondbacks.

Becoming part of a very young, and talented outfield, Gurriel Jr. offers the Diamondbacks a veteran presence and additional outfield depth. But…and this is important, Gurriel Jr. has played the outfield, shortstop, second base and first base in his career. That versatility will add depth to Arizona’s roster.

Lourdes is the younger brother of 38-year-old Yuli Gurriel. The brothers defected from Cuba. Yuli recently played for the Houston Astros, and is now a free agent.

At 6-4, 215 pounds, Gurriel Jr. turned 29 in October. He still has plenty of baseball ahead.

The Blue Jays signed Gurriel to a seven-year, $22M contract in 2016. He hit .344 with 17 doubles, and 10 home runs in Cuba’s Serie Nacional in 2015. His brother Yuli was given a $47.5M contract by Houston.

A good contact hitter, Gurriel’s home run production declined from 21 to five last year. He hit .291/.343/.400/.743 in 453 plate appearances for Toronto. He struck out only 83 times.


The Toronto Blue Jays and Arizona Diamondbacks have completed a trade that immediately helps both teams.

It is highly probable newly acquired Daulton Varsho will see his offensive statistics improve in a very solid Toronto Blue Jays lineup.

Gabriel Moreno will likely become a long-term starting catcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. offers Arizona defensive versatility and another solid bat for their improving club.