D-backs trade Varsho to Jays, receive Moreno, Gurriel

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FILE -Arizona Diamondbacks' Daulton Varsho is congratulated int he dugout after hitting a solo home run off Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Cal Quantrill during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, in Cleveland. The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired highly regarded catching prospect Gabriel Moreno and veteran outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. on Friday, Dec. 23, 2022, sending slugger Daulton Varsho to the Toronto Blue Jays.(AP Photo/David Dermer, File)

PHOENIX – The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired one of the top prospects in baseball, adding catcher Gabriel Moreno and veteran outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in a Friday swap that sent slugger Daulton Varsho to the Toronto Blue Jays.

The 22-year-old Moreno made the majors last year with the Blue Jays, hitting .319 with a homer in 69 at-bats. The 29-year-old Gurriel is a five-year veteran who hit .291 with five homers and 32 doubles last season.

The Blue Jays get the versatile Varsho, who was arguably the best player on the Diamondbacks last season. The 26-year-old Varsho hit a career-high 27 homers in 2022. He is an excellent defender in the outfield who also has the ability to play catcher.

Moreno and Gurriel are both right-handed hitters, which allows the D-backs to balance their left-handed heavy lineup.

Varsho is a left-handed hitter and was part of Arizona's group of young, talented outfielders that includes Corbin Carroll, Alek Thomas, Jake McCarthy, Stone Garrett and Pavin Smith. The D-backs finished with a 74-88 record last season and are trying to compete in the loaded NL West, which includes the big-spending Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.

The Blue Jays had the opposite problem of the Diamondbacks: a heavily right-handed lineup. The addition of Varsho should give them more left-handed balance in the middle of the order.

The trade for Varsho is the latest offseason move for the busy Blue Jays, who also have added outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, starting pitcher Chris Bassitt and reliever Erik Swanson. Toronto loses Moreno but has some depth at catcher with All-Star Alejandro Kirk and Danny Jansen.

Gurriel is the brother of Astros slugger Yuli Gurriel. Varsho is the son of former MLB outfielder Gary Varsho.

To make room on the 40-man roster for both players, the D-backs designated catcher Ali Sánchez for assignment.


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