GMs Ross Atkins and Mike Hazen share details on trading Blue Jays/Diamondbacks

After months of speculation and interest from multiple teams, the Diamondbacks finally traded one of their left-handed outfielders and the Blue Jays eventually moved one of their catchers. The two clubs joined forces in Friday’s three-player deal, which featured an outfielder Daulton Varsho Head to Toronto in exchange for catcher Gabriel Moreno and outfield players Lourdes Gurriel Jr.in a trade that ticks several boxes for both organizations.

Given that the needs of the D’Backs and Jays were so well aligned, it’s no surprise that Toronto GM Ross Atkins said it was “Right at the start of the off-season, that dialogue began‘ between the two pages.

It was absolutely a great match for their surplus of outfielders, especially left-handers who hit midfielders and us who have a surplus of catches and the need for them‘ Atkins told reporters, including TSN’s Scott Mitchell. “Right from the start, we had the feeling that this would be a very important and suitable team.”

The Blue Jays went to winter with Moreno, Alejandro Kirkand Danny Jansen All were options behind the plate, with Moreno (one of the game’s best prospects) looking poised for an extended audition after his 25-game MLB debut in 2022. While Varsho has just 283 MLB games on his resume, he was actually Arizona’s most experienced outfield core – Corbin Caroll and Alexander Thomas both made their big league debuts in 2022, and Jake McCarthy has played 123 games for the Diamondbacks over the past two seasons.

Varsho’s longer track record seems to have made him the most desirable player for prospective teams, especially since the D’Backs made Carroll (another elite prospect) all but untouchable in trade negotiations. With the intention of the Diamondbacks, “Impact on this tradeAccording to Arizona General Manager Mike Hazen, that need could not be met simply by purchasing Thomas or McCarthy.

I think there was more certainty – and we clearly have it too – with Daulton’s performance up to this point in his career, and probably rightly so, that teams were willing to pay more for it. I don’t know if we would ever cross that chasm otherwise‘ Hazen told Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro and other reporters.

Teams like the Yankees, Reds, White Sox, Athletics, Astros, Brewers and Marlins have also been linked to the Diamondbacks’ outfielders in the rumor mill, as both contenders and recovery teams alike took an interest in Arizona’s mix of controllable youngsters. Likewise, Toronto received many calls about its catchers, but reports indicated the Blue Jays initially wanted to wait and see where some other catchers landed in the free agent and traded markets. Once the Braves have acquired Sean Murphy from Oakland and once Willson Contreras (Cardinals) and Christian Vazquez (Twins) signed, the D’Backs and Jays then had a little clearer path to focus on a trade.

Even then, Atkins said it was difficult to find a match because “All three catchers were of interest to them and all of their outfielders were of interest to us. The component that made it difficult was that we were both trying to consolidate more talent into our major league roster. They’re obviously trying to take steps forward and push the envelope on the winning front and that’s why Lourdes Gurriel came into the picture and made this deal work.”

Gurriel’s admission gives the D’Backs a veteran but not old (Gurriel is stepping into his 29-year) outfield presence to join Carroll, McCarthy, Thomas and former AL Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis, which was acquired earlier this winter in another deal with the Mariners. “I’m hoping that the contact, the base, the ability to hit, the two-hit approach will help make our lineup even tougher when it comes to how some of these kids are going to run around bases like last year‘ said Rabbit. “I feel like a lot of these dynamic attacks have a chance to be improved.”

Trading the Jays and Mariners represents Arizona’s biggest moves of the winter, as the D’Backs have otherwise focused primarily on their bullpen with relatively lower-level moves like signings of Miguel Castro and Scott McGough. On Friday, the D’Backs also made another trade and brought Diego Castillo by the Pirates to add more infield depth to the mix.

With Arizona still trying to find a foothold after losing three straight seasons, the Blue Jays are in a different position as a club intending to compete for a World Series in 2023. After a disappointing collapse against Seattle in the Wild Card Series, the Jays have been aggressive in signing right-handers Chris Bassitt to a three-year, $63 million contract, signing Kevin Kiermaier on a one year contract and trade Teoscar Hernandez to the Mariners for Eric Swanson and view Adam Macko.

Now that the Jays finally pulled a catcher trade, Atkins said, “I think our heavy lifting is done” for the rest of the off-season, although the front office “certainly not ruling anything out and would expect some incremental improvements.” Varsho and Kiermaier are both left-handed, and thus the Blue Jays “Our team are looking to improve from the Gurriel trigger, but from our perspective it doesn’t have to be right or left handed, it’s more about the power and fit beyond that.”

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