General managers Ross Atkins and Mike Hazen share details on Blue Jays/Diamondbacks trade

General managers Ross Atkins and Mike Hazen share details on Blue Jays/Diamondbacks trade

After months of speculation and interest from multiple teams, the Diamondbacks finally traded one of their left-handed outfielders and the Blue Jays finally moved one of their receivers. The two clubs joined forces in Friday’s three-man deal which saw the outfielder Daulton Varsho travel to Toronto in exchange for a receiver Gabriel Moreno and outfielder Lourdes Gurriel a profession that ticks several boxes for both organizations.

Considering how the needs of the D’Backs and Jays matched so well, it’s no surprise that Toronto general manager Ross Atkins said it was “from the start of the offseason that the dialogue beganbetween the two camps.

It was absolutely perfect with their surplus of outfielders, especially left-handed center hitters and us having a surplus of catches and their needAtkins told reporters, including TSN’s Scott Mitchell. “From the start, we felt this was going to be a very big and in-form team.

The Blue Jays entered the winter with Moreno, Alexander Kirkand Danny Janssen all lined up as options behind the plate, with Moreno (one of the game’s top prospects) set for an extended audition after making his MLB debut with 25 games played in 2022. While Varsho has just 283 MLB games on his resume, he was actually Arizona’s most experienced outfield core – Corbin Carroll and Alexander Thomas both made their big league debuts in 2022, and Jake McCarthy appeared in 123 games for the Diamondbacks over the past two seasons.

Varsho’s longer track record has seemingly made him the most sought-after player by interested teams, especially since the D’Backs have made Carroll (another elite prospect) virtually untouchable in trade negotiations. With the intention of the Diamondbacks to add “impact in this businessThat need couldn’t be met simply by buying Thomas or McCarthy, Arizona general manager Mike Hazen said.

I think there was more certainty – and clearly we have it too – with Daulton’s performance at 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 cross this divide any other way“Hazen told the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro and other reporters.

Teams such as the Yankees, Reds, White Sox, Athletics, Astros, Brewers and Marlins were also rumored to be linked with the Diamondbacks’ outfielders on the rumor mill as suitors and rebuilding teams were interested in the mix controllable young players from Arizona. Similarly, Toronto has received numerous calls about its receivers, but reports suggest the Blue Jays first wanted to wait and see where other receivers in the free agent and trade market landed. Once the Braves acquired Sean Murphy from Oakland and once Willson Contreras (cardinals) and Christian Vazquez (Twins) signed, then the road was a little clearer for the D’Backs and Jays to line up on a trade.

Even then, Atkins said finding a match was tricky because “the three receivers interested them and all their outfielders interested us. The component that made it difficult was that we were both trying to consolidate more talent on our Major League roster. They’re obviously looking to step up and push the boundaries of the winning front and that’s why Lourdes Gurriel came into the picture and made this deal work..”

Gurriel’s inclusion gives the D’Backs a veteran but not old (Gurriel enters age 29) field presence to join Carroll, McCarthy, Thomas and former AL Rookie Of The Year Kyle Lewis, who was acquired in another trade with the Mariners earlier this winter. “Hopefully the contact, the base, the hitting ability, the two-hit approach, lends itself to making our roster that much harder to go with the way some of these kids are going to run around the bases like they did last year“, Hazen said. “I feel like a lot of this dynamic attack has a chance to be buffed.”

The trade to the Jays and Mariners represents Arizona’s biggest moves of the winter, as the D’Backs have otherwise mostly focused on their bullpen with relatively inferior moves like signings from Michael Castro and Scott McGough. Friday also saw the D’Backs complete another trade, bringing Diego Castillo Pirates to add more inner depth to the mix.

With Arizona still trying to find their footing after three straight losing seasons, the Blue Jays are in a different position as a club intent on competing for a World Series in 2023. After a disappointing slump against Seattle in the Wild Card series, the Jays were aggressive in signing right-handed Chris Bassit to a three-year, $63 million deal, signing Kevin Kiermaier to a one-year contract, and the negotiation Theoscar Hernandez to sailors for Erik Swanson and perspective Adam Macko.

Now that the Jays have finally pulled the trigger on a receiver trade, Atkins said “I think our heavy work is done” for the rest of the offseason, even if the front office is “certainly not ruling anything out and would expect incremental improvements.” Both Varsho and Kiermaier are left-handed hitters, and so the Blue Jays will “looking to improve our squad from subtracting Gurriel but in our opinion it doesn’t have to be right or left handed it’s more about impact and adjustment beyond that.”

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