Blue Jays: Don't expect Daulton Varsho to do much catching in 2023

Toronto Blue Jays Photo Day
Toronto Blue Jays Photo Day / Elsa/GettyImages

When the Toronto Blue Jays traded away Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and top catching prospect Gabriel Moreno to the Arizona Diamondbacks, many reactions from fans were negative from the get-go.

However, Daulton Varsho, the piece heading from Arizona to Toronto, is a super-athlete who is widely expected to play a huge role on the team in 2023 and beyond.

Varsho, 26, came up as a catcher in the Diamondbacks system. With his otherworldly agility, the club decided to give him a look in the corner outfield to see if they could utilize his speed and range in a better way.

The Marshfield, WI native took to the outfield immediately, becoming one of the best defender on the grass in the entire league. Statcast can't speak highly enough of his play in the outfield. Last season, he was ranked in the 99th percentile in Outs Above Average and Outfielder Jump.

It's one thing for a catcher to play corner outfield (see Chris Herrmann, Garrett Stubbs, Ryan Doumit and even Russell Martin in recent years), but the fact that Varsho can play center field at such an impressive level is exciting for the Blue Jays.

With Alejandro Kirk and Danny Jansen, two All-Star-caliber catchers in their own right, already on the roster, Varsho is not likely going to see much, if any, time behind the plate in the upcoming season.

With the aforementioned presence of Kirk and Jansen behind the plate, Varsho is planning on keeping the outfield as his main focus with the Jays, which will likely not come as much of a surprise. Per Ben Nicholson-Smith, the plan is for Varsho to only suit up behind the plate in emergency scenarios only.

Interestingly, journeyman Rob Brantly is seen as the first in line to get called up if a long-term need comes up. Brantly, 33, was just recently signed to a minor league contract and is in big league Spring Training with the team.

Over the course of an eight-year big league career, Brantly has seven home runs and 37 RBI. He has made under 15 appearances in 2015, 2017 and from 2019-2022 for four different teams. His last bit of regular playing time came all the way back in 2013 for the Marlins.

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