Grading the Blue Jays’ last offseason through the first half of the 2023 season

How has the offseason moves by Jays' GM Ross Atkins paid off for the Blue Jays as they hit the midway point of the 2023 season?
Ross Atkins
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2. Key offseason trades

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Gabriel Moreno to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Daulton Varsho

With an excess of catchers in the organization, Atkins took full advantage of that to address the Jays’ defensive needs in the outfield by dealing top prospect Gabriel Moreno, along with long-time Jay-favourite Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to Arizona for defensive stalwart Daulton Varsho. Varsho has certainly delivered in the defensive side of his game, with 16 DRS, seven outfield assists, and a .995 fielding percentage with just one error all season. With numbers even excelling those of Kiermaier’s, he has definitely been more than just as advertised for sure. On the other hand, his offence still leaves a lot to be desired, as he was expected to have a breakout year hitting in a hitter’s friendly ballpark like the Rogers Centre. However, up until the All-Star break, he has hit only .214, with an OPS of .645, with 12 home runs, 30 RBI, and 11 stolen bases, solid numbers, but not great.

For Gurriel Jr., he has had a huge bounce back season with the Diamondbacks after a severe power outage last year with the Jays. His offensive output of 15 home runs, 54 RBI, together with a .263 batting average and .810 OPS was enough to earn him a spot in this year’s All-Star game as well. For Moreno, he has had an up and down season so far, with a slow start, followed by a hot stretch, then followed by a cold streak, but overall, has performed admirably in his rookie season with a .267 average with 10 doubles, two home runs and 26 RBI. But most impressively has been his defensive performance, having committed only one error all season, as well as throwing out 47% of the baserunners.

Trade Grade: B – Varsho’s defence has certainly helped make a huge difference for the Jays with their newly formed outfield this year. However, they are definitely missing some of the big time offence Gurriel Jr. had been providing, along with Moreno’s defensive capabilities, as Danny Jansen and Alejandro Kirk are a combined below 18% in throwing out baserunners.