Is it here? Major trade season? It’s not at all uncommon for the handful of big trades that happen in a given offseason to take place after most of the big free agents have signed, so the timing does track this year.
Because this is a MAJOR trade:
Varsho, 26, rated out as one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball last year (and he can also do some catching), and the bat kept on progressing to the point where he was solidly above average overall in 2022. Varsho is under control for four more seasons. He also has good speed, and has upside from here. Every team in baseball would want Varsho.
Even still, the Blue Jays are paying a HEFTY price to acquire him, parting with young catcher Gabriel Moreno, regarded by many as a top 10 prospect before graduating last year. The 22-year-old backstop was a monster at the plate in the minors, and also projects to be a solid defensive catcher. He is a stud. Every team in baseball would want Moreno, too. Heh.
… but I am bummed. Not that I thought the Cubs would get either of these guys, but it’s a reminder of how some of the best young players in the game were available at spots where the Cubs had clear needs, and the Cubs were never seriously involved on them. The interesting thing is, if each side got precisely the type of return they were looking for in a deal like this, I’m not sure the Cubs could have even been on either side of it if they wanted to. They just don’t line up with those pieces.
I expect this means the Blue Jays are all set at catcher now, going with Alejandro Kirk and Danny Jansen, and they finally get their lefty bat for the outfield. The Diamondbacks, who are STILL loaded in the outfield, now get a franchise catcher, and probably don’t lose all that much in 2023 either. Really a win-win trade.
UPDATE: Passan reports that the other player going to the Diamondbacks in the deal is outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who isn’t exactly a thrown-in. He’s an above-average hitter, and a bad defender, and he comes with two years of team control. Useful guy to have for sure.