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Finally has happened - via Jeff Passan of ESPN.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported Gurriel Jr being part of the deal.

This deal makes a TON of sense - no more debates on our catching situation, clear out a slot for new guy and the team's OF defense is now so much better than last year.

Daulton Varsho is entering his age 26 season and is under team control through 2026. He had a 109 OPS+ 235/302/443 line last year, his first full season in the majors. He played RF/CF/CA last year and has played LF in the past as well.

The Trade Simulator likes this for the Jays - Varsho listed at 74.5 in value, Moreno 53.7, Gurriel Jr 5.6. If this is it for the trade the Jays did well.
Trade at Last - Moreno and Gurriel for Daulton Varsho | 246 comments | Create New Account
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greenfrog - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:08 PM EST (#425485) #
Wow. I just wrote about the possibility of exactly this trade (minus Gurriel Jr.). It will be interesting to see if they also extend Jansen at some point.

Trading Moreno hurts but the team probably needed to make this type of move. Varsho was my ideal trade target (within the ďrealisticĒ category). The Jays should have very good OF defense in 2023.
PeterG - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:10 PM EST (#425486) #
still need to acquire another OF imo
Eephus - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:11 PM EST (#425487) #
I don't think I like it all that much. But I've never even seen Varsho play so.... maybe? He seems the best player in the deal at least.

Best of luck to Moreno. Throwing in Lourdes is the odd extra part of it to me, even on the other side of it since Arizona supposedly has outfielders coming out their teal and red noses. 
John Northey - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:17 PM EST (#425490) #
I'd say the new roster is...
  • C: Kirk/Jansen
  • 1B: Vlad
  • 2B: Merrifield/Espinal/Biggio
  • 3B: Chapman
  • SS: Bo
  • LF: Varsho
  • CF: Kiermaier
  • RF: Springer
  • Others: 2 slots for Horwitz, Lukes, Lopez, etc.
My favorite for backups are Lopez and Lukes right now - covers off everything and neither is a hot prospect so losing AAA time won't matter. Varsho & Springer can shuffle to cover CF if/when KK is hurt, with Merrifield and Biggio splitting time in RF probably. DH will be Kirk mostly with Springer and Vlad getting their time with Biggio and Merrifield dancing around while Espinal covers SS/3B backup mainly.
99BlueJaysWay - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:18 PM EST (#425491) #
I only know about Varsho through what other boxites have shared. Iím sad to see Moreno go. I believe he will be an impact player.

Given the timing of this, it seems to me like the Jays had this on the table and pulled the trigger once Conforto went elsewhere.
Katie - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:19 PM EST (#425492) #
The only way Varsho is that valuable according to Trade Simulator (not that I think that is a particularly good way to analyse trades considering all of the other tools available) is if he's considered a catcher, which the Jays will almost certainly not be using him as barring an injury and maybe not even then (Arizona didn't use him as a catcher after July).
Gerry - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:20 PM EST (#425493) #
Does this get Toronto back under the tax level.
Gerry - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:22 PM EST (#425494) #
Seems like a steep price to pay. I would have thought a one for one Varsho for Moreno was more reasonable. I guess Gurriel with the salary and the injury history wasn't that valuable.

Frees up another 40 man roster spot....small benefit.
John Northey - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:22 PM EST (#425495) #
I've had worries about Moreno for awhile - his injuries every year (hasn't played even 90 games in a season yet), his power vanishing in 2022 (4 HR in 307 AB's), the stats I listed before about how he did with the Jays starting pitchers (very poor results) all suggest to me he isn't as good a hitter and not as good a fielder as we all hoped. For his sake (and Arizona's) I hope I'm way off. Gurriel was here for just one more year and now we don't have to watch his creative fielding, nor Teoscar's anymore. Varsho-KK-Springer in the OF will be heaven to the Jays pitchers. I suspect they all are sending big Christmas baskets to Atkins right now.
PeterG - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:23 PM EST (#425496) #
I don't think so. Shapiro has said he has the go ahead to stay above tax level.
Glevin - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:24 PM EST (#425497) #
As put in other thread, Varsho is an elite defender in OF with power and isn't a FA until 2027.hes the long-term CFer Jays need. Cost is high but you don't get 4.5 WAR players under a lot of team control for cheap. Jays need to go and get a decent 4th OFer now. Varsho also is useful when Kirk DHs because he can catch if there's an injury.
greenfrog - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:25 PM EST (#425498) #
Also, if KK stays relatively healthy in 2023, then Varsho will be a LF, reducing his value even more. But I imagine he will see time in CF this year. And he will give the team a full-time center fielder for at least three seasons after that (2024-26).

Iím curious whether the Jays have already asked Jansen whether he would be open to an extension. I could see that happening. The catching depth in the minors is pretty thin beyond Jansen/Kirk.
grjas - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:25 PM EST (#425499) #
Wow. I looked at this option on trade simulator earlier this week and didnít think the Jays could get it done. On paper this looks great. He even provides them with a third backup catcher in a total pinch.

This will save them a few dollars in the ST so A 4th outfielder and a 5th starter should be affordable as well and then the team will be in very good shape.

The FOnhas delivered, now the players have to.

Gerry - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:26 PM EST (#425500) #
Is Bo Bichette now the Jays worst defender compared to league average?
smyttysmullet94 - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:27 PM EST (#425501) #
Kudos to Atkins for making a trade involving a vaunted prospectÖit takes guts.

Hard to be unhappy about how good this OF now is, on paper.
John Northey - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:28 PM EST (#425502) #
For fun here is an Arizona Diamondbacks reddit to see how their fans are reacting.
Eephus - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:30 PM EST (#425503) #
Varsho's R/L platoon splits aren't appropriate for viewing in this festive season either. He's very much a platoon bat, and hasn't played a whole lot of LF either (not an inning in 2022). I'm having a hard time imagining Varsho, Kiermaier and Springer all in the lineup together (George has played just three innings in LF if you're wondering). Kiermaier surely won't be up to 140 games (120 would be lucky) but you have to figure this will come up.

If Varsho is really this good defensively (and he better be, because this bat seems pretty meh to me) I'm sure assuming LF full-ish time won't be too much of an issue. I think this trade makes the team better but really not by a whole lot, like they've swapped one redundancy for another. I'll probably be hilariously wrong when July comes around, but at the moment I think we're getting an good-not-great useful cheap guy for a potential star.  
Katie - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:35 PM EST (#425504) #
FWIW, ZIPS has Varsho being worth 2.6 WAR next year in 530-some at-bats and Moreno being worth 1.5 WAR in approximately 300 at-bats, so they are on a roughly equal WAR/PA pace at this stage already.

Moreno had a higher OPS+ last year than Varsho has had in any season of his major league career. Moreno had an OBP 35 points higher than Varsho's ever had in a major league season in his rookie year. Moreno's number 2 comp by ZIPS is Joe Mauer, who is one of the best catchers of the 2000's. There's a lot of stats that can be pointed to counter concerns about Moreno's lack of power last year.

I get why the Jays did it, it fills some needs they were looking to fix in their lineup. I just wouldn't have done it on first blush. As someone else said upthread, it seems they decided this was what they were going to do if they missed out on Conforto.
Gerry - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:35 PM EST (#425505) #
The Jays have gone from needing a left handed hitting outfielder to now needing a right handed outfielder. If they are facing a lefty you probably don't want to start both Varsho and Kiermaier.
Gerry - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:37 PM EST (#425506) #
I guess Merrifield is the right handed outfielder now, unless Otto Lopez makes the team.
Katie - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:37 PM EST (#425507) #
For fun here is an Arizona Diamondbacks reddit to see how their fans are reacting.

Quite well, it seems....

raptorsaddict - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:43 PM EST (#425508) #
As someone else has said, it would have been nice if weíd have also gotten a reliever, because it otherwise feels like a bit of an overpay. Although I say that based only on what Iíve read here and elsewhere, as Iíve never seen him actually play. If his defence is legit in center I feel a bit better, but otherwise this feels like a trade we lost. Hopefully Iíll be eating my words in a few months!
BlueJayWay - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:43 PM EST (#425509) #
Good trade and I think a fair trade for both sides. Varsho is elite defensively, and so far is a bit above average with upside for more. Entering his age 26 season so the Jays'll likely be getting him for his prime offensive seasons. Four seasons of club control, and fits perfectly with where the Jays roster is right now. Moreno's an excellent prospect but has yet to establish himself and in baseball ya never really know what they'll become. Gurriel is kind of a throw-in at this point. I like it for both teams.
greenfrog - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:44 PM EST (#425511) #
I donít really have a problem with both Varsho and KK starting against a LHP, with Springer, Bo, Vladdy, Kirk, Chapman, Jansen and Espinal in the lineup.
Nigel - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:46 PM EST (#425512) #
Man, every transaction this offseason Iíve had exactly the same reaction: the move is exactly right from a conceptual perspective, I just donít like the actual execution. Itís hard to argue with the idea but Iím not nearly as enamoured with Varsho as others are. So much of his value is tied to his defense and his major league defensive metrics have ranged from above average to elite. If his defense isnít elite this is a bad trade. Plus, heís close to unplayable against lefties. Varsho is the Devon White starter package without the switch hitting. White was an incredibly valuable player so thereís definitely a path to this working out well but itís a very narrow path.
Glevin - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:46 PM EST (#425513) #
"Moreno's number 2 comp by ZIPS is Joe Mauer, who is one of the best catchers of the 2000's. There's a lot of stats that can be pointed to counter concerns about Moreno's lack of power last year."

And his #1 comparison is Russ Nixon. Sure, Moreno might have a fantastic career but trading prospects is almost always a good idea for teams going for it.
John Northey - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:49 PM EST (#425514) #
Fangraphs has Varsho as +16.4 last year mostly in RF on defense. Hernandez was -8.9 and has never been a positive on defense. Gurriel a -9.8 in LF, and again never a positive. Springer mostly in CF was -4.1 last year and only has been positive in 2019. For ugly though you look at Tapia -8.7 after having a positive 2.2 the year before (weird, I can't imagine him being a positive on defense maybe he was just the blind squirrel finding nuts that year). Zimmer was +2.9 last year. Kiermaier of course is +97 lifetime mostly in CF, 2.6 last year in just 63 games.

So combined last year the core OF (Gurriel/Springer/Hernandez/Tapia/Zimmer) were all negative fielders, totaling -22.8 for the big 3, -5.8 for the main backups. Net -28.6. Varsho + KK = +19 then mix in Springer's -4.1 to get +14.9. Clearly the Jays are going for defense as a top priority in 2023. The outfield difference is 4+ wins on defense before factoring in whoever #4 will be (Merrifield is the top possibility at the moment).

My bet now is the Jays sign a free agent to fill the 4th OF role, ideally someone who can play elsewhere as well (they love versatility). Jurickson Profar I think would fit nicely (just LF last year, but had 10+ games in 2021 in RF/1B/CF/2B as well and lifetime has over 100 games at SS and 89 at 3B) - he is also a switch hitter who had a 111 OPS+ last year but just 94 lifetime. I suspect someone will offer him a full-time job though. I expect the Jays to sit back and wait and see who is left over when it gets close to spring for this role unless someone takes a deal the Jays are willing to offer (sub $10 mil, knowledge of it being a part time role).

Next priority is a #5 starter who is really a #4 with potential to be a #2 or #3 and a lights out reliever ideally with a killer arm and high K's - Craig Kimbrel is still out there as an example of what is possible still.
Glevin - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:50 PM EST (#425515) #
"If his defence is legit in center I feel a bit better, but otherwise this feels like a trade we lost."

He led all OFs in baseball with OAA in 2022. He's legit.
92-93 - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:53 PM EST (#425516) #
Has anything come out about which side demanded Gurrielís inclusion in the trade?

These are the kind of bold trades you want to see the front office be willing to make. Hopefully their talent evaluators know what theyíre doing, and that they didnít force a trade because they struck out on FAs and felt forced by having 3 catchers.
greenfrog - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:58 PM EST (#425517) #
Interestingly, in 2021 Varsho was actually better against LHP (117 wRC+) than he was against RHP (92 wRC+).

You can make a good argument that this is an overpay. Moreno could end up being a very, very good catcher in the majors. But this is the Jaysí prime window to field a championship-level team. They had to make a move within their budgetary constraints to augment the team further and this is it. Time will tell whether it was a good one.
Nigel - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 04:59 PM EST (#425518) #
Iím never wild about paying full price based upon one year of defensive data. Iím not saying that he isnít a good defender.

As the team needs exactly someone like Gurriel, itís hard not to surmise that that was a salary dump.
johnny was - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 05:00 PM EST (#425519) #
At first glance, Varsho looks a lot like a lefty-hitting 2017-18 Randal Grichuk.
greenfrog - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 05:03 PM EST (#425520) #
Better BB and K rates for Varsho (compared to Grichuk).
Katie - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 05:05 PM EST (#425521) #
And his #1 comparison is Russ Nixon. Sure, Moreno might have a fantastic career but trading prospects is almost always a good idea for teams going for it.

I don't really agree with this (or at least I think this is imprecise). I think trading prospects for a contending team is often a good idea, but there's a difference between trading your #5 prospect or a live arm in Low-A and trading a consensus Top 10 prospect in baseball.

Trading Moreno is materially different than trading, for example, Simeon Woods-Richardson. Moreno is not likely to have a Hall of Fame-calibre career, of course, but all of the accolades he's received, and his performance in the minors and in the majors, suggest a very good career is a reasonable possibility. Maybe that never comes to fruition either, but I think it's different from a lottery ticket arm or a player who's 50% outcome is Omar Narvaez.

I don't think Moreno is as good as Varsho is today, but I think there's a chance he's 80% as good and I just wouldn't have dealt him and Gurriel for Varsho. I don't know how close they were on Conforto, but I would have upped the offer on Conforto or just hung onto my catchers for the moment.

grjas - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 05:07 PM EST (#425522) #
Always tough to trade a top prospect, so I get the concerns. On the other hand, we needed a strong LH hitter and his OPS..in only his first full yearÖ was 802 from the left side. We needed a good LT CF option, and others have commented on his results to date. We needed another OFíer beyond the 2023 season, and we have him for years. And If you like bWar, his was higher than any Jay last year.

Was Adding in Gurriel an overpay? May be, but Gurriel needs to play regularly to get hot, and he was only around for another year. So to me, he was redundant.

Am I going to miss Morenoís arm and bat. Yup. Could he make Atkinsí deal look bad. May be. But there sure seems a lot to like about the boxes a Varsho acquisition can tick.

And this should put to bed once and for all the concern that the FO is totally risk averse.
Petey Baseball - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 05:09 PM EST (#425523) #
I have had the MLB Extra Innings package the last two seasons and I admit the D'Backs are the team for whom I rarely click the remote on for the least. Their games are usually on a 10pm when I'm either in bed or about to sleep.

I've heard nothing of this guy except what many astute Bauxites have opined about him this offseason. Hats off to those who snuffed this one out.

That being said, the fact he played in Arizona is why this trade is being weighted in the D'Backs favor so much. Clearly this was probably Plan C for a left handed outfielder and giving up Moreno and Gurriel was painful. And I've really been hammering the Jays for not spending more money and taking more risks.
But I this is a good trade for them. They've now got amazing outfield defence, and if he hits about the same as he did last year, I think they're better off with him than Lourdes.





Forkball - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 05:13 PM EST (#425524) #
The Jays have traded a lot of highly regarded prospects the last couple years. I donít think thereís any regret yet but eventually itís going to bite them.

Gurriel and Teoscar both traded. A lot of fun shipped out this offseason.
Nigel - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 05:14 PM EST (#425525) #
Trading a top 10 prospect in baseball for your plan C seems like a poor idea.
Cracka - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 05:15 PM EST (#425526) #
I wrote this earlier - I think Varsho has untapped potential upside as a hitter. This will be his first off-season & spring training as a full-time outfielder and not as a primary catcher. He no longer has to spend over half his time catching bullpens, learning pitchers, discussing pitch sequencing, adapting to PitchComm, pitch clocks, etc. He can focus on being a full-time hitter and outfielder, and spend time with & learn from mentors like Springer, Kiermaier, Merrifield, etc. I think there's something to be said about giving him certainty in his position and taking away the added responsibilities of being a backstop.
greenfrog - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 05:17 PM EST (#425527) #
If the Jays need another bat (RH or LH) to play an OF corner or DH or to pinch hit late in the season ó that is relatively easily acquired. Adding a controllable center fielder with a strong track record? Much harder to do. And the cupboard is pretty bare on the farm to fill that need, apart from Dasan Brown (who had a good 2022 but is still somewhat of a project).

Varsho is more than three years younger than Nimmo.
Gerry - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 05:22 PM EST (#425528) #
I see Varsho was born in, and played college baseball, in Wisconsin so there should be no complains about the weather in Toronto.
92-93 - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 05:23 PM EST (#425529) #
The timing of the trade certainly makes it seem that way, Nigel, and it's concerning. Presumably this trade was on the table weeks ago.
greenfrog - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 05:25 PM EST (#425530) #
I think we need to remember that Jansen and Kirk are a great catching and hitting duo (with some DH capacity). And they are both young. But if Jansen departs as a free agent after 2024, this could potentially leave the Jays looking for a new starting catcher. Thatís why I would see if the Jays can extend him for a couple of additional seasons to bring him into alignment with the rest of the teamís core.
dalimon5 - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 05:26 PM EST (#425531) #
I don't like this trade. This FO needed to keep Moreno and Tiedeman unlessnit was for a star or young player of Bo's caliber and Varsho isn't that. Moreno is legit.
BlueJayWay - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 05:27 PM EST (#425532) #
Really good point, Cracka. I think the Jays definitely see a lot more potential in Varsho's bat.
Petey Baseball - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 05:31 PM EST (#425533) #
I was not pleased to read that the Jays were finalists on Stripling. Not sure if not including the opt out clause is what broke the deal. But announcing this deal now sounds like a way to change the channel on what seems like a pretty big miscalculation on the Jays side.
Jonny German - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 05:36 PM EST (#425534) #
Great move. I think a lot of you are underestimating Varsho - he put up 4.6 fWAR last year, more than any Blue Jay hitter (Bo 4.5, Springer 4.2, Chapman 4.1). And likewise with bWAR - Varsho 4.9, Springer 4.0, Vlad 3.9, Kirk 3.9.

I expect him to spend 50% or less of his time in LF. Kiermaier will need regular rest days if heís going to stay healthy all season, and shouldnít play against most lefties. Springer will need regular rest, and will DH quite a bit.

With Gurriel out the team still needs another outfielder, and now they can consider both lefty and righty bats. Andrew McCutchen, Robbie Grossman, David Peralta, AJ Pollock, among others could be useful low-cost additions.
soupman - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 05:47 PM EST (#425535) #
i think they just bought 'high'. i would like this a lot more if it more closely resembled what AA gave up for Colby Rasmus.
uglyone - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 05:50 PM EST (#425536) #
Varsho is good but that's not the return you need from trading one of the better assets in baseball. Especially given his lack of track record.

This unfortunately all about thinking that Varsho will consistently be paid a value salary thanks to his middling top line stats.
Marc Hulet - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 06:05 PM EST (#425537) #
Put me in the camp that likes the deal. Gurriel is a decent player but not a huge loss due to his streakiness. Moreno, I worry he'll lack pop due to his size; he needs to get stronger.

I've been a Varsho fan since he was drafted. He can catch ok but was stuck behind better, more established defenders and his athleticism/speed was wasted behind the plate.

Developing as a catcher slowed his offense a bit but he's starting to make up for lost time. He was a pull happy player so the Jays no doubt see someone that will be helped by the new rules. He also had a .269 BABIP and is a solid runner so that will improve.

Arrow up on Varsho.
christaylor - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 06:07 PM EST (#425538) #
How we view this deal in the future hinges chiefly on how Moreno develops.Comments now depend on how one views Moreno's potential.

For now, I think we can all agree that the OF in 2023 is likely to be very good.
dalimon5 - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 06:11 PM EST (#425539) #
They could have just traded Kirk for Varsho and then had 2 of the top 10 prospects in baseball to call up at the deadline in Moreno and Tiedeman. I think Kirk is the overvalued C but I know it's a very divisive opinion. Time will tell. At the very least they got better balance. How does Varsho compare to Bader and the price given up for him?

#2JBrumfield - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 06:12 PM EST (#425540) #
I hate this trade. Trading Moreno is bad enough but giving up Gurriel is an overpay.

I wonder what number Varsho will wear for the Jays as he wore #12 for Arizona. I wonder if he will get that number now considering the player who the number was retired for is persona non grata with the organization.
dalimon5 - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 06:13 PM EST (#425541) #
"I was not pleased to read that the Jays were finalists on Stripling. Not sure if not including the opt out clause is what broke the deal. But announcing this deal now sounds like a way to change the channel on what seems like a pretty big miscalculation on the Jays side."

Did you miss the news that they signed Chris Bassitt???
Glevin - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 06:21 PM EST (#425542) #
"How we view this deal in the future hinges chiefly on how Moreno develops.Comments now depend on how one views Moreno's potential."

I like Moreno a lot and still like this trade. Prospects are almost always overvalued and people are underrating Varsho.
dalimon5 - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 06:27 PM EST (#425544) #
For the record I believe Moreno and Rutschmann will be perennial all star catchers in MLB. Elite bat to ball skills and a huge arm is pretty much a dream foundation for a C so young. I guess the Jays are going to count on Kirk as C of the future and I just son't see that ending well.

If this trade was reversed with the teams switching "windows" then it would be Mccarthy and Carrol for Alejandro Kirk.
John Northey - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 06:34 PM EST (#425545) #
Boy a lot of people sure are confident that Moreno is the second coming or something. In 69 PA he had a 111 OPS+ at age 22 - very promising. Over 5 minor league seasons he hit 310/365/479 - very good again. But 5 years 253 minor league games, include winter and Majors and you get up to 336 or 67.2 games a year, not counting 2020 of course. That ain't much. I see a potential Pearson situation - a guy who spends more time on the IL than on the field whose value could drop fast.

Jays ranked top 10 by BA since 1990: John Olerud, Vlad, Vernon Wells, Alex Gonzalez, Carlos Delgado, Travis Snider, Alex Rios, Shawn Green, Nate Pearson, Bo Bichette, Jose Silva. Of those no HOF'ers, 40+ WAR for Delgado & Olerud, 20-39: Wells, Rios, Green; 10-19: Alex Gonzalez, Bo, Vlad; 0-9: Travis Snider; Negative or didn't make it: Jose Silva, Nate Pearson. Out of 11 guys 8 were solid and well worth keeping. 3 were flops.

Given that 3/11 flop ratio I can see why a 'win now' team would trade a top 10 prospect for a guy who had 4.9 WAR last year alone with 4 years of control left. Olerud was the best of those guys but his WAR didn't crack 2 in a season until his 3rd full ML season but once he got going his first 6 ML seasons produced 20.1 bWAR (what was 100% Jays team control). Vernon Wells had 3 call ups before he stuck and was sub 2 WAR year 1, producing 21.8 WAR before he reached 6 years of service. Rios in his first 2 ML seasons was sub 1 WAR each year, and was at 19.8 when his 6 years of service time was up (was released in the 6th year). Green had 2 callups that flopped before sticking, his 3rd full season finally getting to 2 WAR, 16.3 over his first 6 (traded before the 6th). Vlad in 2019 and 2020 wasn't much, a poor 3B/1B on defense who had an OPS+ in the 110's. Bo has been strong from day one. Alex Gonzalez was never as good as hoped for - 9.7 WAR in those first 6 years of control, never reached 2.3 WAR in a season.

Now, Varsho could produce more WAR than the full careers of AGon, Silva, Snider, and Pearson combined in his time here (4 years). Reaching 20 WAR (which the best guys did in their 6 years of control) would be hard in 4 but is possible (5 per year - he was close last year). Realistically expecting more than that from Moreno would've been foolish. It could happen, but odds are low. And even lower that he'd do it in 2023/24 when the Jays would need it most.

The more I dig the more I see why trading prospects makes sense when you are in the playoff stage of the success cycle. You need to be careful not to trade a guy who could be 5+ a year but few are that good and I wouldn't put all my eggs in that basket on a guy who has been hurt a lot in his short career so far.
Spifficus - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 06:34 PM EST (#425546) #
I like the trade overall, but think it was a bit underwhelming on what it was primarily trying to address. That is to say, Varsho is a very good player who will be a very good CF starting in 2024, but it's probably a stretch to put him in the top 4 of that lineup.
Kasi - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 06:37 PM EST (#425547) #
I feel Varsho is close to a best case for Morenos development for people who thought he would move off of C due to his being blocked there. They have some differences in that Moreno has better contact skills and Varsho better power but theyíre not all that different. This does put more pressure on Kirk getting his conditioning good but overall Iím positive on the deal. Clear now that some od this offseason was culture focused. Next year we might also have the best defence in baseball.
Magpie - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 06:38 PM EST (#425548) #
i would like this a lot more if it more closely resembled what AA gave up for Colby Rasmus.

As would we all, but that type of trade only happens in mid-season. No one's ever that desperate for relief pitching during the winter. And it worked out pretty good for the Cardinals - Jackson made 4 starts, Dotel and Rzepczynski each made 12 appearances in the post-season. And they won the Big Prize.

You have to assume that this was the best deal that could be made. If Atkins could have traded Kirk for Varsho, he surely would have done so. And he had to make a deal. If you want to win now, having three MLB catchers when there are other holes that need filling is just silly.
greenfrog - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 06:45 PM EST (#425549) #
In grading the trade, ESPN gave Arizona an A and Toronto a C.
Chuck - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 06:49 PM EST (#425550) #
Acquiring Varsho makes the sequence of moves resulting in Keirmaier replacing Hernandez a little less attractive now. Varsho has the glove to carry CF and will be giving up some value having to play LF (for those 100 games when Kiermaier is not on the IL).
Glevin - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 06:54 PM EST (#425551) #
"Acquiring Varsho makes the sequence of moves resulting in Keirmaier replacing Hernandez a little less attractive now. Varsho has the glove to carry CF and will be giving up some value having to play LF (for those 100 games when Kiermaier is not on the IL)"

This is my one criticism of the deal. If they could have done it before, signing Kiermeier makes no sense and they could have gone with Gallo or something more offense minded for similar price. Long-term, deal still makes sense though.
greenfrog - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 06:56 PM EST (#425552) #
This off-season's moves (subtracting Teo, Moreno, and Gurriel Jr., and adding Swanson, Macko, Kiermaier, Bassit, Varsho, and Mattingly) isn't exactly going to help the organization's EDI score.
Gerry - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 06:56 PM EST (#425553) #
Anthony Kay has been claimed by the Cubs.
SK in NJ - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 07:15 PM EST (#425554) #
Agreed that this deal would look better if the Jays didn't sign Kiermaier. Varsho in CF and a better offensive player in LF would have been a much more desirable scenario. Of course the Jays likely tried to get a LF upgrade in free agency after the Kiermaier signing and failed on all of them (Brantley, Conforto, Gallo, etc), so who knows if that was feasible. I'd imagine Varsho is going to play all the OF positions in 2023 before settling into the full time CF role in 2024-26.

As far as the trade itself, I think it's a fair deal overall. Maybe a little underwhelming given Moreno's prospect status, but overall it gives the Jays exactly what they need over a long period of time. They need to take advantage of the next 3 seasons, so they really couldn't afford to wait on Moreno. Even if he pans out for Arizona, all that matters is what Varsho does here.
uglyone - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 07:26 PM EST (#425555) #
"And he had to make a deal. If you want to win now, having three MLB catchers when there are other holes that need filling is just silly."

That's just not right magpie I'm sorry. That's an awful justification.
Kelekin - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 07:27 PM EST (#425556) #
On its surface, the trade makes sense for a team that has decided to go into more of a "win now" mode. That being said, trading a consensus top 5 prospect in baseball (who is also highly regarded for his athleticism) usually is the type of player you package for someone with an elite track record. Varsho should be excellent for us, and we won't know who won this trade anytime soon, but at least this time we didn't give up a top prospect for a 38-year-old.
greenfrog - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 07:42 PM EST (#425557) #
Baseball America has a pretty balanced writeup of the transaction, calling it a ďtrue blockbuster of a trade.Ē Hereís one of the paragraphs on Varsho:

Offensively, Varsho hit a career high 27 home runs in 2022. As of yet, he has not shown he can hit for average or get on-base at a significant clip but his power and speed (he stole 16 bases last year) make him a productive offensive player. That in combination with his defense and versatility makes him an extremely valuable player in the prime of his career (he will turn 27 in July 2023).
Kasi - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 07:52 PM EST (#425558) #
We heard last year that teams were just not liking the Jays prospects. I think itís quite possible Moreno fit in that as well despite the lofty prospect ranking. For me there are questions if Moreno can ever be as good as Varsho is now.
scottt - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 08:41 PM EST (#425559) #
Lourdes is not really an outfielder. He can play LF, 1B, 3B, SS and maybe 2B.


scottt - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 08:43 PM EST (#425560) #
Gurriel had little value. Even less than Jansen probably.
dalimon5 - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 08:46 PM EST (#425561) #
I'm coming around to the idea that maybe there wasn't a lot out there (lower grades on the Jays prospects by other GMs and Kirk not getting a deal done). I like the off season so far and I LOVE the better balance but damn I thought we could get someone just a bit better than Varsho.
scottt - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 08:55 PM EST (#425562) #
Moreno is a great fielder and his arm/quick release will probably make him very valuable in the new base stealing environment. The bat is fine for a catcher.
He just never got the chance to work with the pitchers due to missing spring training.

I have worries about Jansen.
They have 2 interesting catchers in Zach Britton  and Phil Clarke who both hit left and will start the year in AA.

Vladdy will probably not be sending baskets to Atkins though.

Paul D - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 09:00 PM EST (#425563) #
By fangraphs WAR Varsho was the 30th best position player in baseball last year.
grjas - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 09:02 PM EST (#425564) #
Vladdy will probably not be sending baskets to Atkins though.

May be the hidden benefit of the two trades. Dropping the nonsense and achieving the promise.
scottt - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 09:05 PM EST (#425565) #
Springer is best in RF. You only send him to CF if you want 3 right bats.
Varsho is a better CF than KK.
Merrifield can probably handle LF.

Horwitz/Lukes don't look right on the bench if the outfield is mostly left bats.
I suppose Otto Lopez can play LF, too.

scottt - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 09:11 PM EST (#425566) #
KK should never start against a lefty. He's a career platoon player.
Merrifield is a much better option and that opens up 2B for Espinal.

I expect KK to be on the IL a lot.

scottt - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 09:16 PM EST (#425567) #
Varsho looks a lot like a left handed Matt Chapman.
Not quite good enough to hit in the top 4. Pretty good in the 6-7 spots.
KK is the 9th hitter.

Could still use a decent left bat in the DH slot rather than Jansen.

scottt - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 09:20 PM EST (#425568) #
I don't think Jansen is that great and most GMs agreed with me.
He's been the guy behind the plate whenever the pen implodes.

Gerry - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 09:56 PM EST (#425569) #
Is there any chance Springer plays left and Varsho right? Would that be the best use of their talents.
Mike Green - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 09:58 PM EST (#425570) #
Varsho is ideally suited to either right-field or centerfield. I am surprised that the Jays included Gurriel Jr. in the deal (or that the D'Backs wanted him) rathe than an outfield prospect. Lourdes would still have value even with Varsho here.

I don't know Varsho well enough to have an overall impression of the deal. Players who were catchers and have the defensive chops to play an outfield position well sometimes take a leap forward. Catching is demanding and offence often suffers.
Mike Green - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 10:01 PM EST (#425571) #
I posted prior to seeing Gerry's comment. Springer to LF is possible. Sparing his arm and legs is probably a good idea.
Chuck - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 10:05 PM EST (#425572) #
Springer to LF is possible.

If Springer acquiesces I don't know that he'd object but I also don't know if the organization would even contemplate broaching him on this, given his status and all.

John Northey - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 10:09 PM EST (#425573) #
Lets check FanGraphs projections for 2023 for the goodbye and welcome guys...

Goodbye: Teoscar (2.3), Moreno (0.5), Gurriel Jr. (1.7), Stripling (1.4)
Welcome: Swanson (0.6), Kiermaier (1.2), Bassitt (2.3), Varsho (3.1)

Net for 2023: Goodbye: 5.9, Welcome: 7.2 = Net gain for 2023 of 1.3 WAR. Not much, but on the right side of the ledger.
Note: I'm not counting Macko (prospect), Kay, Tapia, Zimmer, Bradley Jr (last 4 all negligible).

Don't forget Teoscar and Gurriel were in the last year of their contracts, and Stripling was a free agent who got a player option for 2024 (puts all the risk on the team). If you check my list of the Jays who were top 10 prospects in the past in MLB you'll see that odds are high that Moreno will be worth no more than 20 WAR and has a non-zero chance of being a sub 10 WAR guy over the 6 years of control Arizona gets from him. Varsho in 4 years should be a 10-20 guy, and those are the 4 years the Jays need production. Swanson has 3 years of control, Bassitt also 3 years. Very, very obvious the Jays are planning on 2023-2025 being their contending window while 2026 will be a retooling year if lucky and prospects grow, start of a rebuilding effort if no luck. Any international free agents who will be a big factor in that are already in the system, ones signed now will most likely not reach until 2027 or beyond (Moreno took just shy of 6, Kirk 3+ before his debut in 2020 and those 2 went quickly and fairly smoothly). Draftees this year could be a factor in 2026 but not a big impact most likely until 2027 or later.

Bottom line: if Moreno isn't 100% ready this year or next then he wouldn't be much of a factor for this window. Kirk is so trading him would've been counter-productive, same with Jansen. That had to factor strongly into the choice made today.

As to free agents - Conforto got that player option while also locking in $36 mil for himself over 2 years - no way on earth I'd make that deal. Bradley Jr wasn't leaving Houston. Nimmo got more than I think he was worth ($162 over 8 years). Benintendi the same (5 years $75 mil). Bellinger $17.5 mil for 1 year. Looking at the options that could've made sense I think Atkins did as well as possible. He got 2 CF'ers, one for cash ($9 mil roughly) and one for a top prospect plus a LF who drives us all nuts. He improved the rotation and the pen while getting 2 LH bats for the OF who can play CF at a very high level. Moreno was the only prospect lost in all of this while they added a new one in Adam Macko (very live arm but wild). I like the net effect with more probably coming (Johnny Cueto, Corey Kluber, Michael Wacha among other 5th starter options for example) plus I expect a RH pure bat to show up too (from the scrap heap at the end of the winter).
John Northey - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 10:14 PM EST (#425574) #
Springer has a big ego but also wants to win and has his retirement all set with his current deal so I could see him saying 'why not' and going to LF if asked. There are a range of options still that could happen. I see Merrifield as being in the Tapia role right now (4th OF) mixed with lots of time at 2B. If SB increase a lot having Merrifield, Varsho, and KK in the lineup will be a very good thing. KK in his Deep Left Field podcast interview sounds like he is drooling over the change to the pickoff rule (max 2 throws then a balk).
85bluejay - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 10:37 PM EST (#425575) #
I really like this deal for Arizona as I think Moreno has the highest upside of the three Jays catchers but I understand the deal from the Jays perspective - Toronto is spending a lot of money in renovations and badly need a deep playoff run to spark enthusiasm and sell these more expensive seats and corporate boxes, so sacrificing an unproven but potential long term core piece to try and win now makes economic sense and the Diamondbacks who have a quality FO made a smart play. Varsho may work out for the Jays but I'm a little concerned that so much of his value is tied up in his defence which is still too subjective to me, though I know quantifying defence metrics have improved.
John Northey - Friday, December 23 2022 @ 10:51 PM EST (#425576) #
Agreed. In the end a deal like this made too much sense for both teams. The Jays needed a LH OF and the Diamondbacks needed RH hitters, and a catcher. Jays are win now, Diamondbacks are in a nuclear division right now but in 2-3 years it should be open as LA, SF, and SD start being weighed down by long term deals. Gotta suck being a Rockies fan in that division, much like being an O's fan in this one.
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 02:42 AM EST (#425577) #
The deal seems a bit tilted in Arizona's favor so I would have liked to see a B prospect coming with Varsho. I like Gurriel and consider him a better player than most on here. One odd thing about him, and it has been discussed before, was that for a tall. lanky guy he just wasn't that fast. For his career, he's been caught stealing as often as he was successful. (14 times)

Speaking of speed, having a fast, ground-covering outfield will be important next season with the banning of the shift. That's not to mention the expected increase in base stealing with the pickoff limit. The three outfielders plus Bichette, Merrifield and even Biggio will be threats when they are on first base. I think Atkins and Shapiro had this in mind when they made their offseason plans.

Finally, this deal will only look bad if:

1) Moreno turns out to be an elite catcher. Credit the front office for the guts to trade him even if some don't think the return was enough.

2) Varsho disappoints in his time in Toronto. I don't think he will.

3) Kirk and Jansen get hurt a lot and a third catcher ( AAAA type yet to be signed?) has to play more than he should.
greenfrog - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 06:46 AM EST (#425578) #
Those are good points about the changes to the game in 2023 (limiting shifts and pickoff throws). This off-seasonís moves seem to have been made with those changes in mind.

Itís interesting to contemplate an alternative universe in which Moreno doesnít sustain a thumb fracture in 2021. Would he have maintained his torrid hitting from that season, making him untouchable in a trade? Or perhaps setting up the ultimate prospect challenge trade (which I first floated many months ago) of Moreno-for-Carroll?
Shoeless Joe - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 07:30 AM EST (#425579) #
I donít mind this trade on its own merit, Varsho is an elite defender and hits from the left side. There will be no debates over the CF position over the next few years, and a trade between the diamondbacks and Jays was going to happen this off-season.

However Varsho is essentially a young KK and they two of them currently in starting roles is bit of an akward fit. Iím not sure why Gurriel was included, I think he is the type of player who at this stage would completely finish off this team.

Does a Tiderman + 3 prospects for Reynold trade now make sense? Are we going to platoon KK and Merrifield until a trade deadline acquisition?
dalimon5 - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 08:32 AM EST (#425580) #
You don't give up Tiedeman unless it's for a player of Bo or Soto's caliber with 3+ years of control. He's widely expected to be a top 5 prospect in baseball if not the top prospect by mid season.
Glevin - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 08:48 AM EST (#425581) #
I doubt the Jays trade Tiedmann. He's close enough to the majors where he can be a factor later this year and their needs now are more for backups. I like Grossman, Duvall, or Mancini as a fit on a one year deal.
dalimon5 - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 09:20 AM EST (#425582) #
After analyzing the moves this off season I have come to the following certainties:

*FO is challenging Vlad by shipping out LGJ and Teoscar while bringing in KK, Varsho and Mattingly. It's been documented by Dan Schulman that Lourdes was a mentor to Vlad due to his being the longest tenured player and his family's background in Cuban baseball. Vladdy apparently looked up to him quite a bit and listened to him. Schulman said he was too important to Vlad for the team to trade.

* FO is going to resign Bo Bichete to a huge contract before the start of the season. They're going to hope that he gets better defensively. The moves they have made have broken up the tandem of Vlad, LGL and Teo who I felt Bo was growing tired of based on some comments and his behaviour with the home run jacket. This will become his team on the player side rather than Vlad's.


* All the moves being made are keeping the payroll open starting 2026. Bassit, Ryu, Springer, Gausman will all be off the books by then. The entire off season for this FO is being driven by three things:

1) Vlad and Bo contract time table

2) New stadium renovations which finish 2024

3) new rule changes with some potential benefits
greenfrog - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 09:31 AM EST (#425583) #
Agreed about the stadium renovations. I think the front office wants the team to be very successful in 2023 and 2024, attracting fans to the overhauled stadium and driving revenue even higher. That in turn could allow the front office to spend more on player acquisitions.

Reading various comments (including some by AZ fans) about Varsho, he seems to be a very well regarded player, both in terms of performance and being a good teammate. A lot of AZ fans did not want to see him traded.
dalimon5 - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 10:02 AM EST (#425584) #
A couple of tidbits:

Shapiro said that the Rogers Centre plays neutral as a park, which surprised me. The new renos will be the same ("neutral").

As a season's ticket holder I got some previews into the renos and options they were considering as part of a survey. next year they are re-doing the entire section behind home plate. They will have bars and restaurants like the Scotiabank Centre. They also included see throufh glass "live look in" areas into the tunnels and dugout which I thought was fun.

On the aforementioned podcast Shapiro mentioned that the Visitor's bullpen will have a glass top/ceiling which fans can walk on and which will make things "uncomfortable" for the opposing team and hopefully give a home field advantage.
hypobole - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 10:16 AM EST (#425585) #
Varsho is an excellent CF. KK should be a backup. Is anyone good remaining to sign as a LF?
Cracka - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 10:35 AM EST (#425586) #
Robbie Grossman would be an obvious fit - a switch-hitting LHP masher with ridiculous splits (.509 vs .879 OPS), and an excellent eye at the plate (led AL in BBs in 2021). Made $5M last season with Detroit and would probably cost at least as much to bring him here. Trading Gurriel frees up $5.8M... so there's room.
dalimon5 - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 10:36 AM EST (#425587) #
I must be be in the minority but KK is the starting CF for me. He was excellent with a broken hip and I think we will see an elite top of the league defensive KK in 2023.


Teoscar and Gurriel each missed time the last few seasons. Varsho is very durable. Overlooked component to the off season.
greenfrog - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 10:48 AM EST (#425588) #
The Jays have to honour their promise to Kiermaier, I think. Barring injuries or underperformance, he will be the starting center fielder and Varsho will provide periodic ďload managementĒ starts in CF. The goal should be for all three starting outfielders to be healthy and productive in October.
bpoz - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 10:56 AM EST (#425589) #
People are saying championship level team. Shapiro said that they would like to build a championship level team. Shapiro and every teams personnel "has" to say that. Very obvious to me. What is a championship level team exactly?

2017 101 win team won the WS, 2018 108 win, 2019 93 win WC team, 2020 LAD with the best record in baseball, 2021 88 wins, 2022 106 wins. The 2022 WS was 106 VS 87 wins. The 87 win team made a lot of playoff revenue and also gave their fans a wonderful ride.

100+ wins is very nice but certainly not a guarantee of winning the WS. I definitely don't like this terminology. I prefer "playoff level team". Baltimore last year was in the playoff race until about 2 weeks or so left.

Just my opinion.
Lylemcr - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 11:22 AM EST (#425590) #
I hate the trade (because I like Moreno), but the Jays are a better team now and it makes a lot of sense. The OF is going to pick up everything in the air now. But if it is all about defense, when does Bo Bichette move to second or ??

Gurriel was not a serious player. I will not miss his defense or his baserunning skills. With Gurriel and Teoscar gone, the team is a lot more serious.

I think everyone wins in this trade. I hope Moreno becomes a star. A star in the NL..
Shoeless Joe - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 11:28 AM EST (#425591) #
Varsho was better than KK last year defensively and KK has the much better arm. I think we will see a lot of LF: Merrrifield, CF: Varsho, RF: KK and DH Springer next year. Especially is any of the catchers get hurt. That trio will probably be one of the best defensive outfields the Jays have ever run out there.
Lylemcr - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 11:31 AM EST (#425592) #
Also, I like the tone of the team. Much more serious.

Many of the greats were not "fun". Brady, Gretzky, Jordon,Roger Clemons, etc. Even some of the Jays greats, were not known for being fun. Steib, Fred McGriff, and Halladay come to mind.

Focus on the prize...
ISLAND BOY - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 11:34 AM EST (#425593) #
" 100+ wins is very nice but certainly not a guarantee of winning the World Series."

Right you are, bpoz. Philadelphia were predicted to be a historically bad defensive team at the first of the season yet came together and went to the World Series with 87 regular season wins while the Dodgers with 111 wins went home early. Atlanta won the World Series in 2021 after being a wild card team. Just get in the post season and you never know what will happen.
Glevin - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 11:59 AM EST (#425594) #
Yeah, name of the game now is just make the playoffs and get lucky/hot at the right time. Both of last teams left in NL were wildcards with under 90 wins. Atlanta won WS year before with 88 wins in a bad division. Obviously, doing better give you an easier path but series are so short that the worse team will win like 47% of time.
electric carrot - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 11:59 AM EST (#425595) #
Much more serious.

I get the feeling that these trades are going to work out overall. I was an advocate for trading Moreno. Gurriel, I won't miss that much. I never had confidence in him on either side of the ball. But I think the guy I will miss most next year will be Toescar. I expect he will have great year in Seattle. Will he be better than Varsho? I think it will be close. Also, I just liked watching Toescar at the plate. I think he was a great blend of serious and fun.
Shoeless Joe - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 12:25 PM EST (#425596) #
Reading more comments it seems like the plan is to put Varsho in LF, which I absolutely hate. It has been years and a lot of injuries ago since KK put up the year Varsho did defensively last year. You put the young stud in CF and use KK and Merrifield as the mix and match pieces. For a team that is mostly data driven this makes no sense.
Hodgie - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 12:29 PM EST (#425597) #
I understand the need to reconfigure the roster, and in a vacuum, the trade is at least defensible, but this is a terrible return for one of the top prospects in baseball. What exactly is the realistic upside for Varsho? He doesn't hit the ball hard, has contact issues, and he might as well leave his bat in the dugout against LHP. But hey, when you can trade a potential, perennial all-star behind the plate for this below you apparently have to jump at the opportunity. Colour me unimpressed, but I am sure Gord Ash thinks this is a great trade.

John Northey - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 12:34 PM EST (#425598) #
I think for net value Varsho will be more valuable than Teoscar, especially since the Jays get 4 years of Varsho vs 1 of Teoscar.

No question this will shift the culture of the clubhouse big time. Wonder if there have been any issues we never heard about with Vlad as his crew is mostly gone now, I think Espinal is all that is left, well Springer too as he mixes in with that group too.
bpoz - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 12:54 PM EST (#425599) #
Baseball has changed with the mega deals and mega payrolls. The Jays don't operate that way it seems to me.

Both Moreno and Kirk are very good targets for extensions. Danny as well. All 3 got low signing bonuses. We have to see if any of them is worth an extension by their performance.

Oakland, Pittsburg, Cincinnati, Colorado are not win now teams. They also will do rebuilds and teardowns because of low payrolls. Washington is willing to spend but something went wrong. Miami will not spend but has an elite farm of pitchers but they have a very poor offense. Miami will not spend.

I will wait until 2026 to see and understand the Jays plan regarding the end or extension of the current window. Some players will be gone. The farm will add a bit or a lot. We will make trades like the Berrios/Chapman trade using the farm. We can trade or sign #4/5/6/7 SPs like Stripling, White, Matz, Ray, Kikuchi.

In some cases I believe in "winning a trade". Examples 1) S Pearce for Espinal. Both won IMO. 2) Verlander to Houston in 2017. Houston definitely are happy but Detroit was definitely rebuilding. Halladay to Philadelphia and C Sale to Boston was by 2 rebuilding teams. 3) Olerud for Person. Jays lost. I expect differences of opinion on the above trades. Also the results are in on those trades.

Some clear head scratching trades. M Young to Texas for "that guy" who was a #2-4 at best and Young was a prospect. I don't know where Young was ranked.

We have a very good idea/proof about Varsho and Gurriel. Not so much in Moreno.

Paul D - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 01:12 PM EST (#425600) #
Complete aside, but reports are that the Mets might have problems with Correa's physical
greenfrog - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 01:16 PM EST (#425601) #
There may be some risk in Varshoís hitting profile. On the other hand, his combination of speed, power, average walk rate, and ability to barrel the ball could work well over the next four seasons, especially with the new MLB rules (which may make it easier for him to get hits and stolen bases).

Hopefully it will all add up to a 105-125 wRC+ hitter and not an 80-90 one.
Glevin - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 02:01 PM EST (#425602) #
"What exactly is the realistic upside for Varsho?"

I don't get this at all. Varsho isn't a project. I mean, he had a 4.5 WAR last year which is higher than any Jays player. Fangraphs had him as the 8th most valuable OF in baseball.
uglyone - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 02:11 PM EST (#425603) #
2yr Stats Update


* 1. LF Springer (33): 925pa, 135wrc+, 4.7war650
* 2. SS Bichette (25): 1387pa, 125wrc+, 4.5war650
* 3. 1B Guerrero (24): 1404pa, 149wrc+, 4.2war650
* 4. DH Kirk (24): 730pa, 123wrc+, 4.0war650
* 5. C Jansen (28): 453pa, 124wrc+, 5.7war650
* 6. 3B Chapman (30): 1243pa, 110wrc+, 4.3war650
* 7. LF Varsho (26): 907pa, 104wrc+, 5.0war650
* 8. 2B Espinal (28): 737pa, 104wrc+, 3.7war650
* 9. CF Kiermaier (33): 611pa, 97wrc+, 3.8war650

* X. UT Merrifield (34): 1270pa, 89wrc+, 2.3war650
* X. UT Biggio (28): 597pa, 90wrc+, 1.3war650
* X.
* X.



* SP1 Manoah (25): 51gs, 85era-, 5.0war32
* SP2 Gausman (32): 64gs, 77era-, 4.9war32
* SP3 Bassitt (34): 57gs, 84era-, 3.9war32
* SP4 Berrios (28): 64gs, 107era-, 2.3war32
* SP5 Ryu (36): 37gs, 104era-, 2.3war32
* SP6 Kikuchi (32): 61gs, 118era-, 0.3war32
* SP7 White (28): 46gs, 124era-, 0.5war32

* RP1 Romano (30): 125gms, 51era-, 1.9war65
* RP2 Swanson (29): 90gms, 59era-, 1.5war65
* RP3 Cimber (32): 149gms, 63era-, 0.9war65
* RP4 Bass (35): 143gms, 65era-, 0.8war65
* RP5 Mayza (31): 124gms, 78era-, 0.7war65
* RP6 Pop (26): 85gms, 88era-, 0.5war65
* RP7 Garcia (32): 123gms, 90era-, 0.5war65
* RP8 Richards (30): 115gms, 110era-, 0.1war65

dalimon5 - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 02:23 PM EST (#425604) #
KK will outperform Hernandez next year based on WAR and bWAR.
Kasi - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 02:30 PM EST (#425605) #
The upside is that .268 babip goes to more normal like .300 and he has some Simien like years. Downside is his bat doesnít improve and we get a new KK or Pillar type.
John Northey - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 02:46 PM EST (#425607) #
The Correa saga is getting nuts. Wondering what the big issue is if two teams now agreed to 12+ year deals and then pulled out. Will he need to settle for a 2-3 year deal again like last winter? Will the Jays now step in with an offer and shift Bo to 2B? Now that would be sweet. Can't imagine it happening but a 5 year $150 mil deal I could see the Jays offering as it sounds like his issues are long term not short term ones. I guarantee Springer has called Atkins and asked if there is anyway the Jays could step up and do it. 5 for $200? Adjust 2020 to 162 from 60 and you get a guy who has had 3 to 7 bWAR a year every year. 5 years would cover ages 28-32 which would be ideal. He has averaged 5.1 bWAR a year. But will he consider a shorter term now and does that open up the floodgates for the Yankees and others or does he go back to Minny and take their offer and fail another physical?

Lots of questions there. It all depends on the seriousness of the physical issue and what it would take to get him on the dotted line. I suspect the Mets will find a way to do it in the end but the Jays would be foolish not to at least check in.
Polite Nate - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 03:05 PM EST (#425609) #
The thing with Correa is nobody is signing him for 10+ years expecting much out of the tail end of the contract to begin with. I'm wondering if teams are seeing something that indicates trouble looming sooner rather than later.
scottt - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 03:08 PM EST (#425610) #
RF Springer
SS Bichette
1B Guerrero
C Kirk
3B Chapman
LF Varsho
DH Jansen?
2B Merrifield
CF KK

Bench
Espinal
Biggio
Lukes?
Horwitz?
Lopez?
Orelvis Martinez and Addison Barger might get some playing time if they figure to replace Chapman next year.

I guess Biggio gets a few starts at first and probably the odd start in the outfield if he hits.
Same thing with Merrifield who probably play some outfield.
If the regulars are the defensive replacements, the bench has to start in some platoon/day-to-day spots.
Otherwise, most of the team will be limping come September. Just look at the copious load management the Yankees were doing during their winning stretch. 

The pen is more like
Romano
Swanson
Garcia
Bass
Mayza
Cimber
Richards
White

No room for Pop who has an option.
Merryweather is out of option and possibly gone.
Zulueta/Hatch are possibilities.
If they need bullpen help, who can they send down? Mayza? Cimber?
Very little wiggle room here.

John Northey - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 04:26 PM EST (#425611) #
A big factor will be who has options. FanGraphs has a good resource for it

Hitters: Bo, Vlad, Kirk, Biggio all have 3 options for what its worth; Varsho, Jansen, Espinal 2 options each; 40 man guys with 3: Horwitz, Lukes, Martinez, Barger; Capra, Jimenez 2 options sure; Lopez has 1 option left. No one at risk on the offensive side.

Starting: Manoah & Kikuchi have 3 each, Pearson-Francis-Allgeyer 2 each, Hatch 1, Zulueta 3.
Pen: Romano & Mayza 2 each, 3 for Cimber, 1 for Swanson - all irrelevant as I can't imagine any of them going down. 0 for White or he'd be prime for AAA time, Pop & Gage 2, Thornton 1, Merryweather 0 (so long - he is going onto someone else's IL), Danner 2.

Poor Pop - he seems to have earned a slot imo but options dictate he goes to AAA instead. White & Kikuchi will share the #5 slot right now, but if the Jays sign someone then things get interesting. Can't see Romano or Mayza or Cimber or Swanson going down, Garcia-Bass-Richards-White all have no options left which makes for a crowded pen. A good problem, but still one that needs to be dealt with. I'd like Richards to be gone myself as I have no confidence in him.
PeterG - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 05:26 PM EST (#425612) #
I would like Richards gone as well and don't understand why he occupies a 40 man spot now.
bpoz - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 06:52 PM EST (#425613) #
2 months into the 2023 season we will know how much Moreno, Gurriel and Varsho play. And how well. A Bluebird poster said the GM Hazen sees C Kelly as the #1 C. Moreno needs to work on some C skills. All FO talk IMO. We will see. Phase 1 of the trade evaluation.

bpoz - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 07:39 PM EST (#425614) #
There is a formula for the value of the QO. Will it be $20mil or maybe $25mil based on something? A low QO means that we may give one to Chapman.
Magpie - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 08:08 PM EST (#425615) #
I would like Richards gone as well and don't understand why he occupies a 40 man spot now.

The modern emphasis on swing-and-miss? Richards gets considerably more of it than anyone else on the staff (which is why he strikes out batters more frequently than anyone else.) And he was quite effective in 2021, and part of last season. Anyway, they think there's something there.
Cracka - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 08:40 PM EST (#425616) #
The QO formula is "Average of Top 125 salaries", which currently projects to be $19.6M for 2023. Player #125 is Yusei Kikuchi ($10M), so anyone signing above this will increase the QO a little bit. Correa & Conforto aren't included yet... but overall it looks like the QO will be just under $20M, and I would absolutely make that offer to Chapman if he's not resigned before then.
greenfrog - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 09:00 PM EST (#425617) #
Iíll feel better about the trade once the team acquires a competent hitter to replace Gurriel Jr. The outfield depth seems pretty thin, in the majors and minors, beyond Varsho / Kiermaier / Springer. It would be nice to have one more skilled hitter who can play an outfield corner and DH and pinch-hit as need be.
John Northey - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 10:51 PM EST (#425618) #
Trying to think of who could be useful that is still out there...
  • Brandon Belt: a LH 1B/DH who last played LF/RF in 2019 (barely), but in 2021 had a 160 OPS+ over 381 PA after a 177 effort in 2020. His 2022 was horrid, a 92 OPS+ but might be worth a 'show me' contract to semi-platoon at DH with Kirk (Jansen seeing minimal RHP then). Entering his age 35 season.
  • Robbie Grossman: switch hitting LF/RF who had a 80 OPS+ last year, but was 118 over 20/21 over 863 PA. Entering age 33 season.
  • AJ Pollock: a RH hitting OF who can play CF, 91 OPS+ last year but a 134 in 21 and 132 in 20. Entering his age 35 season
  • Jurickson Profar: a switch hitter who plays everywhere but catcher/pitcher. 111 OPS+ last year but 94 lifetime, just entering his age 30 season. You'd think someone would've signed him by now. He opted out and lost $6.5 mil by doing so, but the only rumor on MLB Trade Rumors all winter was Houston showing some interest so he might be a reasonable bargain at this point, and with his flexibility he could cover for anyone who needs a DH day.
  • Adam Duvall: RH hitting OF whose main position in 2022 was CF, but just an 87 OPS+ in 2022, lifetime 97. Won a gold glove in 2021 in RF, and being a RH hitter he could cover for the 2 new guys vs a tough LH pitcher now and then.
  • Evan Longoria: a RH 3B but I'm certain he'd be fine in LF or RF or 1B as needed. 114 OPS+ last year, 120 lifetime. I doubt he'd sign but dang would he be a nice get if cheap enough. Very solid bat, solid at 3B as a backup for Chapman (who could use some time off I suspect). An outside the box guy to look at. Entering his age 37 season so probably after a ring to finish his career with (his only WS was at age 22 and he was 1 for 20 in it).
There are many others out there but those were some that caught my eye. My first choice would be Profar due to the switch hitting/super utility skills. The others all have warts and I'd probably wait until the end of January to chase them down (see if they get desperate and sign cheap). Longoria if he is willing to take a sub $10 mil deal for a year and is willing to try the OF I'd sign as he has a solid bat even if he is RH. My bet is the Jays are willing to go to $5 mil for the 4th OF/DH slot which one of these guys would fill - semi-platoon with KK where they are DH or LF while KK takes a day off vs tough LH pitching. Also to fill in when an OF is hurt. Grossman is interesting too - good comeback candidate who is known to hit LH pitchers well (had a bad year but still hit LH to the tune of 320/436/443).
John Northey - Saturday, December 24 2022 @ 11:09 PM EST (#425619) #
For those still wondering how good this is for the Jays pitchers I saw this on Twitter (sadly can't find anything to confirm it but it passes the sniff test imo)...


That is a spread of 22 hits saved (probably extra bases often) by this change, in 4 fewer chances. And lets not get into Tapia.
Nigel - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 03:00 AM EST (#425620) #
Ummm, doesnít a ďcompetent hitter who can play the OF and DH on occasionĒ pretty much describe Gurriel to a T? Odd.

This team would be better now if they hadnít made the Hernandez deal and the KK signing.
dalimon5 - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 09:26 AM EST (#425621) #
There's zero chance Kirk hits ahead of Varsho this coming season. Zero. He lacks pop, speed and doesn't have the advantage of hitting from the left side.
bpoz - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 10:07 AM EST (#425622) #
Merry Christmas everyone.

Thanks Cracka for the QO info.

The lineups speculated on seem very probable. DH is revolving. Varsho may do some C.

You have to expect that there will be injuries and some poor performances from the above mentioned lineup. "Some" players in AA/AAA will also be playing outstanding after 2 months or before. Manoah and Allgeyer are 2 examples that impressed within 2 months in 2021. I am not sure Bo and Biggio were held back in 2019 for restricted playing time advantages. Juenger may be ready very soon and Tanner Morris as well. Both not on the 40 man.

Our season starts Mar 30 in St Louis. Buffalo Mar 31 & NH Apr 6 they are doing the same team all week schedule again.
uglyone - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 10:40 AM EST (#425623) #
Counterpoint: Kirk is one of our best hitters, varsho one of our worst.
scottt - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 12:00 PM EST (#425624) #
Varsho and Chapman numbers last year were almost identical.
How many times did Chappy hit ahead of Kirk?

greenfrog - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 12:45 PM EST (#425625) #
Nigel - yes. I donít like the inclusion of Gurriel Jr. in the trade. Heís the kind of player who (as a fourth OF / DH type) would have been a valuable member of the team in 2023. Probably he was the sticking point in trade talks, and the Jays eventually capitulated and included him.

I hope that trading LGJ doesnít result in another Tapia-like scenario in the coming season.

dalimon5 - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 12:59 PM EST (#425626) #
Vs RHP

Springer
Bichette
Guerrero Jr
Varsho
Kirk
Chapman
Merrifield
Kiermaier
electric carrot - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 01:09 PM EST (#425627) #
This team would be better now if they hadnít made the Hernandez deal and the KK signing

I'm see what you mean. For the moment I am reserving judgment till all the moves are done.

I personally would love to see the Jays pick up Chris Sale. Apparently, the Sox are listening:

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/10059704-mlb-rumors-red-sox-getting-calls-on-chris-sale-willing-to-listen-and-consider?utm_source=cnn.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=editorial
Shoeless Joe - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 01:43 PM EST (#425628) #
RF: Springer
SS: Bichette
1B: Vladdy
DH: Kirk
3B: Chapman
LF: Varsho
C: Jansen
CF: KK
2B Espinal

UTIL: Merifield
UTIL: Otto Lopez
INF: Biggio

SP1: Manoah
SP2: Gauseman
SP3: Bassit
SP4: Berrios
SP5: Kilkuchi

CL: Romano
SU: Swanson
RP: Garcia
RP: Bass
RP: Mayza
RP: Cimber
RP: Richards
RP: White

This seems like the roster as of now. Generally pretty balanced, strong defensively.

Pop and Pearson will likely loose out on the active roster due to having options. Kilkuchi and White fighting for the 5th spot, and those two plus Richards, Thorton and Merryweather fighting for final 2 spots in the bullpen.

The easiest upgrades are a #5 starter and a bench bat over Otto Lopez. Another reliever to push out some of the back end of the bullpen also leaves some room for improvement.
greenfrog - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 01:55 PM EST (#425629) #
Against RHP, maybe something like:

RF Springer
SS Bo
1B Vladdy
DH Kirk
3B Chapman
LF Varsho
C Jansen
2B Espinal
CF Kiermaier

And then move Varsho up in the lineup if merited (less pressure in a lower spot to start the season).
Marc Hulet - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 02:03 PM EST (#425630) #
People are seriously undervaluing Otto Lopez. He's done nothing but hit his entire career and brings a high-contact element the Jays lineup lacks... I'd let him play semi regularly at 2B/OF and use Whit as the main fourth OF with time also at 2B. Lopez also has some speed but isn't the best base runner... but the new bags/pick-off rules could help him.

The only thing he has left to prove is his defense and sticking in the Majors ith top-notch coaches could really help.
greenfrog - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 02:25 PM EST (#425631) #
It would be great if Lopez emerged as a useful bench piece. I guess I would have preferred the battle-tested bat of LGJ in a big contention season. Also, if healthy, LGJ could have a strong 2023, in my view. This might be the year that he combines hitting/contact ability (2022 LGJ) and power output (2019-2021 LGJ).
dalimon5 - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 02:48 PM EST (#425632) #
I think LGJ and Teoscar are both on this team this season if the FO didn't care about losing these assets for nothing by season's end. They essentially are doing with them what they did not do with Donaldson...selling and retaining some value longer term with a short term loss.

They clearly are prioritizing other guys to sign longer term than Hernandez and LGJ so retaining them for one season only was not feasible unless being okay with letting them wall for nothing at season's end.

Both of those players have had trouble staying healthy the past two seasons for a full workload.

It is easy to question if Teoscar is better than KK or suggest that LGJ is the perfect player to acquire now, hit that's ignoring two key things:

This team was flawed and not where they are now before they traded those guys away

Macko and Swanson (and their future) need to be included in an evaluation.

Questions of the trade should be qualified. Are you evaluating in a vacuum where 2023 is the only season that matters or in a more realistic approach where the next 3-4 years are all equally important?

greenfrog - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 03:39 PM EST (#425633) #
Moreno+LGJ was the ask for Varsho and the front office agreed. It may all work out. Iím just pointing out that Gurriel Jr. was a pretty significant piece that Atkins evidently did not want to include. Heís a good hitter in his prime (29) and heís owed a modest salary for 2023 with no commitments beyond that. Perfect for a contending team in the Jaysí situation.

The ESPN commentators called including LGJ an ďoverpayĒ and arguably they are right.
uglyone - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 03:41 PM EST (#425634) #
"This team would be better now if they hadnít made the Hernandez deal and the KK signing"

Don't make the hernandez deal but do make the KK signing and we look pretty good.
John Northey - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 06:21 PM EST (#425635) #
Don't make the Teoscar trade and we would be hearing a LOT here about how they did nothing for the pen this winter. Instead we got Swanson (proj for 0.6 fWAR with 3 years of control left) and a prospect for Teoscar (proj for 2.3 fWAR with 1 year of control) who we all know was an adventure in the OF (hidden partially thanks to the 4 man OF used so often but can't be used now).

Also I doubt the Jays make the KK signing and Varsho trade if Hernandez was still here - maybe one of those but not both. Leaving a messy OF and RH heavy lineup.

This winter there were 3 things on the list...
1) LH bat for lineup
2) deeper pen
3) At least 1 more starting pitcher who can fit into the 3/4 slot

All 3 things were done at the cost of Teoscar, Gurriel, and Moreno (and Kay and a few others released). I'd say the job assigned was done while adding in 'improved defense'. The questions now are the 2B logjam (Espinal-Merrifield-Biggio), the 4th OF (Tapia role), 5th starter (Kikuchi/White right now), and more high end relief. I wouldn't be surprised to see Merrifield traded if something of value can be had for him. Espinal will be Bo's backup again while Orelvis Martinez & Addison Barger both fight to be the logical fill in if an injury happens. A minor league AAAA catcher will be signed at some point to be around in event of injury (probably a pure defense guy or two down there - Chris Bec is the in-house guy 208-339-274 last year between AA/AAA, Zach Britton the best prospect near the majors - 238/381/444 at age 23 in A+/AA). Lopez I see as a pure 'everything' backup, the role originally set for Espinal.

So a decent 5th starter, another reliever or two, and a slugger for the bench (hit for KK, play now and then in LF/RF/DH) are the goals now. Gurriel would've been very unhappy in that role btw, possibly leading to clubhouse issues long term. I lived through the nightmare of '88, no need for a repeat.
greenfrog - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 08:23 PM EST (#425636) #
How many PA would Gurriel Jr. have amassed in the role of combined part-time OF, part-time DH, and occasional PH? Realistically, 450-500? Maybe he would have been unhappy in that role. Either way, the team now needs to find someone who is willing to assume that role. Profar might prefer a starting assignment (and a multiyear contract, probably at significantly higher AAV than LGJís $5.4m).
uglyone - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 08:45 PM EST (#425637) #
"Don't make the Teoscar trade and we would be hearing a LOT here about how they did nothing for the pen this winter. Instead we got Swanson ("

I'm sure there were other ways to add a good not great reliever.
scottt - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 08:48 PM EST (#425638) #
They had 3 guys hitting free agency at the end of the year.
Springer had to be moved out of CF, ideally to RF.
Moving Teoscar now is quite justifiable. Getting the extra prospect makes up for losing the QO draft pick.
Gurriel is easily replaceable out of LF. That's the easiest position on the field.
He's not a QO target.
Moreno is a steep cost for Varsho but all the free agent options signed elsewhere for lots of money.

I don't like the KK deal, but it's just for one year.
The rotation has 4 established starters and the next wave or pitching prospects is just around the corner.
They have several prospects to try at 3B and LF.
I'd pair Jansen with the guy who has 10 pitches and try to keep Kirk behind the plate.

The pen is full. The rotation is full. The AAA depth is not great.
That's really hard to improve. I'd stretch Thornton in Buffalo and move Hatch back to the pen.
As constructed, they might be able to use openers, or do bullpen days every 5 starts if needed.
The real problem is that they don't have a place in the pen for optionable guys.
It seems like they will have to DFA  someone rather quickly if nobody gets hurts.
Merryweather could be gone by opening day and another guy (Richards?) might follow suit before the end of April.

dalimon5 - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 09:04 PM EST (#425639) #
I just glanced at next year's free agency list and here are the top names:

Rafael Devers
Manny Machado
Shohei Ohtani
Julio Urias...damn he will be 27! $$$$
greenfrog - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 09:08 PM EST (#425640) #
Question. If Gurriel Jr. is so easily replaceable, then why did Mike Hazen insist that he be included in the trade, and why was it so difficult for Atkins to eventually agree to include him?
christaylor - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 09:26 PM EST (#425641) #
The team on paper right now with no adds seems better than the one we saw the end of 2022.

Is that a not a statement most here would agree with?

Is that not a well-played off-season?
greenfrog - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 09:38 PM EST (#425642) #
Agreed. I think it has been a good off-season. I just think there is still some room for improvement (one more good bat, one more elite high-leverage reliever, one more SP) in what will be an important season for the team (with Chapman a free agent after the season, Springer gradually declining, etc).
jensan - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 10:46 PM EST (#425643) #
During the Springtime , Chapman extended 4/$88 Million. Jays should have Martinez playing LF in AAA. Pearson should start four games of 3 or 4 innings per start in AAA and if he does not perform. Make him the reliever for the 8 th or 9 th inning.
Ricky T. Hopefully has a solid year
uglyone - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 11:08 PM EST (#425644) #
"The team on paper right now with no adds seems better than the one we saw the end of 2022."

I should hope so, after giving up one of the best prospects in baseball
SK in NJ - Sunday, December 25 2022 @ 11:40 PM EST (#425645) #
"Is that not a well-played off-season?"

This has been a good off-season, IMO. If I had to quibble about anything it would be that I would have preferred Varsho in CF and a better offensive player in LF, but otherwise the team is better and more balanced than it was at the end of the last season, and in better shape for 2023-25 as well.
Kelekin - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 12:20 AM EST (#425646) #
Agreed Marc - Lopez really deserves a shot. He had an awful first half last year coming back from injury and still ended up hitting almost .300 in AAA. At a minimum, he should be on the active roster.
John Northey - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 12:20 AM EST (#425647) #
The prospect porn addiction some have is scary. Moreno, if he is lucky, will be as good as Kirk or Jansen. Remember, Kirk is an all-star who was worth 3.8 fWAR last year, projected to improve to 4.5 in 2023, and has 4 years of control left. He was signed the same month as Moreno. Jansen had a 140 wRC+ last year in 72 games was worth 2.6 fWAR, projected for a 120 wRC+, 2.9 fWAR in 2023. These are 2 potential all-stars behind the plate, not bums who are near the end of their careers. Varsho was worth 4.6 fWAR in RF last year, projected at a 3.5 rate in 2023 with a 113 wRC+. His 4.6 in 2022 was better than any non-pitcher on the Jays.

Basically, all 3 of those guys could out perform Moreno in 2023 quite easily, and in 2024 too. Given the Jays window is NOW it makes zero sense to put a rookie in when his best case is to be as good as those 3 are today with a slim chance he turns into Johnny Bench who was worth 4.5 fWAR his first full season, 5.3 his second, 7.9 his 4th, 4.1 his 5th, and 9.2 his 6th. But unless he turns into that (an all-time great behind the plate who is a legend decades later) odds were low he'd be more valuable than what we have now and got in return for him. The last catcher to get anywhere near this hype was Carlos Delgado (yes, he was a catcher) who produced negative WAR the first 2 call ups after his first ML taste in '93, then was moved to 1B/DH and was sub 2 WAR each of the next 2 years before he finally broke out with a 5.8 fWAR year. His first taste was a year younger than Moreno, plus he really wasn't a catcher but we didn't know that until the failed experiment of playing him in LF for a month. A more recent super-hyped one (top 6) Travis Snider only got 3.3 fWAR lifetime. Top 10 prospects can and do fail. And even if they succeed it can take a few years to get established. If it was 2020 when Kirk first came up the Jays could take the risk on the kid and see what happens. But it is 2023 in a few days and the Jays are WS contenders. Kids only get shots on teams like that when they force the issue and the position is weak. So a 2B (despite having an All-Star in 2022) or OF could slip in here, but not a catcher.

Want more top 5 prospects? Alex Gonzalez the first - peaked at #4 in MLB. Only 4 times had 2+ fWAR, never a 3+ season. Net 11.3 in his career despite coming up at 21, full time at 22. I'm sure I could come up with more but the Jays only had 11 top 10's ever. See my post above to read about all 11.

I'd have loved to see Moreno develop here but the playing time isn't there, nor should it be. He was the ideal one to trade and we got someone who in 4 years could easily produce as much WAR as Moreno does pre-free agency. Maybe in a year I'll be eating my words, but odds are low on that.

As to Gurriel - he was very replaceable. Never has reached 2 fWAR in a season (was on pace in 2020 but we'll never know for sure what Mr. unpredictable would've done). I'm sure there are a dozen guys out there the Jays could easily get who'd produce his 1-1.8 WAR in 2023. Not sure why Arizona was so determined to get him, but so be it.
Sal - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 01:47 AM EST (#425648) #
Very well thought and said, John.
There is a good chance Moreno turns into at least a very good catcher for Arizona and I hope he does. However, it is extremely rare for a player who produced at a pace of at least 4 WAR per 600 PA for the most recent two years over a significant sample size to be traded with 4 prime years of control remaining. I cannot remember any instances of similar players being traded. This is a very good trade for both teams.
greenfrog - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 05:23 AM EST (#425649) #
Some reasons why Hazen wanted LGJ and Atkins didnít want to relinquish him:

-Good hitter (career wRC+ 115 ó compared to 90 for Tapia and 100 for Grichuk)

-Positive WAR every season

-Had wrist injury last year (followed by surgery in Oct) so power may rebound

-Despite injury he adjusted his approach and hit well last year

-Intriguing peripherals (high exit velo and hard hit%, low and declining K rate)

-Universal DH makes him more usable in different roles

-Low salary ($5.4m) and no commitment beyond 2023

-Still relatively young (29)

-Possible late bloomer (career started late after missed development time)
scottt - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 06:53 AM EST (#425650) #
Let's look at it this way. Fangraphs has power rankings. For offensive players, it looks like this:

Guerrero 10th
Bichette 24th
Springer 35th
Chapman 64th
Varsho 65th (Again, same offense as Chapman)
Kirk 73rd (I imagine it includes baserunning)
Merrifield 101st

Gurriel slots here at 139

Jansen 225
Kiermaier 332

This also illustrates why I hate Jansen hitting DH.

Gurriel was the Jays 7th or 8th best hitter.
In Arizona, he makes the top 4.
They have Christian Walker at 22, Ketel Marte at 87 and Josh Rojas at 104.


greenfrog - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 08:42 AM EST (#425651) #
Hereís another perspective. Over the three-year period from 2020-22, the Jays paid around $20m for a *total* of 1.3 fWAR of fourth outfielder production (roughly 1200 PA) from Grichuk and Tapia.

Which suggests that it isnít always so easy to solve your fourth OF situation. Personally, I would rather pay Gurriel Jr. the $5.4m and know that Iím probably getting a reliable 1-2 WAR of production (and a RH bat to complement the LH bats of Varsho and KK).

Anyway, I realize this isnít the end of the world and that it may all work out. Maybe Iíve just been scarred by the Grichuk/Tapia experience of recent years.
greenfrog - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 08:45 AM EST (#425652) #
Actually, the Jays probably paid more like $25-30m for the last three years of Grichuk/Tapia.
grjas - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 08:49 AM EST (#425653) #
Itís interesting that over the years there have been many comments on this site about the FO not valuing defence, and now that they have, thereís frustration that their devaluing offence. This is a very good team, strengthened by a solid offseason, that still needs a platoon RH outfielder and a 5th starter.

Itís also interesting that in prior years, I seemed to be one of the few bemoaning their lack of investment in the BP and now that itís much stronger thereís concerns that they have to get another high leverage arm. Sure, if we can find one for dollars only. But with Pearson, Merryweather and Zuleta in the wings, odds are one of them will come through, if we actually need another one. At least the word ďfungibleĒ is no longer being used to describe relievers.
greenfrog - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 09:02 AM EST (#425654) #
As Iíve said, I like the moves the team has made. Before the trade I wrote that Varsho was my ďideal trade targetĒ so I can hardly complain.

Iím just pushing back a bit against the ďgood riddance to replaceable Gurriel Jr.Ē mindset that some people seem to have.
bpoz - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 09:02 AM EST (#425655) #
My "feelings" are that our window in the 80's was 1983-90. With a better pen in 1983/84 I believe those 2 years we were in or closer to the playoffs even without WCs. Henke added in 1985. I was in my 30s that decade so more "passionate" which maybe falsely caused me to believe the Jays had the worst pen in baseball. Very old history. Sorry.

More old history. Sorry again. Gillick did try to improve the pen before Henke. Caudill and G Lavelle. Then later at some point that guy, lefty I think, that liked to help rake the bases with the ground crew. Also we had an Iorg/Mulliniks combo at 3B. E Whitt/Martinez were the Cs. IMO the baseball was more "stable" in those days.

For 2023 we have holes also, (what holes?) as well as higher expectations than 1983/84. A 2B & OF combo. 3WCs & mega payrolls. Compared to the league we have our stars, but I don't know how we compare against the league in overall O/D, depth, SP/pen. Injuries & prospect advancements is an unknown factor. The dome renovations VS CNE park. Rule changes.
grjas - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 09:18 AM EST (#425656) #
Personally I rather liked Gurriel, but I canít see him being happy as a 4th outfielder and PT DH in his walk year..and why should he..so I do think it was best he was traded. However, I wish it could have been a different deal for another player or prospect.

I think, now, that the interesting stories about the team and its likely success revolve around individual players:

. Is VG a superstar or merely a very good player
. Will Bichetteís phenomenal work ethic finally translate in the field
. Can Chapman find more consistency with the bat
. Is Kirk fit enough to rake for a whole year
. Can Jansen stay healthy
. Are KK and Stringer fully healed
. Will Biggio prosper with limits on the shift
. Is there more to Varshoís bat
. Where is the real Berrios
. Will the BP stay healthy
. Can Pearson excel in reliefÖ for more than a month
. Will we see more Jekyll or more Hyde from Kikuchi and white

And the list goes on. The FO has mostly done whatís needed, now itís up to the players. Lots of interesting storylinesÖas well as the unknown impact of rule changes on everyone and every team.

Glad to see thereís more to baseball than Cohenís wallet.
dalimon5 - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 09:46 AM EST (#425657) #
"Itís interesting that over the years there have been many comments on this site about the FO not valuing defence, and now that they have, thereís frustration that their devaluing offence. This is a very good team, strengthened by a solid offseason, that still needs a platoon RH outfielder and a 5th starter.

Itís also interesting that in prior years, I seemed to be one of the few bemoaning their lack of investment in the BP and now that itís much stronger thereís concerns that they have to get another high leverage arm. Sure, if we can find one for dollars only. But with Pearson, Merryweather and Zuleta in the wings, odds are one of them will come through, if we actually need another one. At least the word ďfungibleĒ is no longer being used to describe relievers."

So on point Grjas.
uglyone - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 09:54 AM EST (#425658) #
Last year to this year on paper:

Offense worse.

Defense better.

Starting Pitching similar.

Bullpen maybe marginally better but RP are unpredictable and the new guy(s) don't have long track records anyways.



So possibly improved but far from guaranteed, and we've lost one of the best prospects in baseball.
dalimon5 - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 10:07 AM EST (#425659) #
Ugly I think all your points I agree with except that's the cost of improving the team. There was no scenario where they get better and keep one of the best prospects in baseball. Your view is also extremely focused on 2023 alone. If you factor in 24/25 then the team is much better and stronger compared to a version of the team where they keep Teoscar and let him walk at end of season and then you have a gaping hole the following year. I know your response will be "Rogers is cheap and they shold just sign Teoscar," but that's not realistic to do for every impending free agent. You also left out the better balance, better durability, better baserunning and if we're being honest you are overvaluing Stripling and undervaluing Bassitt.
dalimon5 - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 10:20 AM EST (#425660) #
Here is a recap of the Gurriel comments if anyone is interested. Posters comments stem from a viewpoint of either Gurriel being included in the trade for Varsho or in a stand alone perspective separate from the deal entirely. These views in this thread are mutually exclusive. LGJ is a good player to have after the trade but that's impossible since he was included in the trade so why put forth that comment/argument? At the same time LGJ is replaceable (as almost any player is) but to pretend he can be replaced in the next 60 days by a new signing or a new trade is a touch naive. LGJ has elite bat to ball skills, played through an injury and clearly has big potential to go on runs. Framing him as a replaceable player who is more or less a throw in for a trade is off the mark. Lastly there are some comments touching not on the trade or the value of LGJ as a hitter but his work ethic relating to baseball fundamentals and durability. This just appears to me to be a discussion about whether or not people like that LGJ was included in the trade or not which will always be subjective. There shouldn't be any confusion about whether or not he is the right player for this team now post trade as that is an impossibility. No point speculating "we could have included player X instead of Gurriel and then..." because that would just open up another hole. Clearly there is no perfect solution or the Jays would have made that move instead.

"Gurriel was the Jays 7th or 8th best hitter"

"As to Gurriel - he was replaceable....Not sure why Arizona was so determined to get him." John

"Gurriel is easily replaceable out of LF. That's the easiest position on the field. He's not a QO target." Scottt

" Ummm, doesnít a ďcompetent hitter who can play the OF and DH on occasionĒ pretty much describe Gurriel to a T? Odd." Nigel

" Iíll feel better about the trade once the team acquires a competent hitter to replace Gurriel Jr. The outfield depth seems pretty thin, in the majors and minors, beyond Varsho / Kiermaier / Springer. It would be nice to have one more skilled hitter who can play an outfield corner and DH and pinch-hit as need be."

"However Varsho is essentially a young KK and they two of them currently in starting roles is bit of an akward fit. Iím not sure why Gurriel was included, I think he is the type of player who at this stage would completely finish off this team."

" Gurriel, I won't miss that much. I never had confidence in him on either side of the ball." Electric Carrot

" Gurriel was not a serious player. I will not miss his defense or his baserunning skills. With Gurriel and Teoscar gone, the team is a lot more serious." Lylemcr

"I like Gurriel and consider him a better player than most on here." Island boy

" Varsho is ideally suited to either right-field or centerfield. I am surprised that the Jays included Gurriel Jr. in the deal (or that the D'Backs wanted him) rathe than an outfield prospect. Lourdes would still have value even with Varsho here." Mike Green

" Gurriel had little value. Even less than Jansen probably." Scottt

" Lourdes is not really an outfielder." Scottt

" I hate this trade. Trading Moreno is bad enough but giving up Gurriel is an overpay." #2JBrumfield

" Gurriel is a decent player but not a huge loss due to his streakiness." Marc Hulet
Glevin - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 10:55 AM EST (#425661) #
"Last year to this year on paper:

Offense worse.

Defense better.

Starting Pitching similar.

Bullpen maybe marginally better but RP are unpredictable and the new guy(s) don't have long track records anyways.



So possibly improved but far from guaranteed, and we've lost one of the best prospects in baseball."

Well, bullpen is definitely better but the flaw in your argument is that the Jays are building or should be building in one year increments which of course nobody does. Player value roughly =production+control-cost so you can't discount control or cost. This is of course what gives prospects so much value to begin with. Varsho is with the Jays for four more years at a cost that will allow them to spend elsewhere. Teoscar and Gurriel were both free agents who wouldn't be re-signed next year. That's a huge long and medium term improvement.
bpoz - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 10:56 AM EST (#425662) #
I too will comment on UO's post. Agreed with UO that Moreno was definitely considered a top prospect.

Due to Kirk being outstanding but not a full time C and Jansen having his best year ever in O and health, Moreno was not given a good opportunity. Moreno missing all of ST was a major factor as well. So he was not able to prove his worth over a longer time trial. Will kirk ever be able to be a full time 400+ AB C? Will Jansen be productive and equal to his 2022 over the next 2 years? If Moreno does not live up to his hype then we sold high. What will Varsho do in the next 2 years? By the 2023 AS break all my questions will be partly answered.

I expect somewhat that UO is correct that O is weaker. We have better LH/RH hitter balance. A lot of speed in KK, Merrifield, Bo, and Varsho. Bo & Varsho 20/20 maybe 30/30 in Hr/SB? A healthy Springer Hr/SB ratio? D is definitely stronger.
Mike Green - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 11:47 AM EST (#425663) #
Keith Law has his analysis of the Varsho-Moreno deal over at the Athletic. He modestly prefers the D'Backs end of thedeal but likes it from both teams' perspectives considering positional need and competitive windows.
uglyone - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 11:57 AM EST (#425664) #
"Well, bullpen is definitely better"

Possible. Swanson has one year as a legit MLB RP under his belt. Bass just had a career year at age 34. These are far from definite upgrades.

"but the flaw in your argument is that the Jays are building or should be building in one year increments which of course nobody does. Player value roughly =production+control-cost so you can't discount control or cost. This is of course what gives prospects so much value to begin with. Varsho is with the Jays for four more years at a cost that will allow them to spend elsewhere. Teoscar and Gurriel were both free agents who wouldn't be re-signed next year. That's a huge long and medium term improvement."


You're just talking about money here, not quality.
Shoeless Joe - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 12:07 PM EST (#425665) #
Swanson has been significantly better over two years since he started throwing a splitter, I think heíll be an elite setup man. His xERA last year was in the 97th percentile.
Sal - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 12:15 PM EST (#425666) #
'Possible. Swanson has one year as a legit MLB RP under his belt. Bass just had a career year at age 34. These are far from definite upgrades.'
I am not sure how a BP can be upgraded with this thinking process. If obtaining two of the best BP arms last year is not sufficient to upgrade the BP, then what should the FO do?
As for Gurriel being replaceable, he is very much so. He was going to be a bench player and performed like a bench player last year. Yes he is a good hitter, but that is not the only criteria for evaluating a player. Also, under no circumstances should he take DH ABs away from superior hitters like Kirk, Jansen, or Springer. I read scottt's comment regarding Jansen's offense, and all I will say that Jansen has been the best Blue Jay hitter since June 2021.


grjas - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 12:15 PM EST (#425667) #
Thereís some similarity between this trade and AAís Syndergaard for Dickey tradeÖ.a top 10 prospect for a player that just had one big year. Both are/were challenge trades during a competitive window. The first one didnít work out for the best, but I never faulted AA for giving it a try and Dickey did provide a lot of reasonable innings in the big years. Weíll see how well this one works out, especially given the price was higher.

Still not sure about the Hernandez trade though. It seemed too rushed for me, and if their focus is this year, why trade for a reliever and a minor league hopeful instead of getting the best reliever that ďHernandez could buyĒ, potentially later in the offseason?
scottt - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 12:29 PM EST (#425668) #
The bullpen is always unpredictable.
I like the bullpen depth in AAA, so I don't expect they'll have to patch the pen up with DFAed player like they did 2 years ago.

The rotation is better. They added a solid guy who can go 7 innings. That's better than Stripling and having to find 4 innings in the pen. Normally, the less the pen throws, the better the pen is.

Gurriel played mostly shortstop most of his life. He wasn't able to play second and ended up in left field.

Varsho is 26, so having him in CF and Springer in RF takes care of the outfield for the next 4 years.
They can put pretty much anybody in LF, just like they did with Gurriel.
Hopefully they'll be able to bring prospects up to platoon in left or be the 4th outfielders.

Now with Moreno, it seems that they sold low.
Varsho is coming off a career year, so that's selling high.
Moreno hasn't slugged much yet and was still working on many things like improving his English and getting to know what the pitchers like to do.

The offense is just a DH away from being better than last year.
There is always the trade deadline. 

Sal - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 12:41 PM EST (#425669) #
The offense is just a DH away from being better than last year.
Both catchers are perfect for DH when they're not playing. I know you keep saying Jansen is not good offensively, but this claim is not substantiated in actually numbers. Jansen was the best hitter on the team in 2022. He has been the best hitter on the team since June of 2021.
Glevin - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 01:02 PM EST (#425670) #
"I am not sure how a BP can be upgraded with this thinking process. If obtaining two of the best BP arms last year is not sufficient to upgrade the BP, then what should the FO do?"

Exactly. Relievers are volitile and you don't want to put too many resources towards getting them but Jays added two top relievers from last year which is al you can do. Look at Jays opening day bullpen in 2922 and this year's is significantly better. I am fine with Jansen/Kirk DHing a lot of the time because both are good hitters and keeping their bat in the lineup more often helps the team. If the Jays rotate Kirk, Jansen, and Springer through DH spot, would be ideal. Merrifield can be fourth OFer but would definitely want someone to else there since Kiermeier and Springer are so injury prone. There are a few options out there. Barger being ready soon would also help as that would move Merrifield to more fulltime 4th OF role.

SK in NJ - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 01:11 PM EST (#425671) #
The FO essentially tried to balance 2023 improvement with long-term sustainability, and that was the right call, IMO. Not only were Hernandez and Gurriel flawed in very specific ways (defense, base running), but both each only had a year of control left, and Springer is at an age where they had to move him lower on the defensive totem pole. When you have 3 catchers, and only 1 outfielder controllable beyond 2023, that's when you have to find the right way to take advantage of the surplus to fix a glaring weakness. Finding a legitimate two-way centerfielder nowadays is extremely difficult. The Jays were able to get one with four years of control left, coming off a 4-5 WAR season with some offensive potential still in the tank. The fact that he's LH hitting and can also serve as a 3rd catcher makes him an even better fit. Even if you want to argue that it's an offensive downgrade, from an overall value and team building standpoint it was the right path to take.

The Jays have won 90+ games in consecutive seasons and have a good chance to do it again in 2023. If you want to sustain that level of quality for many years and not have to spend like Steve Cohen to do it, then it's going to take moves like this.
85bluejay - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 01:13 PM EST (#425672) #
Interested to see if the Jays take a shot with Zack Britton and his health.

Josh Donaldson was traded to the Jays after having about a 7 WAR each of the previous 2 years and having 4 years of control left.
greenfrog - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 01:16 PM EST (#425673) #
As Marc mentioned, maybe Otto Lopez will get a shot in the first half of the season (pre-trade deadline) as a backup corner outfielder and second baseman. He has hit LHP extremely well over the last couple of years in the minors (OPS of .887 in 2021 and .995 in 2022).
Sal - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 01:46 PM EST (#425674) #
Donaldson was an awesome trade obviously and is close enough to this type of trade. I had initially thought Donaldson was under control for 3 years when we traded for him. What were the A's thinking? Key differences are:
1) Donaldson was much more established and producing as a star offensively and defensively.
2) we got Donaldson for age 29-32. While Varsho will be under team control from 26-29.

I hope this trade works out like the Donaldson one.
92-93 - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 01:50 PM EST (#425675) #
The official story that the deal was contingent on Gurriel's inclusion is hard to believe. It just doesn't make much sense that the Diamondbacks would make such a trade contingent on getting one year of Gurriel coming off a 74 win season. If Gurriel was foisted on Arizona, the quotes would probably read the same.

Varsho is projected to make 2.8MM in Arb1, so the Jays saved around 2.6MM in the trade. Not really enough for more than a fringe add, so we'll see just how okay they are with going over the CBT threshold. With Espinal/Biggio/Merrifield at 2B effectively providing backup for the whole diamond the Jays are in a good position to sit back and see where the value lines up. With the new shift rules I expect Biggio will be a big part of the offence this year.
greenfrog - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 02:01 PM EST (#425676) #
I think itís probably true (not sure why Atkins would lie about this; he doesnít seem that Machiavellian and it would damage his credibility if untrue). It makes sense in light of the new playoff format, as Gurriel Jr. shores up the rebuilding D-Backsí major-league roster and might help them maintain dark-horse contention status in 2023 ó as Bradford Doolittle pointed out a few days ago. At worst it gives AZ a potentially useful trade chip for the August trade deadline.
Kasi - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 02:32 PM EST (#425677) #
Iím wondering what people were expecting. Yes Moreno is a top ten prospect but he was traded for a player coming off a 5 WAR season with four more years of control who fills a position of need at one of the rarest spots in baseball. (CF) Not sure what people were expecting youíd be able to get.
Marc Hulet - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 02:35 PM EST (#425678) #
I'm still chuckling a bit over the reaction to Varsho. He's such a great add... Power, defense, base running, pedigree... and is only 26 and lost offensive development time due to his years catching.

Is he a superstar? No. But I do think he can get up to Teoscar type of offense with the bat plus have the above-average defense and base running.

I've been watching Varsho for years. Have faith, friends.
92-93 - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 02:46 PM EST (#425679) #
Atkins would skirt around the truth if the true intention was to cut salary so he could spend elsewhere and/or to break up the fun part of the dugout.

At this point in the offseason the only way to really explain the Hernandez trade is as a cost cutting measure. This would be a much better team with him.
Kasi - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 02:51 PM EST (#425680) #
There is like ten players out there to fill the Gurriel role as a fourth OF, RH hitter type. Sure they can get one of them for 5-8 million dollars on a one year deal.
Nigel - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 03:10 PM EST (#425681) #
92-93 thatís my view as well. Hernandez and Gurriel both leaving are very likely salary dumps. My view of the offseason is that the team has made a host of moves that has moved the overall talent level laterally not up. Now, I think the talent is better distributed and the lineup and team is better balanced so thereís merit in all of this. But, I donít see some huge improvement in the overall talent level and with some willingness to keep salary (Hernandez) this team could have been substantially improved. Missed opportunities and all.
PeterG - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 03:23 PM EST (#425682) #
This is not about salary at all but rather about whether players can be expected to return for 2024. It is usually wise to trade players who will soon become pending FA's. The overall talent level on the major league roster has been improved as has roster balance with more moves to come. It remains to be seen what we gave up in Moreno.
greenfrog - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 03:59 PM EST (#425683) #
Maybe theyíre thinking more about an August deadline move at this point which would provide opportunities for acquiring the remaining salary of a player (as opposed to a full seasonís salary), thereby saving some money. Hopefully the farm system is improved in 2023 so that there are better opportunities for promoting a player internally or acquiring one in trade.
uglyone - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 04:09 PM EST (#425684) #
"I am not sure how a BP can be upgraded with this thinking process"

Not saying he's not an upgrade and not a smart pickup. Just that a guy with one legit MLB season under his belt at age 28 isn't a "definite" upgrade. (And obviously there are RP with more than one good season who would be a bit more definite.)


But tbh I'm suspicious of any RP being a dependable upgrade, even those with long track records, let alone a guy with only one real season.

uglyone - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 04:21 PM EST (#425685) #
"Iím wondering what people were expecting. Yes Moreno is a top ten prospect but he was traded for a player coming off a 5 WAR season with four more years of control who fills a position of need at one of the rarest spots in baseball. (CF) Not sure what people were expecting youíd be able to get."

When so much of that WAR value is based on defense it's a bit tough.

I mean Pillar popped for a 4-5war season at the same age as Varsho with a league averagish bat and I don't think anyone thought we could trade him for one of the best prospects in baseball.
Kasi - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 04:26 PM EST (#425686) #
Well you can look at it two ways I guess in a glass half full way. If you think his defence drops back then sure he might be a 2 win player. But if you think that a .268 babip is due for some positive regression and the defence holds that there is some upside there past his season last year. My view here is that there were two OF candidates worth going for in trades in Varsho and Reynolds. One would take Moreno and one Ricky. Iíd rather have Ricky than Moreno so Varsho is the trade since Pittsburgh doesnít need a catcher.
92-93 - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 04:44 PM EST (#425687) #
We know exactly what they gave up in Moreno - one of the very best prospects in baseball. Perhaps this win-now team should have considered moving him at the deadline.

It's funny that people were so concerned about wasting talent and losing WAR with Kirk at DH (a silly premise), and yet that's exactly what is going to happen with Varsho in '23. An excellent LFer with a .300 OBP is worth what, 3 WAR?
John Northey - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 04:56 PM EST (#425688) #
A bit of an exaggeration with Syndergaard there. When traded he was ranked #54 by BA (post trade, not pre), he climbed to top 20 (#16) after 2013, then peaked at #11 after 2014, well after he left Toronto. He was a solid prospect but just one of many arms in A+ for the Jays along with Stroman and Sanchez at the time. Before the trade he wasn't in the top 100 for MLB, Sanchez would be ranked post 2012 at #65, Stroman #98 vs Sydergaard #54. All very good prospects, but none were top 10's. Travis d'Arnaud was the key piece at #17 pre 2012, MLB.com had him at #6 pre 2013 (post trade) but no one else had him top 10. d'Arnaud btw only produced 3.3 bWAR before reaching 6 years of service time and was released by the Mets by then and now is up to 7.2 bWAR lifetime and has yet to have a 3 WAR season going into his age 34 season. That was the last great Jays catching prospect (a key part in the Halladay deal as well) before Kirk & Moreno.

Can't believe I forgot about him. The debates back when that trade with the Mets happened iirc were centered around losing d'Arnaud more than Syndergaard. A great reminder that prospects are extremely variable in what they can do.

I agree the Hernandez deal seemed rushed and dealing a solid everyday player for a reliever (plus prospect) seems an overpay to me, but the years of control is a big factor as are the raw dollars. Safe to say the Jays would prefer to stay under the CBT if they can to avoid any penalties, but for the right piece they'll shoot over. Hernandez and Gurriel were not those pieces obviously. Both solid OF'ers but neither a star - Gurriel never over 2 fWAR, Hernandez had a 4.3 fWAR season in '21 (all bat driven), but dropped back to 2.4 in '22 and is projected at 2.3 for 2023. Between them they might total 4 fWAR, which KK and Varsho should easily exceed - heck, Varsho might do it on his own if he repeats his 2022 campaign.

As to relievers I still tend to see spending there as a luxury item - but the Jays have only a platoon OF (maybe) slot left on offense now, and a 5th starter (maybe) slot open. The pen is where the most potential gain could be now. Maybe. But I don't see the Jays going out and spending $10+ mil on a single reliever. Ideally guys like Pearson and Zulueta develop into solid options during the season and fill in as others get hurt/become ineffective. I'd have both starting or doing a mix/match where one starts the other does 3-4 innings in relief so both are stretched out if needed.
Mike Green - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 05:00 PM EST (#425689) #
Bearing in mind the different offensive environment between 2004-05 and currently, Daulton Varsho is pretty comparable to very early Carl Crawford, less baserunning and better defence.  He's a 4 WAR player in left-field in a full season.  
Polite Nate - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 05:26 PM EST (#425690) #
I'm not too confident in Kiermeier health-wise or performance-wise. I suspect Varsho gets plenty of innings in center even in 2023, and the fact that there's another body in between Springer and CF is another potential fringe benefit.
grjas - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 05:28 PM EST (#425691) #
I must admit I have found this thread quite interesting reading post Christmas, with a lot of thoughtful opinions on both sides of the fence. It may be a trade we are debating for a while.
Jonny German - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 05:31 PM EST (#425692) #
Iím not concerned about ďlost valueĒ from Varsho playing left field in 2022. Whatís a realistic projection for how many starts Kiermaier will make in CF, and Springer in RF or CF? Varsho will be putting in lots of time at those positions too.
Jonny German - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 05:33 PM EST (#425693) #
Coke to Polite Nate.
Jonny German - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 05:42 PM EST (#425694) #
Mikeís comment sent me off to look at Crawfordís career again, which was fun. Such a great player for the Rays, and such a disaster for the Red Sox. Heís #2 on the Rays all-time bWAR list, trailing Evan Longoria and ahead of Ben Zobrist and thenÖ Kevin Kiermaier :)
SK in NJ - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 05:50 PM EST (#425695) #
With Springer and Kiermaierís injury history, plus Springer having to DH quite a bit, I donít think we have to worry about Varsho being ďwastedĒ in LF. Heíll likely get plenty of time in CF and RF. Thatís why adding another OF who wonít hurt you by getting 350-450 plate appearances would be the ideal next step.
Magpie - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 05:59 PM EST (#425696) #
Varsho makes me think a little of a LH Matt Chapman - his value comes mostly from HRs and defense. With a pitching staff that's wall-to-wall flyball pitchers (Mayza excepted) improving the outfield defense makes a certain amount of sense.

If everything goes well for Moreno, he's the new Jason Kendall. Arizona will surely be delighted with that, but I can live with their happiness.
92-93 - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 06:40 PM EST (#425697) #
Kirk was a 4 WAR player making 74 C starts. If he sticks with Manoah, it should be easy to get back in that range. Let's hope Jansen can stay healthy this year so they can avoid the 32 starts Moreno-Collins-Heineman made last year.

And KK is going to play everyday!
dalimon5 - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 06:44 PM EST (#425698) #
Negative reactions are based on this idea of "win now" where there is some kind of closure to competing. This FO has been consistent in saying that they plan on contending long term. Iexpect them to be a 90+ win team every year and that is why i dont see LGJ or Teo as salary dumps.
bpoz - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 06:47 PM EST (#425699) #
I agree with Glevin about control/cost making up most of a prospects value. Mind you I only understand part of that concept.

I understand the prospects given up in the Donaldson & Chapman trades had value. That potential provided less value to Oakland than what the Jays received. Hoglund could become a star. We gave up 3 pitching prospects for Matz. Matz helped us. We have a long commitment to Berrios for 2 good prospects. This is the sure fire value of "waves of prospects" IMO. The potential prospect failures have great value.

Nothing works all the time. Donaldson's MVP season was at his lowest salary paid by the Jays. The Ray transactions and salary were very low for a Cy Young.

I repeat that I understand only part of the concepts.
greenfrog - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 06:49 PM EST (#425700) #
Another thing about Varsho. He hit .302/.372/.527 (899 OPS) in the minors. Itís not inconceivable that he has another offensive gear beyond the .234/.306/.432 (738 OPS) heís hit so far in the majors. If that happens, watch out.
Magpie - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 07:18 PM EST (#425701) #
Itís not inconceivable that [Varsho] has another offensive gear

Especially if he's done with the tools of ignorance, which he's worn for most of his career so far. He was almost exclusively a catcher in the minors. He split 2021 between catcher and outfield; 2022 was the first time he actually played more games in the outfield than behind the plate. (I have an ancient convection that catchers don't develop much as hitters beyond where they are when they arrive.)
Lylemcr - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 07:48 PM EST (#425702) #
So... That should be it for the Jays, except a couple depth players...

Does Daniel Norris have any value to bring back? He has a good strikeout rate. Zach Britton would be a nice pickup.
I still like Giles too(He is only 31).

For starters, Maybe Wacha,or Cueto if the price is right. Or roll the dice with Bundy or Duffy. They both have glimpses of brilliance... Or just try Kikuchi again. I would rather gamble on Tiedmann,Zulueta or Roberse.

Maybe another outfielder. I can't say I like the Jays depth there (and you know with that outfield, there will be injuries.) Not much left in free agency...Tapia? Maybe give an internal guy a chance like Horwitz, or Lopez.

John Northey - Monday, December 26 2022 @ 10:14 PM EST (#425703) #
The good thing about the OF if they need to use Merrifield or Biggio for a stretch with the 3 regulars having great range they might get away with it, vs last year with 2 of the 3 being poor defensively so whenever Springer was down it was super-ugly unless Zimmer was out there but his bat was so bad you couldn't let him play much.
uglyone - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 12:20 AM EST (#425704) #
"This FO has been consistent in saying that they plan on contending long term."

7yrs and they haven't contended yet.
John Northey - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 01:03 AM EST (#425705) #
Uh, I'd say making the ALCS in 2016, and the playoffs in 2020 and 2022, while being just 1 game out in 2021 is contending. Winning 90+ in both 2021 and 2022. The first time winning 90+ two years in a row since 1991-1993 in fact it is the only other time the Jays have won 90+ 2 years in a row and I like the odds of a third time again.

Not contending is 1994-2014 - 0 playoff appearances, just once within 10 games of the division lead (2000 with 83 wins), a maximum of 88 wins.

Now, how to win in the playoffs? If you have a magic trick for that please let us know. In 2015 the Royals won with a killer pen, in 2022 Houston won with an all-around team - 134 ERA+, 111 OPS+, in 2021 it was Atlanta with just 88 wins who pulled it off with a 98 OPS+, 112 ERA+, 2020 the Dodgers did it with a 119 OPS+, 146 ERA+.

The playoffs are mostly a crapshoot and the Jays rolled snake eyes in 2022. Improving defense and pitching isn't a bad way to go looking at the most recent winners - each had a strong staff and good but not 'wow' offense. With Manoah-Gausman-Bassitt-Berrios-Kikuchi I like their chances. Pen of Romano-Garcia-Swanson-Bass-Cimber-Mayza-Richards-White with Pop and others in AAA waiting is a step up from 2022 imo. The Yankees will be strong still, the Rays a pain in the butt, the O's might have a regression after their jump last year (normal), while Boston is due for another great year (they seem to alternate). The new OF should help the starters drastically. Gold Glove candidates at every position but shortstop and catcher imo, and Kirk just might win one someday (wouldn't shock me) and with Vlad getting one in 2022 I could see Bo working twice as hard to win one in 2023 (the two of them have a healthy competition going I think). Chapman and Espinal are both amazing with the glove. I don't see a Tapia type on the roster right now where we need to keep going 'please don't hit it to him'.
uglyone - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 01:09 AM EST (#425706) #
Not sure them "making the playoffs" in 2016 and 2020 are evidence of them building a contender.

They've managed to build a borderline top 10 team that isn't so young anymore.

Sure doesn't feel like contending.
John Northey - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 01:36 AM EST (#425707) #
Were you around for that ugly time pre 2015 uglyone? As I said that dark era was non-contending. Making the playoffs, winning 90+ IS contending. If it isn't what do you consider contending? Making it to the ALCS? Making it to the WS? If it is making the WS then the Yankees haven't contended since 2009 when they last won it all. Their last time within a game of the WS was 2017 (lost ALCS 4-3) but I'd say both of those are crazy high standards.

To me making the playoffs is contending, winning 90+ is contending even if you don't make it as 90+ normally gets you in. Do you need 95+ wins? By that standard the Jays only contended 4 times in their history (1985-1987-1992-1993). Do you require them to win a game in the playoffs? I could see demanding that, but last year was an ugly fluke where everything that could go wrong did in one game, with a lot of that being addressed by improving the OF defense which is largely what did them in (iirc there were 2 plays in LF that were 70%+ odds of being made that Tapia didn't even come close to, plus the horrid Springer/Bo mess). As late as 1 out in the 9th the Jays were still the slight favorites to win (runner on 2nd, 1 out, tie game, Romano on the mound) but we all know how it just didn't happen. Another strong arm in the pen and Romano wouldn't have come out in the 8th. So many if's in that game I'd have trouble listing them all.

This year we have a more battle tested Manoah and Romano - both wanting to prove that their brief playoffs were flukes. We have a deeper rotation (Bassitt is much better than Stripling - loved Strip but he had a career year last year which is unlikely to be matched plus Bassitt will also be replacing Ryu's poor starts to get to 30 - 6 Ryu, 24 Stripling). Look at FIP vs ERA, it broke even for the team but for Gausman it was 3.35 ERA vs 2.38 FIP, Berrios 5.23 vs 4.55, White 7.74 vs 3.76 (!!!). White really had zero help from his defense it seems - his xFIP was 4.68, so not as good as his FIP but still drastically better than ERA and at a level acceptable for a 4/5 guy in the rotation. Projections have White at 4.28 in 2023 and if he does that he would be 100% acceptable in the 5 hole, but Kikuchi is projected at 3.87 which would be a 'wow' as #5. If either of them can do what neutral systems project the Jays should be fighting for the AL East crown, not a wild card slot.

2023's team is a contender by virtually any definition imo. To say otherwise demands an explanation for why you feel it isn't. I have no problem with saying there are weaknesses or that some of these guys are more likely to regress than projection systems say (I'd love to hear why), but to say this team isn't a contender is silly imo.
uglyone - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 02:31 AM EST (#425708) #
Contending:

* 1992 - #2 win%, #3 rundiff, #1 ALE (+4gms)
* 2015 - #5 win%, #1 rundiff, #1 ALE (+6gms)
* 1985 - #2 win%, #2 rundiff, #1 ALE (+2gms)
* 1987 - #2 win%, #1 rundiff, #2 ALE (-2gms)
* 1993 - #4 win%, #5 rundiff, #1 ALE (+7gms)
* 1991 - #5 win%, #6 rundiff, #1 ALE (+7gms)
* 1989 - #6 win%, #5 rundiff, #1 ALE (+2gms)
* 1990 - #7 win%, #4 rundiff, #2 ALE (-2gms)

Not so much:

* 1988 - #7 win%, #6 rundiff, #4 ALE (-2gms)
* 1984 - #5 win%, #6 rundiff, #2 ALE (-15gms)
* 2016 - #8 win%, #5 rundiff, #3 ALE (-4gms), #2WC
* 2022 - #7 win%, #7 rundiff, #2 ALE (-7gms), #1WC
* 2021 - #9 win%, #5 rundiff, #4 ALE (-9gms)
* 1983 - #7 win%, #7 rundiff, #4 ALE (-9gms)
* 1986 - #10 win%, #6 rundiff, #4 ALE (-9gms)
* 2020 - #11 win%, #17 rundiff, #3 ALE (-8gms), #4WC
SK in NJ - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 06:25 AM EST (#425709) #
The 2021 team had 91 wins and finished 4th in their own division. There were more 90+ win teams in the 2021 AL East than there was in the entire AL in 2015. I'm not sure how that's an indictment on the quality of the team rather than the quality of the competition. The 2022 team hosted a Wild Card series after winning 92 games. That's a contender. They won 1 fewer playoff game than the Braves and Dodgers did so I guess those teams weren't "contenders" either.

If you want to argue they haven't had any playoff success yet post 2016, then fine, but to downplay the last two seasons in terms of the quality of the team is an odd stance to take.
uglyone - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 07:39 AM EST (#425710) #
Longshots aren't contenders.
Paul D - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 07:51 AM EST (#425711) #
While the 2015 team was better than the 2016 team, I don't think it's credible to say that the 2016 team wasn't a contender
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 08:07 AM EST (#425712) #
The 2021 team was excellent, but it was hurt by some key injuries and an arguably weak manager. Other postseason teams that year were reportedly relieved that the powerhouse Jays (the better team) got eliminated.
greenfrog - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 08:15 AM EST (#425713) #
Length of window of contention matters. If the Jays field good teams (90 wins or so) from 2021-2025, that in itself will be a significant accomplishment, irrespective of what happens in the postseason.
ayjackson - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 08:16 AM EST (#425714) #
5th-7th in run differential is definitely contender territory, imo.
ayjackson - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 08:17 AM EST (#425715) #
Also, I have no broader point.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 08:35 AM EST (#425716) #
"7yrs and they haven't contended yet."

Foolish and antagonizing. If you can't defend your original argument, try harder or consider that you may be wrong. Don't s crash the dialogue with outlandish takes. Last time I checked, there are no profile view or comment posting counters on this site.
whiterasta80 - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 08:39 AM EST (#425717) #
Ugly I think that you will be shocked at how rarely teams hit your bar and how rarely they win the world series when they do.

I'll take meaningful games in September. You just have to get in and get hot.
uglyone - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 08:42 AM EST (#425718) #
I defended my argument clearly. You respond with insults.

What's foolish is to think squeezing into the top 3rd of the league means you're a contender.
dalimon5 - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 09:05 AM EST (#425719) #
foolish, antagonizing and outlandish is how I describe your comment. No issues against you personally. I know nothing about you personally, only what you post which is a slant against this FO.

bpoz - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 09:53 AM EST (#425720) #
There does seem to be a range for the term "contending team". I don't mind that at all. The range is personal to each individual.

My range is 90+ wins. Therefore Atlanta and Philly were non contending in 2021 and 2022 based on my range. I expected them to be eliminated fairly. That was an expectation that was definitely "wrong" on my part. So I adjusted my terminology for contending.

If a "weak contending" 86 win Jays team goes on to win the WS. And a "strong contending" 97 win Jays does not win the WS I am not shocked because it can happen. Any and all are welcome to disagree with me.

By the numbers the 2021 Jays and Seattle were contenders. By making the playoffs Atlanta and Philadelphia were contenders. So there are "strong and weak" contenders. In 2022 TB 86 wins VS Baltimore 83 wins. Baltimore played meaningful baseball for part of Sept for the 1st time in a while. Baltimore was rebuilding. The Baltimore fans were probably happy and hopeful for the future quite possibly.

UO's definition is also correct based on his parameters. In 2021 SF and Boston contended but in 2022 they did not.
Glevin - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 10:06 AM EST (#425721) #
If you're making the playoffs, you're a contending team. This is the third straight year Jays will be in hunt for playoffs which would be their best three year run since early 90s. You are coming with the mentality where it's better to win 100 games once and then be out of the playoffs then to win 90 games every year and you couldn't be more wrong both in enjoyment for fans and chances to actually win the world series.
ISLAND BOY - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 10:11 AM EST (#425722) #
" Longshots aren't contenders."

As bpoz mentioned, Atlanta and Philadelphia made it to the World Series and with less than 90 wins and the lowest win totals among the playoff qualifiers, had to be considered longshots. So, one longshot actually won the World Series without contending.
SK in NJ - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 10:16 AM EST (#425723) #
Team A: 91-71, 99-63 pythWL, 4th place
Team B: 88-73, 94-67 pythWL, Won the World Series

I'm not sure which of the above two teams is the contender and which one isn't.

The MLB playoffs are random, even more so now with the expanded format. The best teams don't always win. The key is to make it and give yourself a chance. The Jays have been a playoff caliber (or contending) team over the past two seasons, and figure to be again in 2023. They just didn't make it in 2021 due to the level of their direct competition. Either way if you're winning 90+ games on a consistent basis then you are doing something right, especially in a division like the AL East. The goal should be to sustain this level for as long as possible, and even that's not a guarantee (see the Dodgers).
Kasi - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 10:23 AM EST (#425724) #
Just going by the 2000 teams I donít think the 06 and 11 Cards, 03 Marlins, 19 Nationals, 14 Giants, 15 Royals, 10 Giants and 21 Braves were particularly strong teams compared to their competition yet all won the WS. Thatís over a third of the 20xx champions. Anyway just a poster taking his usual shots at the Jays and its as ignorable as the rest.
BlueJayWay - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 10:30 AM EST (#425725) #
The Jays have been a playoff contender (the only reasonable definition of being a "contender", period, in MLB imo since the playoffs are so close to random) for the last two years and certainly project to being so again in 2023.
Magpie - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 10:34 AM EST (#425726) #
I defended my argument clearly.

Actually, no. You didn't make an argument at all. You simply asserted that this particular level is where you situate the bar. Which is perfectly fine, if that's what you care about.
grjas - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 10:41 AM EST (#425727) #
Geez after 20 years in the wilderness starting in 1994, with few meaningful games in September and even fewer stars coming up from our minors, I'll take the last few years, no matter what label we stick on the team.

And so would the fans of a lot of other teams.
bpoz - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 10:59 AM EST (#425728) #
Before the agreement was signed the owners wanted 7 playoff teams. Settled at 6.

It was horrible to compete with NYY and Boston for about 15 years it seemed. They outspent us badly. Poor management too it seemed. We had HOF Halladay!! Now we have a better chance to contend due to the extra WC teams. Too often we were sellers at the trade deadline due to mediocrity.

I am very positive now. I was a bit positive before especially due to the blockbuster 2013 trade with Miami.

I ask what made me positive before? It was my very strong opinion that we had strong prospects. JPR drafted players that excelled due to being old for their league. I was fooled badly for a long time. Chip Cannon.

Our current list of prospects does not seem to be hyped by Atkins. Our minor league development personnel are the ones that are being positive but not over hyping any prospects.

uglyone - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 11:39 AM EST (#425729) #
Stick to the "playoffs are random" justification if you like.

But being content with a team that settles for battling on the cusp of the top quarter of the league is not contention to me.

And I'd be surprised if fans in any sport would apply the "Contender" label to a full 1/4 to 1/3 of their league in any give year.
92-93 - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 12:24 PM EST (#425732) #
The truth lies somewhere in the middle. The teams that squeak into the playoffs in the NFL and NBA are basically non-contenders. In the NHL, you do see low seeds occasionally make noise, and in baseball it's more random. That being said, ask most Yankees fans if they've felt that their team was a true contender in the last decade and they will say no. When you get accustomed to actual contenders you get greedy, and when you spend two decades on the outside looking in you're just happy for meaningful September baseball. With the new playoff format and Toronto's market there's little reason for this team not to be in the hunt in September every year, but October is a whole different story.
Glevin - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 12:28 PM EST (#425733) #
"And I'd be surprised if fans in any sport would apply the "Contender" label to a full 1/4 to 1/3 of their league in any give year."

Well, it depends on the sport like in basketball just making playoffs doesn't mean much because best teams win but in baseball where the better team has pretty much 50% chance of winning, yes, the Jays are contenders and have been for the last two seasons. I just can't fathom a mindset that looks at a team that is coming off back to back 90+ win seasons, is built to contend for the future, is spending money near or over the cap, is signing big name free agents almost every year, and is fun and just be so miserable about it. If you can't enjoy this, I am not sure why you follow baseball.
Hodgie - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 03:56 PM EST (#425735) #
"I don't get this at all. Varsho isn't a project."

Isn't he? I was not questioning his WAR last season, but rather how sustainable his path to that number is. Varsho doesn't hit the ball hard, has poor chase rates, and had to over-perform his xwOBA to get to a 106 wRC+. Most of his value is tied to base running and defense, and with a stocky build he might already be slowing down when looking at Statcast.

If the Jays get last season's Varsho for the next four seasons, I'm ecstatic but there is considerable risk in his Statcast numbers, and to me, he is much less a certainty than I would have expected to see returned in a Moreno+ package.

Glevin - Tuesday, December 27 2022 @ 08:01 PM EST (#425740) #
" I was not questioning his WAR last season, but rather how sustainable his path to that number is. Varsho doesn't hit the ball hard, has poor chase rates, and had to over-perform his xwOBA to get to a 106 wRC+"

I understand where you're coming from but it's very glass half empty. You can also turn around and say, he had a 118 WRC+ in second half, barelled the ball well, won't have to focus on catcher which can drag down offensive numbers, and will likely benefit from shift banning. Look at his minor league numbers. 159 WrC+ in AA. 161 in AAA and it's pretty easy to see this as the floor of his offensive output as well. He does have more unknown than someone you might expect getting for a top prospect but he is a very exciting player.

James W - Wednesday, December 28 2022 @ 10:47 AM EST (#425746) #
And I'd be surprised if fans in any sport would apply the "Contender" label to a full 1/4 to 1/3 of their league in any give year.

The latest NFL Power Rankings on Ringer list 3 teams under "Best of the best", and 5 teams as "Deep Postseason Contenders". 8/32
Hodgie - Wednesday, December 28 2022 @ 03:08 PM EST (#425751) #
I understand where you're coming from but it's very glass half empty.

That is fair, and hopefully Varsho is able to realize the offensive potential he showed in the minors. I would just feel better about him taking the Marcus Semien path if he exhibited Semien's eye at the plate.

Shoeless Joe - Sunday, January 01 2023 @ 04:27 PM EST (#425843) #
Player A Projection: 235/305/446 for a 113 wRC+
Player B Projection: 252/307/448 for a 113 wRC+

Player A is Varsho and Player B is Addison Barger, he could surprise this year.
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