June 5, 2023
Toronto Blue Jays: Where they stand in the AL East after taking on Daulton Varsho

Toronto Blue Jays: Where they stand in the AL East after taking on Daulton Varsho

With 62 days remaining until spring training and just under 100 days until opening day 2023, the Toronto Blue Jays continue to radically change their roster this offseason, trading left starting player Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and top catcher Gabriel Moreno for the Arizona Diamondbacks in one Blockbuster deal for 26-year-old left-handed outfielder/catcher Daulton Varsho.

Could this be a similar move to then-General Manager Pat Gillick’s trade for OF Devon White in December 1990, who won five Gold Gloves and two World Series Championships as a Blue Jay?

The move continues the clear pattern this offseason of improving the Blue Jays’ run prevention ability — at the expense of offense. Right fielder Teoscar Hernández (2.8 bWAR in 2022 with an OPS+ of 127, BABIP .335 and wRC+ of 129) traded to Seattle last month for reliever Erik Swanson, the swing and miss of just 70 strikeouts 53.2 innings were played in 2022. He hit 34% of batters this season (11.7/9 innings) versus the MLB average of just 22.1% and walked just 4.9% of the batters he faced with a tiny 1.68 ERA .

Free agent Chris Bassitt was signed as the No. 3 starter in the rotation. He leads the way in making weak contact, with an average exit speed off the opponent’s stick of just 85.7 mph – good for the 95th percentile in MLB – and a hard hit percentage of just 32.8% over that MLB average of 35.8%. While his ERA and FIP were higher in 2022 than the starter he replaces in the Jays’ rotation, Ross Stripling (3.01, 3.11), at 3.42 and 3.66, respectively, he’s also been more consistent since 2020 pitching an average of 5.9 innings per start across 68 starts and averaging 6.1 innings across his 30 starts in 2022; Strip averaged just over 5 innings per start this year and has averaged 4.8 innings/start over 45 starts as a Blue Jay since 2020.

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