Lourdes Gurriel, Gabriel Moreno making Daulton Varsho look like Christmas coal
May 29, 2023, 9:15 AM | Updated: May 30, 2023, 8:20 am
(Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)
Just before Christmas about five months ago, the Arizona Diamondbacks gave their fans a couple of shiny new toys: outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and catcher Gabriel Moreno.
The team also took away a piece of whom fans had grown awfully fond, Daulton Varsho, but it needed more right-handed bats and a Carson Kelly future replacement.
Time would tell if the shiny new toys were actually lumps of coal.
As the 2023 season nears the 60-game mark, the trade of Varsho for Gurriel and Moreno looks like more than just a swell Christmas present.
While the Toronto Blue Jays wanted to fortify their outfield with the 26-year-old Varsho – he has not exceeded expectations with a .649 OPS in 53 games.
Varsho provides value playing the field extremely well.
But what the Jays gave the D-backs, though, is Varsho times two.
Gurriel is hitting above his career average in nearly every category. In early May, his batting average of .313 and OPS of .802 beat his career stats in those categories. Now at the end of May, his batting average is a couple ticks higher at .315 but his OPS has jumped to .917. In his last 30 games, he’s hitting at an All-Star-worthy pace.
And he and his purple ‘do are winning over his teammates and coaches.
“Just a good approach but also putting in a lot of work with the coaches, coming in early and getting that work in,” Gurriel told reporters on May 7.
Moreno, too, is playing well in his opportunities. While his offensive prowess has been promising — .295 average and a .717 OPS – his defense is stellar. He is sixth in the National League in pop time with 1.89 seconds.
Basically, there are no freebees for base runners. He’s thrown out 13 would-be base stealers, 54.2% of attempts.
While the Blue Jays sit in last place in the AL East at 28-26, the D-backs lead the wild card race in the National League at 30-23 and are within striking distance of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
While many trades are win-win from both team’s perspective – Zac Gallen for Jazz Chisholm, for example – right now, this one has not been close so far.
Gurriel is on an expiring contract and is getting more expensive every day. But after years of futility the D-backs are competing near the start of June and a big part of it is the trade made Dec. 23, 2022.