Marshfield’s Daulton Varsho traded to Toronto
FOR HUB CITY TIMES
Daulton Varsho, a 2014 graduate of Marshfield High School, has been traded by the team that drafted him nearly six years ago.
“It definitely was kind of a shock and kind of a disappointing feeling, because you kind of expect to stay with your team for a long period of time, but I’m headed to a championship-caliber team and a team who’s ready to win right now,” Varsho told Hub City Times, in a Dec. 23 interview, just hours after being traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Toronto Blue Jays. “It’s gonna be a whole lot of fun because you join that lineup with what they have, and I can just be Daulton and go out there and have fun and help that team win any way I can,” Varsho added.
The Diamondbacks are sending the 26-year-old versatile outfielder/catcher to the Blue Jays, in exchange for outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and top catching prospect Gabriel Moreno.
Shortly after being informed of the Dec. 23 trade by Arizona General Manager Mike Hazen, Daulton spoke with Toronto GM Ross Atkins. “He has connections with my dad (Gary),” Daulton added. “My dad used to work for him when my dad worked with Cleveland.”
Varsho is coming off a 2022 season during which he belted a career-best 27 home runs, and was also named a National League Gold Glove finalist as both an outfielder and a utility player. “Yeah, very interesting,” Varsho reacted.
Varsho also drove in 74 runs this past season, while batting .235 with 125 hits and 46 walks. He also recorded 16 steals. Daulton was seldom used behind the plate, getting just 18 starts at catcher, along with 103 starts in the outfield and 15 at DH. Now, he’ll be a fulltime, everyday outfielder with the Blue Jays. “The plan is for me to play a little bit of center and a little bit of left,” he said. “That’s what Ross Atkins told me.”
And Varsho said he does not miss being behind the plate. “I took to the outfield a little bit better than what I thought over the past couple years,” he said. “I was very stubborn about wanting to catch and staying at catcher, but after playing in the outfield and being around those guys last year and enjoying it, that kind of changed my mind set a little bit about it,” Varsho admitted. “As well as I did, I had so much fun doing it,” he added, about playing the outfield. “So, for me to be able to be out there and just roam and kind of do what I’ve done since I was a little kid, it’s kind of fun to be back to that situation, without having to have that mental ability of calling a game.”
Varsho says he looks forward to the challenge of going from a National League West team that finished in fourth place in 2022, to an American League East team that finished second to the New York Yankees and qualified for the playoffs.
“It’s a tough division, and it’ll be fun to match up against the best. It’s always fun when you’re able to go against new guys, and you always take on that challenge with a little bit of energy to be able to show what you got.”
Varsho will face his former Arizona teammates during a three-game series July 14-16 in Toronto. And he will see his home-state team come in from Milwaukee for three games May 30-June1. Right before that, Varsho will be in nearby Minneapolis to face the Twins at Target Field May 26-28.
Varsho is joining the same organization that drafted his former Marshfield High School and UW-Milwaukee teammate, Trevor Schwecke. “I got a hold of him right away, and he was awesome. He was thrilled,” Daulton said. “He told me that all of his friends are excited, and it’s pretty cool to have that connection and somebody in the organization that you know, and telling you a lot of the good things that they do. It’s great. I’m excited to kind of be with him again.” Schwecke is currently with Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo.
Varsho became the highest-drafted player ever from UW-Milwaukee after being picked 68th overall by the Diamondbacks in 2017. During his time with the Marshfield Tigers, Daulton was a four-time all-Wisconsin Valley Conference selection, and was the WVC Player of the Year as a senior in 2014 when he hit .419 with five home runs and 14 RBIs in conference play. At UW-Milwaukee, Varsho was a two-time all-Horizon League player, including being named Player of the Year in 2016.