June 25, 2024

Justin Turner, last season’s standout performer, is currently without a contract in the free-agent market. However, the 15-year MLB veteran is expected to make a decision on his next team “increasingly likely” this week, according to Jon Morosi.

The possibility of Turner returning to the Boston Red Sox seems unlikely, with Morosi strongly indicating this sentiment on Monday. Instead, the front-runners for acquiring his services are identified as the Giants, Mets, Blue Jays, and Cubs.

Justin Turner, who turned 39 in November, is approaching the latter stages of his career. However, his remarkable performance in the 2023 season should convince potential suitors that he still has a lot to offer.

During his sole season with the Boston Red Sox, Turner played a pivotal role in the lineup, batting .276 with 23 home runs and 96 RBI. Notably, his RBI total for the season marked a career-high, showcasing his enduring productivity. In 2023, Turner arrived on the East Coast after spending nine seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, contributing to their 2020 World Series championship victory.

Although Turner had a player option to return to Boston in 2024 for $13.4 million, he opted for a different path, declining the option and accepting a $6.7 million buyout instead. The Red Sox have made significant investments in the corner infield positions, traditionally occupied by Turner. Third baseman Rafael Devers, in particular, is only one year into a substantial 10-year, $313.5 million deal.

Meanwhile, Triston Casas, the 24-year-old first baseman, recently finished third in the 2023 American League Rookie of the Year voting and was a Silver Slugger Award finalist for his position.

In the previous season, Justin Turner contributed significantly to the Boston Red Sox, starting 98 games as the designated hitter, 41 games at first base, 10 at second base, and seven at third. While the team’s plans for a full-time designated hitter or a platoon approach in 2024 remain undisclosed, it is likely that Masataka Yoshida will see the majority of at-bats in that lineup spot, considering his significant playing time as the designated hitter in 2023.

Yoshida took on the designated hitter role for 49 games in his debut MLB season in 2023, primarily due to his defensive performance being perceived as a noticeable liability.

The Boston Red Sox front office has seemingly operated under the assumption that Justin Turner would not be returning, so his potential signing elsewhere is not expected to prompt an immediate corresponding move.

Sep 27, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter Justin Turner (2) watches

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