6:01 pm: Alex Speier of The Boston Globe has a different set of contract numbers, Report If Turner exercises his player option, he will only get $8.3MM in 2023 and then $11.4MM in 2024. Unless the deal comes with a signing bonus or buyout, Speier’s report will show Turner only receiving $19.7MM in guaranteed salary. The $8.30 figure in 2023, in particular, seems like a pretty good deal for the Red Sox, since it’s likely to end up being a one-year commitment to a 38-year-old.
5:26 pm: Turner to earn $14MM in 2023, Heyman ReportAnd the 2024 player option is worth $8MM.
4:54 p.m.: Red Sox have agreed to deal with infielder justin turneraccording to ESPN’s Joon Lee and Jeff Passan (Twitter Link). The two-year contract will pay Turner just under $22, and Turner can opt out of the deal after the 2023 season. Jon Heyman of the New York Post (Twitter Link) reported earlier today that Turner and the Red Sox are “close” to working out a contract, and that Boston is “vigorously” pursuing Turner. Fantrax’s Michael Marino Report Turner and the Red Sox held talks yesterday. Turner is represented by Vayner Sports.
The Marlins, Diamondbacks, Twins and Dodgers are other teams known to be interested in Turner, with Miami making an offer earlier this week. Barry Jackson and Craig Mish of the Miami Herald described the Marlins’ offer as “competitive,” and while the exact details of the offer were unclear, Heyman wrote that the Marlins Seems willing to offer Turner the multiyear deal he’s seeking in free agency.
Turner (coming into his age-38 season) did find the multi-year deal, albeit a sharp drop from the $17 average annual value he got in his previous two-year deal with the Dodgers. MLBTR projects Turner is only guaranteed for one year, but at $14MM. The year-by-year breakdown of the new contract is unclear, and the opt-out could indicate that Turner’s camp may essentially view the deal as a one-year deal with an eye on getting a larger, multi-year deal with a big platform at Fenway Park next. years later.
That said, Turner isn’t bad in 2022, as he hit . 278/. 350/. However, given how Turner’s usual offseason routine has been disrupted by the lockout and shortened spring training, he’s likely to imagine that he could have played better if he hadn’t gotten off to a very slow start. Turner had just a .611 OPS in his first 243 PA of the year, but then caught fire with a .940 OPS in his last 289 PA.
Despite that production, and Turner’s long track record of success in nine seasons in Los Angeles, the Dodgers chose to decline their 16mm club option for Turner in 2023, instead buying him out for 2mm. .The move appears to be designed to give the Dodgers some extra flexibility in terms of salary and luxury tax, as the Dodgers can conceivably use any Max Mansi, christelleor foreground Miguel Vargas at third base.While president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has repeatedly said the door remains open for a possible reunion with Turner, the Dodgers signed JD Martinez Yesterday seemed to suggest that Los Angeles has moved on.
As it turns out, the Dodgers and Red Sox will be unofficially swapping veteran hitters, with Martinez going to Los Angeles and Turner going to Boston. Turner brings more defensive utility than Martinez, as Turner still had a lot of action at third base last season, essentially splitting his time between third base and DH. Raphael Devers Sure there’s priority in Boston’s hot corner, but the Red Sox can now use Turner at third base when Devers (a sub-par defender) has his own DH day.Turner hasn’t hit at first base since 2016, but he’s also likely to get some time at the cold corner as a rookie right-hitter complement Triston Casas.
Xander BogaertsLeaving the Padres led to a lot of dissatisfaction with ownership and chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom for the Red Sox. While Bogaerts is certainly a major loss, Bloom’s plan is to fill the void with multiple players, as Bloom has indicated he wants to add about 7-9 new faces to the roster. Turner has now partially met that long list of needs, Masataka Yoshidaand reliever Kenley Jensen, Chris Martinwith Joely Rodriguez.
Considering the rest of the Red Sox have signed up for at least this winter, it seems starting pitching, receiving and outfield are still on Bloom’s list.But with Turner, the club bolstered the corner infield/DH combo Boston first hoped to achieve by pushing Jose Abreu, before Abreu signed with the Astros.Red Sox free up some space at first base by design Eric Hosmer The assignment earlier this week, while Hosmer is essentially a free agent as the Padres paid almost all of his remaining salary, the Red Sox were looking for a more efficient bat, or at least for a top prospect Casas was more determined to clear the way.
After passing the luxury-tax threshold in 2022, the Red Sox are currently well below the $23.3 billion threshold. That leaves some opportunity for Bloom to perhaps stay below the tax line, though given that Bloom and the owners were willing to pay the tax last year for a pretty distant shot at a playoff spot, one could imagine the Red Sox Won’t hesitate to pay another tax penalty for the right uptick. Many of the offseason’s top free agents have left the board, but the Red Sox could still pursue other upgrades on the trade market.
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