Red Sox Make Huge Move, Sign Justin Turner to Two-Year, $22 Million Deal; Former Top Pitching Prospect DFA’d

Justin Turner signs with Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox have made a significant addition to their lineup with the signing of veteran infielder Justin Turner.

Two-year contract worth $22 million

The two sides have agreed to a two-year contract worth $22 million, according to ESPN, with an opt-out clause after 2023. This move fills the DH role left vacant by the departure of J.D. Martinez, who signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Primarily DH, with potential for playing time at third base

Turner, who has primarily played third base throughout his career, will not be taking over at that position for the Red Sox, as Rafael Devers currently holds that spot. It is likely that Justin Turner will see most of his action as a DH, with the possibility of some playing time at third base if Devers is traded.

Devers and Red Sox unable to agree on contract extension

The Red Sox and Devers have reportedly been unable to come to an agreement on a contract extension, and Devers is set to become a free agent after next season. This has led to speculation that the Red Sox may consider trading Devers, as they did with former MVP Mookie Betts. If that were to happen, Turner could potentially see more time at third base for the Red Sox.

Performance in 2020 season

In the shortened 2020 season, Justin Turner hit .278/.350/.438 with 13 home runs in 128 games, and his performatnce improved significantly after the All-Star break, with a .340/.412/.514 line in 58 games. R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports ranked Turner as the 30th-best free agent this offseason, just behind Martinez. Anderson noted that while Turner is older and has had injury issues in the past, he is still capable of getting on base and there are not many strong options available at third base on the free agent market.

Career with Dodgers

Turner has spent the past nine seasons with the Dodgers, and has established himself as one of the best players in franchise history. He ranks in the top 20 in several offensive categories, including doubles, home runs, slugging percentage, total bases, and OPS. He has also played in at least 1,000 games for the Dodgers, including their Brooklyn and Los Angeles years. In addition, Justin Turner has a strong postseason track record, hitting .270/.370/.460 with 13 home runs in 86 games. He was co-MVP of the 2017 NLCS and helped the Dodgers win the World Series in 2020.

Impact on Red Sox

Turner will now join former Dodgers teammates Enrique Hernández and Kenley Jansen on the Red Sox. The Red Sox finished the 2020 season with a 78-84 record and missed the playoffs, their only postseason appearance since winning the World Series in 2018. The team will have a chance to face off against Justin Turner’s former team when the Red Sox visit Fenway Park for a series in late August. The Red Sox do not have a scheduled trip to Dodger Stadium in 2023.\

Roster move

In order to make room for Justin Turner on the roster, the Red Sox had to designate left-handed reliever Darwinzon Hernandez for assignment. Hernandez, 26, was signed by the Red Sox as an international free agent in 2013 and was once considered a top pitching prospect in the organization. However, he struggled to find success at the major league level, posting a 5.06 ERA and 1.73 WHIP with 73 walks and 133 strikeouts in 85.1 innings over 91 appearances. It remains to be seen what the next step will be for Hernandez, as he could be claimed off waivers by another team or sent to the minor leagues if he clears waivers.

Conclusion

It remains to be seen how Justin Turner’s addition to the Boston Red Sox will impact the team’s performance in the upcoming season. Turner brings a strong offensive track record and playoff experience to the team, and his presence could provide a boost to the Red Sox lineup. However, it is worth noting that Turner is 38 years old and has had injury issues in the past, so it remains to be seen how much he will be able to contribute over the course of a full season.

Additionally, the Red Sox will need to address the issue of Rafael Devers’ contract situation. Devers is set to become a free agent after the 2022 season, and if the Red Sox are unable to come to an agreement on a contract extension, they may consider trading him. If Devers is traded, Turner could potentially see more playing time at third base.

Overall, the signing of Justin Turner is a solid move for the Red Sox as they look to improve upon their 78-84 record from last season. Whether or not it will be enough to put them back in the postseason remains to be seen, but the team will certainly be hoping that Turner can help lead them back to the top of the AL East.

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