Red Sox Free Agent Expected To Decide Soon On Destination

The 39-year-old Turner will likely not return to Boston this season.
Sep 27, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter Justin Turner (2) watches
Sep 27, 2023; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter Justin Turner (2) watches / Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Last season's breakout star, Justin Turner, remains unsigned on the free-agent market. But the 15-year MLB vet's decision on his next destination is "increasingly likely" to come this week, per Jon Morosi.

It is a long shot that Turner returns to the Boston Red Sox, and Morosi all but confirmed that sentiment on Monday, identifying the Giants, Mets, Blue Jays, and Cubs as the frontrunners to acquire his services.

Turner is nearing the end of his career, as he turned 39 in November, but his 2023 campaign should be more than enough to convince potential suitors that he still has plenty in the tank.

In what figures to be his only season in Boston, Turner hit .276 with 23 home runs and 96 RBI in the heart of the Red Sox's lineup. His RBI total was a career-high, an impressive feat at this stage of his career. The California native came to the East Coast in 2023 after nine seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he was a member of their 2020 World Series championship team.

Turner had a player option to return to Boston in 2024 for $13.4 million, but he declined that option and instead accepted a $6.7 million buyout.

The Red Sox have invested heavily in the corner infield positions, where Turner has historically played. Third baseman Rafael Devers is only one year into a 10-year, $313.5 million deal.

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

Turner started 98 games as the team's designated hitter last season, 41 games at first base, 10 at second base, and seven at third. Although Boston hasn't revealed whether they plan to employ a full-time DH in 2024 or adopt a platoon approach, the likely scenario at this stage would suggest that Masataka Yoshida will receive the lion's share of at-bats at that spot in the lineup.

Yoshida was the designated hitter for 49 games for the Red Sox during his first MLB season in 2023 after his subpar defense became a noticeable liability.

Boston's front office has appeared to operate all offseason with the assumption that Turner would not be returning, so his signing elsewhere should not trigger a corresponding move.

More Red Sox news and analysis: