What Comes Next After the Red Sox’s Agreement with Justin Turner

Last night, multiple reports confirmed that the Red Sox are in agreement to bring former Dodger Justin Turner to Boston. The 38-year-old will look to replace some of the pop lost by the Sox over the past weeks, but it won’t be easy. In fact, the Red Sox have an interesting road ahead of next season.

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A Look at Turner

It’s incredible, from a statistical standpoint, to see the transformation of Justin Turner with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Turner first got a taste of the Majors in 2009 with the Baltimore Orioles. After 31 plate appearances across two seasons with the O’s, Turner was claimed off waivers by the Mets in 2010. With the Mets, Turner displayed decent contact ability, but little power. After Turner was non-tendered at the 2013 season, the California native headed to the Dodgers.

Turner’s numbers exploded after the move to the Dodgers. The now-former Dodger overhauled with swing and approach, a move that actually began late in his tenure with the Mets. Former teammate Marlon Byrd helped in that transformation, which included a modified leg kick and movement designed to better transfer weight.

The results? Turner produced an OPS+ over league average in every season in Los Angeles. The 38-year-old produced four 20+ home run seasons, and batted at .275 in every season with the Dodgers, including three non-shortened seasons in which Turner hit .300 or better.

Turner possesses an outstanding approach at the plate; the infielder routinely records above-average K%, BB%, Chase%, and Whiff% rates, including in 2022. While Turner’s overall production slipped after a torrid 2021 season, the California native still displayed a penchant for making quality contact. Turner’s 27.9% line drive percentage rate was tied for the sixth-best among all qualified MLB hitters.

Now headed to Boston on a two-year, Turner will look to produce up to his standards on a team that has yielded heavy losses in recent months.

What it Means

As of this moment, Boston is poised to finish at or near the bottom of the AL East yet again. A year after a 92-win campaign and a birth in the ALDS, thing went south for the Red Sox in 2022. Boston won just 78 games last season, thanks to an inconsistent pitching staff and the failure to recapture the 2021 Sox’s offensive magic.

Just two months removed from the 2022 campaign, it’s clear that the 2023 Red Sox will look much different. The Red Sox have already lost two of the team’s best hitters in star shortstop Xander Bogaerts (Padres) and JD Martinez (Dodgers) in free agency. On the pitching side, Rich Hill (98 ERA+), Nathan Eovaldi (109 ERA+), and Michael Wacha (127 ERA+) — the three of whom logged a combined 421 innings for Boston last season — are all free agents, as well. Boston has inked relievers Kenley Jansen and Joely Rodriguez to help an erratic bullpen prior to the agreement with Turner, but this current group’s look is not particularly promising.

Turner should provide some stability for the Red Sox’s lineup, a group that as of now includes Trevor Story, Alex Verdugo, Enrique Hernández, Christian Arroyo, Reese McGuire, and prospect Triston Casas. Star slugger Rafael Devers is still with Boston, but the situation between Boston and the 26-year-old will be one to watch over the next 11 months. Devers is set to be a free agent after the 2023 campaign, and will be among the best players available next winter. The Red Sox third baseman has been one of the game’s best power hitters over the past five seasons, and at the age of 27 next year, is in line for a massive deal.

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