Veteran infielder Justin Turner has agreed to a one-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays, reports MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. According to Jon Heyman, the contract will pay Turner $13 million with the opportunity to earn $1.5 million more in incentives. Turner, 39, hit .276/.345/.455 (114 OPS+) with 31 doubles, 23 home runs, 96 RBI, 86 runs and 2.1 WAR last season with the Red Sox. He set a new career high in RBI while he wasn’t far off in home runs.
Turner actually played more games at first base than anywhere else in the field last season while spending most of his time at designated hitter, but he was teammates with franchise third baseman Rafael Devers in Boston. Turner has handled third base long enough to believe he can do so on a regular basis again.
In Toronto, Turner figures to be the primary DH while also seeing time at third and first. Theoretically, adding Turner should not remove the possibility of a Blue Jays reunion with third baseman Chapman, who’s still on the free-agent market.
Though we’re a bit removed from the man who posted a combined .307 batting average from 2017-20, Turner has shown plenty of signs that he can continue to be a quality bat here in the next year or two. He was a late bloomer but has hit .293/.371/.486 (131 OPS+) in his 1,221 games since 2014, when he joined the Dodgers.
Turner also has a lot of playoff experience. He’s been in three World Series and five NLCS. He won the 2017 NLCS MVP and in 86 career playoff games he’s hit .270/.370/.460 with 19 doubles, 13 homers and 42 RBI.
If there’s any concern from last season, it might be that hitter-friendly Fenway Park inflated Turner’s numbers. His batting average was 35 points higher at home, but his OPS was only 33 points higher at home and he hit 11 road home runs compared to 12 in Fenway. Even with the Green Monster in Turner’s pull field, he doubled more times on the road than at home.