Blue Jays Sign Justin Turner
The Toronto Blue Jays have reached an agreement with free agent Justin Turner on a one-year, $13MM contract, pending a physical. Turner, who turned 39 in November, had an impressive season in 2023 with the Boston Red Sox.
Turner's Performance in 2023
In the 2023 season, Turner posted a slash line of .276/.345/.455 with 23 home runs, 31 doubles, an 8.1% walk rate, and a 17.6% strikeout rate in 146 games and 626 plate appearances.
He was about 14% better than league average at the plate, according to wRC+. This marked his tenth consecutive season of being at least 14% above par with the bat.
In addition to his offensive contributions, Turner is known for his leadership and clubhouse presence.
Consistency at the Plate
Turner has been incredibly consistent at the plate throughout his career. Over the past ten seasons, he has not batted lower than .275, posted an OBP under .339, slugged less than .438, or struck out in more than 18% of his plate appearances.
Overall, he has a career batting line of .293/.371/.486, averaging 24 home runs and 35 doubles per 162 games played.
Despite earning less on his new contract compared to his previous one with the Red Sox, Turner will have the opportunity to earn up to $14.5MM with roster bonuses and performance incentives.
Impact on the Blue Jays Lineup
Turner is expected to serve as the primary designated hitter for the Blue Jays and can also split time at the hot corner with Isiah Kiner-Falefa. He also has experience playing at first base.
One concern with Turner joining the lineup is that he adds another right-handed bat to a lineup that already skews heavily towards right-handed hitters. This lack of balance may pose challenges against premium right-handed pitchers.
With the addition of Turner, the Blue Jays have made a significant upgrade to their lineup this offseason. They have been actively pursuing bat-first players and have also acquired Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Kevin Kiermaier, and Yariel Rodriguez.