According to MLB Network, veteran slugger Justin Turner might sign with the San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, or Chicago Cubs within the next few days.
Justin Turner, a veteran slugger, is nearing his free agent decision, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi said Monday morning.
Turner’s decision is becoming “increasingly likely to occur” this week, according to Morosi. He identified the San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, Toronto Blue Jays, and Chicago Cubs as potential destinations.
The 39-year-old third baseman and designated hitter played last season for the Boston Red Sox, who appear to have moved on from Turner.
Turner may have gotten his start with the Baltimore Orioles back in 2009, but he earned his first regular playing time with the Mets in 2011. The Los Angeles Dodgers picked Turner up in 2014, and he would go on to make two All-Star appearances in nine seasons with the club.
Even as he’s reached his late 30s, Turner has remained productive at the plate. He is averaging 21 home runs, 88 RBI and a 2.5 WAR a year over the last three seasons, all while hitting .277 with an .807 OPS.
Turner had the option to return to Boston for a second season with the Red Sox, but he opted to enter free agency instead. The Red Sox still owed Turner a $6.7 million buyout, which is half of the $13.4 million option he declined
FanGraphs presently forecasts the Giants to start 2024 with Wilmer Flores at designated hitter, J.D. Davis at third base, and LaMonte Wade Jr. at first base, but Turner’s positional versatility may allow him to carve out a role anyway. Meanwhile, backup catcher Danny Jansen is expected to be the Blue Jays’ full-time designated hitter, with Cavan Biggio and Santiago Espinal set to platoon at third.
At his older age, it’s unclear whether Turner can overtake 24-year-olds Brett Baty and Mark Vientos as the Mets’ third baseman, but he appears to be a more successful designated hitter than DJ Stewart.
Top prospects Michael Busch and Nick Madrigal are expected to start in the corners for Chicago, with rookie slugger Christopher Morel serving as designated hitter, so Turner’s time with the Cubs is likely to be limited.