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Justin Turner is a nice addition for the Blue Jays, so long as there’s more coming

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Photo credit:© John Hefti
Ryley Delaney
2 months ago
The Blue Jays have finally made a transaction, but it may not be the one most would like.
It was announced on Tuesday morning that the Jays have signed 39-year-old Justin Turner to a one-year, $13 million deal, with some more money coming through possible performance bonuses. 
Turner most recently played with the Boston Red Sox, slashing .276/.345/.455 with 23 home runs in 626 plate appearances, along with an 8.1 BB% and a 17.6 K% for a 114 wRC+ and a 1.2 fWAR. He mainly played in the designated hitter role, as he played 98 games there, but he also played 41 games at first base, ten games at second base, and seven games at third base.
Despite the 114 wRC+, Turner would’ve ranked in the top three of many batting categories on the 2023 Jays, as you can see below. Most notably, his 23 home runs would’ve ranked second, only behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
It’s been reported by numerous sources that the Blue Jays see Turner as their full-time designated hitter, which makes sense given his age. However, he could still spell at first base as he did in Boston and potentially even play some third base as he won’t be stuck behind Rafael Devers but Isiah Kiner-Falefa instead.
With all that being said, is the signing of Turner a good one? Well, maybe, but it really depends on what the Blue Jays do before the 2024 season. Their 2023 designated hitter Brandon Belt slashed .254/.369/.490 with 19 home runs in 404 plate appearances for a 138 wRC+, and was statistically their best hitter (by wRC+ standards). Turner, unfortunately, may not replace Belt’s production there, but not many players on the market could.
The Blue Jays still need to add an impact bat either through free agency or through a trade. As it stands, they still have a massive hole at third base, as Kiner-Falefa and Cavan Biggio likely won’t produce like Matt Chapman did in 2023. Of course, Chapman still remains available on the free agent market and a reunion makes total sense.
However, it’s worth noting that when asked if the Jays have anything else up their sleeves, Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith believes that this is Toronto’s last “big move” for the off-season. Of course, he could be wrong, but losing Chapman’s production would be worrisome heading into the new season.
Still, the Turner signing is good in a vacuum, as he’s a quality, veteran hitter who mashes left-handed pitching and has a history of coming through in the clutch. There’s obviously some concern over whether a 39-year-old can continue to hack it for an entire 162-game marathon, but the first base and designated hitter role isn’t one that’s overly demanding. 
There’s still plenty of time left before the 2024 season starts and there are some quality names on the market. When it comes to replacing Brandon Belt, Justin Turner is a nice addition. But if this is the last thing the Blue Jays do, and the plan is for him to be a sizable part of Matt Chapman’s replacement, this isn’t ideal.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.

ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETANO

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