According to reports from former big leaguer Carlos Baerga and MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Toronto Blue Jays have signed veteran infielder Justin Turner to a one-year deal. The contract is reportedly worth $13 million with an additional $1.5 million in potential bonuses and performance-based incentives.
The Jays will get a talented right-handed bat who boasts a career .288/.363/.465 slash line with 187 home runs, 759 RBIs and a lifetime .829 OPS (125 OPS+).
Turner spent the past season with the Boston Red Sox, appearing in 146 games for the club while putting up a .276 average with an .800 OPS through 626 plate appearances. The long-time Dodgers third baseman hit 20-plus home runs for the sixth time in his career and drove in a career-high 96 runs for the Red Sox in his first season in the AL East.
The veteran became a free agent this past winter after he declined a $13.4 million player option, collecting a $6.7 million buyout and the ability to test the open market again.
Known for his sneaky power and ability to get on base, Turner has seen a slight decline in his slash line over the past two years. Still, he remains a productive hitter.
Justin Turner Slots in at DH
At 39 years old, the California product saw most of his playing time in the DH spot last season, with some spot starts at first base (289 1/3 innings with a .989 fielding percentage) and the occasional appearance at second and third base as well.
Turner will join a strong contingent of right-handed hitters in Toronto’s lineup, bringing additional power and on-base ability to the batting order. He should see most of his playing time at DH and first base once again, unless the Jays feel he can handle third base reps with regularity; the jury is still out on that subject.
The Blue Jays front office made it clear earlier this winter that the team needed another bat in the lineup, and it will be interesting to see if this is the last move the club makes after an offseason of additions including Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Kevin Kiermaier, and right-hander Yariel Rodriguez.
The club has been tied to right-handed slugger Jorge Soler as of late, but adding Turner likely takes them out of the running for the All-Star outfielder/DH.