Justin Turner signs 1-year, $13M deal with Toronto

Veteran slugger Justin Turner, 39, is crossing the border.

Turner agreed to a one-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night, Major League Baseball columnist John Morosi reported.

The deal is worth $13 million. That’s in addition to $1.5 million in roster spots and performance-based incentives.

Turner is a veteran of 15 seasons in the Major Leagues, playing in 1539 games. He joined the Dodgers as a guest player prior to the 2014 season and quickly became a star, establishing himself as the team’s starting third baseman.

He is a two-time All-Star and was named MVP of the 2017 National League Championship Series. The team reached the World Series three times (2017, 2018, and 2020) and won one championship.

After nine seasons with the Dodgers, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox last year, where he batted .276 with a .345 on-base percentage, .455 slugging percentage, 23 home runs, and 96 RBIs in 146 games.

While he once made his name as a third baseman, he has been playing more and more designated hitter since the 2022 season. Last season, he started 98 games at designated hitter.

He’s expected to play a similar role with his new team. According to Morrissey, Turner will play primarily designated hitter in Toronto.

He is expected to fill the role that Brandon Belt played last season. Like Belt, he’ll likely see time at first base and occasionally play defense.

After parting ways with Matt Chapman, Toronto still doesn’t have a clear-cut starting third baseman.

Unless an addition is made, it’s likely that the Jays will use multiple players at third base. Recent additions include Isaiah Kainer-Palepa, Santiago Espinal, and Cavan Biggio.

It’s unclear how much Turner, who played just 57 innings at third base last season, will be able to contribute.

It seems more likely that he’ll move to first base to take some of the pressure off Vladimir Guerrero Jr. He played 289 1/3 innings of defense at first base last year.

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