Justin Turner agrees to a two-year deal with the Red Sox
6:10 p.m. ET
Jeff Passan ESPN
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Third baseman Justin Turner and the Boston Red Sox have agreed a two-year deal worth nearly $22 million that includes an opt-out after the first season, sources told ESPN on Sunday.
Turner spent the last nine years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he went on to become one of the most productive and enduring players in the National League. Now 38, he’ll head to Boston, where perennial MVP contender Rafael Devers already stands at third base, and likely settle into a first base or designated hitter role, perhaps taking the place of JD Martinez, who agreed to a deal with the Dodgers on Saturday.
While Turner’s power waned that year, he remained a well-above-average hitter, hitting .278/.350/.438 with 13 homers and 81 RBIs in 128 games. After spending most of his 20s as a utilityman with the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Mets, Turner’s renaissance began in Los Angeles, where he hit .296/.375/.490 and .270/.370/.460 on 13 home runs during the regular season in 86 postseason games.
Turner, known for his long, red beard and clutch bat — his OPS is more than 50 points higher in his career with runners in goal position — had previously re-signed twice with the Dodgers. His first foray into free agency in 2016 netted him a four-year, $64 million deal, and ahead of the 2021 season he signed a two-year, $32 million contract with a club option for 2023.
When the Dodgers decided to pay a $2 million buyout for the next year instead of a $16 million salary, the possibility of Turner moving on grew.
The Dodgers had continued negotiations with him this week, but when Martinez agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal, Turner’s talks with the Red Sox had accelerated. He’s joining a team that finished last year in the American League East Division and lost earlier this winter to Martinez and franchise shortstop Xander Bogaerts, who signed for 11 years and $280 million with the San Diego Padres.
Among the Red Sox’s actions this winter: Signing Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida to a five-year, $90 million deal plus $15.4 million transfer fee and adding three assists – closer Kenley Jansen, right-hander Chris Martin and left-hander Joely Rodriguez – for a total of $51.5 million.
ESPN’s Joon Lee contributed to this report.