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Red Sox Insider Pours Cold Water On Justin Turner Reunion Next Season

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Red Sox Insider Pours Cold Water On Justin Turner Reunion Next Season

The Boston Red Sox have one of the worst defenses assembled in the modern era, and it turns out those deficiencies could cost them arguably their top slugger this offseason.

Red Sox designated hitter Justin Turner has a $13.4 million player option next season that he would be wise to decline after a career year. Boston will be hard-pressed to re-sign a pure DH with so many of its productive offensive contributors rating so poorly defensively.

 

 

Red Sox Insider Pours Cold Water On Justin Turner Reunion Next Season

“If they again lock Turner into the DH slot full-time, that means the Sox can’t utilize either Rafael Devers or Masataka Yoshida there and consigns them to playing two below-average defenders on a pretty much everyday basis,” MassLive’s Sean McAdam wrote Friday.

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Should the Red Sox bring in Turner or another pure DH-type, they would have to slot in at least three below-average defenders into the lineup each day — Devers, Yoshida and Triston Casas. Boston can’t afford to keep those sluggers out of the lineup but will be hampered by consistent fielding blunders.

Red Sox Insider Pours Cold Water On Justin Turner Reunion Next Season

The Red Sox currently have -53 outs above average according to Baseball Savant. That total is more than twice as bad as the second-worst defense team, the Cincinnati Reds with -22. To say that Boston has a poor defense would be unstating how historically bad they are across every metric.

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Turner’s bat is not only highly productive but the team badly needs right-handed slugging to balance out the lineup. He’s hitting .289 with 46 extra-base hits including 20 home runs, 83 RBIs and a .843 OPS in 115 games this season. He’s also been a noted leader in the clubhouse.

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Boston can’t afford to lose Turner’s bat or presence — but it also cannot afford to keep running out the worst defense in the league. The Red Sox also cannot bank on a resurgent season for Devers in 2024 or a breakout defensive season for Casas.

 

 

Red Sox Insider Pours Cold Water On Justin Turner Reunion Next Season

The Red Sox might have to make some notable changes elsewhere to keep the middle of their lineup in order — likely having to acquire some Gold-Glove caliber players to surround them just to stay afloat. A full season of Trevor Story at shortstop next season would help immensely.

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