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Justin Turner finds possible Red Sox comeback ‘fantastic’

Red Sox

Turner has a player option for next season.

Justin Turner enjoyed his first season in Boston, but positional musical chairs could leave him out for 2024. (AP Photo/Julio Cortés)

Justin Turner has proven to be a central piece for the 2023 Red Sox. But that’s far from a guarantee he’ll be on the team next season.

The Red Sox designated hitter and cornerback signed a two-year contract last offseason with a second-season option that still allows him to earn money with the team.

While a big decision awaits Turner, the 38-year-old (who turns 39 in November) is not ready to commit to 2024.

“I’m not even there yet. It’s for the postseason and we’ll find out when that happens,” Turner told reporters about which direction he might lean, via Chris Cotillo of MassLive. “I love playing in Boston and I had a great experience here, so obviously it would be fantastic if I was still here.”

After a relatively quiet opening month in Boston, Turner heated up as spring turned to summer. He hit .306 with a .913 OPS to go with 16 homers and 66 RBIs in 68 games from June to August.

Turner’s hot streak at the plate, particularly in June and July, coincided with the Red Sox’s rise in the standings, as they were just a few games out of the playoffs for much of that streak. But a bone bruise Turner suffered in his heel on July 31 also coincided with Boston’s fall in the standings, struggling in August and September, with Turner hitting .214 in the final month.

Turner took both a glass-half-full and glass-empty approach when evaluating his season.

“I feel like it was good but not good enough, obviously,” Turner said. “The goal is to play in the playoffs and we didn’t get there. It’s disappointing. Unless I hurt my heel in Seattle, missed a few games because of that, and a few games in San Diego earlier this year when my knee was barking, I think I did a good job being available, going out every night and trying to post.”

Although Turner’s bat has been essential to the Red Sox having one of the best offenses in baseball this season (he’s top three on the team in average, OPS, home runs and RBIs among qualified hitters) , Boston may not have room for him next season. . It was assumed that the Red Sox could make Masataka Yoshida their designated hitter more regularly in 2024.

Turner is also being urged to step down. He’ll still make $6.7 million if he declines the $13.4 million option for 2024. With the way Turner has hit this season, it’s easy to think he’ll more than make up the difference between the two numbers.

If Turner enters the final week of his tenure with the Red Sox, he seems to be grateful.

“I loved. It’s been fantastic,” Turner said The Boston Globe Pete Abraham in an interview about his time in Boston. “I love the city, my wife (Kourtney) loves the city. The organization has been truly first class since day one. When I got hit in the face (by a pitch) in spring training, Chaim (Bloom) and Raquel (Ferreira) and Brandon (Henry, the head athletic trainer) were coming to me. at home every day to check on me.

“It’s been great, all the way to the top with John (Henry) and Sam (Kennedy) and Tom (Werner).”


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