Justin Turner is staying in the AL East.
Turner’s contract is for $13 million and can include an additional $1.5 million in roster and performance bonuses, according to MLB Network. Turner recorded a career-high 96 RBI along with a .276 batting average and 23 home runs last season.
Primarily a third baseman over his 15-season career, Turner is expected to be the Blue Jays’ main designated hitter in 2024 and to see time at the corner infield spots as well, per MLB Network. He appeared in 41 games at first base last season, which was his first with Boston.
Turner spent parts of four seasons with the Mets toward the beginning of his career and hit .265 with eight home runs and 86 RBI over 895 plate appearances. After being non-tendered by the Mets in 2013, Turner latched on with the Dodgers, with whom he batted .296 with 156 home runs over nine seasons, earned two All-Star selections and won the 2020 World Series.
Some speculated a Mets reunion made sense this offseason given the team’s void at designated hitter, but those rumors never gained much steam.
Designated hitter remains unsettled for the Mets, who received minimal production from the position last season. They cut Darin Ruf before Opening Day, while Daniel Vogelbach hit .233 with 13 home runs. In November, the Mets non-tendered Vogelbach, who remains a free agent.
Turner’s signing removes one of the top bats from the free-agent market. J.D. Martinez, who hit 33 home runs in an All-Star season with the Dodgers, remains unsigned after Los Angeles added two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani to be its DH.
The top remaining position players include outfielder Cody Bellinger, who was said to be seeking a deal exceeding $200 million after a resurgent season with the Chicago Cubs, and third baseman Mark Chapman, who won his fourth Gold Glove last year with Toronto.
The Cubs and the Giants are considered suitors for Chapman, according to MLB Network.
Turner marks the latest big-name departure from the Red Sox, who earlier traded outfielder Alex Verdugo to the Yankees and starting pitcher Chris Sale to the Atlanta Braves. Lucas Giolito, a 2019 All-Star who pitched to a 4.88 ERA last season, represents their biggest free-agent addition.