A Red Sox Chaim Bloom success story: The signing of Justin Turner

Bringing Justin Turner was a big win for the Red Sox front office.
Oakland Athletics v Boston Red Sox
Oakland Athletics v Boston Red Sox / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

To the more vociferous purveyors of Chaim Bloom's negativity, they would say his best move would be submitting his resignation. Bloom is clearly in the crosshairs with a restless Red Sox Nation looking for someone to take the fall for disappointment. Let's look at the intelligent moves, and I will limit them to one, but that number is certainly not reflective.

The Red Sox had J.D. Martinez slugging away or mostly slugging away for five seasons. Martinez initially boarded the flagship Red Sox with a five-year and $110 million agreement. After the 2022 season disappeared into the dusty history of the team, Martinez resigned himself never to return.

Martinez's last season was not spectacular, but he was not exactly an offensive furball. The righty slugger slashed .274/.341/.448 with 16 home runs and 62 RBI. The 119 wRC+ and 1.0 fWAR were not cost-effective based on his salary, but also not near the slugger's salad years in Boston.

The original deal was engineered by Martinez's agent, the lovable Scott Boros, and the equally endearing Dave Dombrowski, the president of baseball operations. The Red Sox got their money's worth, and Martinez was instrumental in securing a 2018 World Series title. But his staggering through 2022 made Boston seek a slugger elsewhere.

Another aging talent was on the free agent board, Justin Turner of the Dodgers. Eventually, it became a free-agent swap as Martinez signed with The Blue and Turner inked a two-year deal for a few pennies under $22 million.

Turner, in 2022, also mirrored Martinez with his offensive numbers resume. The righty slashed .278/.350/.438 with 13 home runs and 81 RBI. Turner's 123 wRC+ and 2.4 fWAR exceeded that of Martinez, but the risk factor was Tuner's age (38), and some noted slippage from 2021.

Justin Turner had the perfect pedigree of a solid player and clubhouse presence

The separation exists in the defensive side, where Turner has played third, second, and first for the Red Sox with the bulk of his duties as DH. Turner was long a steady performer at third for the Dodgers with a capable glove - no Brooks Robinson, but who is?

The Red Sox are infatuated with defensive versatility, and the addition of Turner was perfect, especially when some first-base reps were in the offering while Triston Casas got his head screwed back on. If Rafael Devers has any 'issues," Turner can be The Man at third—a distinct forward-looking signing.

Defensive versatility needed to be improved with Martinez, who occasionally wandered into the outfield out of necessity. The results did not instill an aura of confidence from a pitcher when a ball went in Martinez's direction. In 2022 Martinez was anchored at DH, and now, for the Dodgers, Martinez has 12 innings in left field while the rest is at DH.

The expansion of the DH created a new potential market for Martinez, who undoubtedly looked at the recently released Nelson Cruz to see if extended baseball longevity could co-exist with that role. A perfect baseball storm for Martinez.

Martinez's deal with the Dodgers is just a one-year signup for $10 Million with no options. The 35-year-old has certainly earned his keep in LA as Turner has with Boston. As we approach the last game before the All-Star break, Martinez is slashing .255/.303/.570 with 22 bombs and 62 RBI, while Turner is slashing .288/.360/.461 with 13 home runs and 52 RBI. One item of note with J.D. is a career-high 30.3K%.

Bloom could have signed Martinez, but that would have limited roster security. DH by committee is an option to avoid since it is a role that has to have the right fit. Like Cauliflower, the DH is not for everyone. Bloom could have traded off prospects for a DH or gone the BAB (Beat Available Bat) route but did not.

Bloom chose to reject the known in Martinez and sign Turner. The deal put into place a veteran with accomplished defensive and offensive skills on a budget-friendly contract. Bloom and his squad of boffins did the research and were correct.