Justin Turner is the Unofficial Captain of the 2023 Boston Red Sox

Justin Turner
Justin Turner / Paul Rutherford/GettyImages

In a one-on-one interview with WBZ's Dan Roche, Chaim Bloom shared his thoughts on the Red Sox lineup. "I think this is a team that grinds, and it's going to be a fun team," he said. "At our best, we're going to grind every at-bat. We're going to make you work, throw strikes and put the ball in play."

The description Chaim Bloom gave of the 2023 Red Sox was the opposite of what they were in 2022. Last year's Red Sox lineup was among the best in the American League from a statistical standpoint ranking in the top five in runs, hits, total bases, and OPS in the A.L. However, the 2022 Red Sox had a tendency to be over-aggressive at the plate and not make the pitchers work hard to get out of innings. One of the goals the Red Sox had this winter was to become a more difficult team to play against, similar to their lineups in 2018, 2019, and 2021. 

One of the Red Sox's biggest moves to upgrade their roster this winter was signing Justin Turner to a one-year contract with a 2024 player option. Turner has spent the last nine years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he has been one of the best hitters in the game. A massive reason for Turner's success is his expert knowledge of hitting. In his 20s, Turner was a role player with the New York Mets but transformed into one of baseball's premier sluggers when changing his swing and approach at the plate in 2014 which resulted in eight consecutive seasons with an OPS over .800.

Justin Turner is a tough out in the Red Sox lineup

Red Sox fans should be ecstatic to have Justin Turner on their favorite team. He perfectly encapsulates what the Red Sox offense is trying to accomplish in 2023. He drives the ball to all fields, possesses elite plate discipline, and grinds out at-bats. He has the experience and knowledge of how to make adjustments and put together quality at-bats for 162 games a year. Above all, Turner is a difficult hitter for pitchers to get out, which is the type of player the Red Sox needed more of. 

One of the more shocking developments this offseason was the Red Sox seeking a change of culture in their clubhouse heading in 2023. Outgoing players such as Xander Bogaerts, JD Martinez and Nate Eovaldi have been viewed as important leaders in Boston’s club house. However, it appears the organization felt it was time for a change.

During an appearance on Jomboy Media’s The Chris Rose Rotation Red Sox Shortstop Kiké Hernandez talked about recruiting his friend Justin Turner to Boston.  “ I felt that we needed some guys that were not just good on the field but had the ability to change the culture in the clubhouse. And I know for a fact that’s a guy that can do that.”

2023 is an important year for the Red Sox’s rebuild. They are expecting more from several young players such as Rafael Devers, Alex Verdugo, Tristan Casas and Connor Wong all of whom will likely benefit from the leadership and knowledge Turner possesses. He is the perfect leader for this Red Sox team, as the next generation of Red Sox leaders will learn from him. So for those questioning who the new leader of the Boston Red Sox is, look no further than Justin Turner.

Justin Turner can change the Red Sox culture with his leadership

Former Red Sox pitcher Rich Hill spoke to Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal about what Turner brings to the table in Boston. "He's going to bring a lot to the clubhouse with his leadership and understanding of what it takes to win a championship. You're talking about a guy who hasn't had the smoothest path to the big leagues. So he understands the importance of using your time to make an impact with other players and passing along your knowledge to other guys on the team. That was something I saw on a daily basis in L.A."  

The 2023 Red Sox are a difficult team to predict. A lot needs to go their way for them to be a successful team in 2023. But my feeling is this team has a lot of potential. Their lineup shares more characteristics with the 2021 team than the 2022 club. The best Red Sox offenses are the ones that grind out at-bats and wear down opposing pitchers. This team can do that. Another exciting thing about this team is the amount of young and exciting talent they have, with players like Devers, Casas, Bello, Verdugo, Wong, and Yoshida. More young talent may join the team later this season, players like Emmanuel Valdez, Bryan Mata, and Ceddane Rafaela.

The development of these young players is crucial to Boston's future, but they are in good hands with Justin Turner as their leader. The 2022 Roberto Clemente winner is the ultimate professional, both on and off the field. He may be in the final stretch of his career, but his importance on this team as they rebuild cannot be understated. Turner came to Boston to change how the Red Sox do things in their clubhouse. I believe the impact Turner will make on this team will be noticed for years. He is here for that very purpose. 

The Red Sox are more than capable of contending for a playoff spot this season if things go well with the development of their young players. If they do exceed the expectations surrounding the ball club, Justin Turner's leadership will be a massive reason behind the success.