Red Sox Rumors: Justin Turner drawing interest from AL East rivals

Aug 22, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter Justin Turner (2) hits an RBI
Aug 22, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter Justin Turner (2) hits an RBI / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox have shown interest with a lot of different players this offseason without finishing the deal.

Now, a lot of other teams, particularly American League East rivals, are interested in many of the same players the Sox have flagged. But the Sox have been reluctant to pull the trigger on signings in recent years. Teams in the division are actively trying to get better and they're leaving Boston in the dust.

It doesn't seem to be stopping, either. The Blue Jays have hovered over the Red Sox interests all offseason, with the most recent among them being fan-favorite Justin Turner, who declined his player option this offseason, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

The infielder/designated hitter turned down his option to play in Boston in 2024 soon after last season ended. A reunion between Turner and the Red Sox never seemed like a serious possibility — Turner is still an impact player heading into his age-39 season, and he'd likely want to play for a competitive team with few years remaining, especially after his quality season in Boston.

Toronto's batting order really needs a left-handed bat, but with many of the best options gone, Turner remains one of the more consistent hitters in the free-agent pool. Despite being a righty, the infielder's presence is coveted as a power bat and as a well-respected veteran of the game.

The Blue Jays were projected to be more successful heading into 2023 than they were when the season ended. Both Matt Champan and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had down years offensively, leading to lower-than-average production at the plate for the Jays. Signing Turner could bring their bats back up and make Toronto more of a threat than they were before.

The Blue Jays have also been interested in Jorge Soler and were believed to be the favorites to land him, so taking an interest in Turner could mean they're diverting their attention from the former Marlin. Toronto won't sign both Turner and Soler, leaving the other one for the Red Sox's taking, if they decide to improve the roster.

Soler or Turner won't propel the Red Sox beyond where they are right now, but either would be a good start in making this team not regret passive decision after passive decision.

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