MLB rumors: Justin Turner nearing decision, Red Sox eye bounce-back candidate, former All-Star could retire



January is coming to a close, and soon so will Major League Baseball‘s offseason. You wouldn’t know it based on how indifferently teams have behaved lately, as four of the top 10 free agents (Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman, Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery) remain unsigned. There haven’t even been many rumors regarding them. You figure that should change soon. Why not today? With that in mind, let’s get into the news, moves, and rumors for Monday. 

Turner decision coming soon?

Veteran DH Justin Turner is “increasingly likely” to join a new club this week, according to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. It’s unclear what teams remain in the running for Turner, but he’s been linked to several throughout the course of the offseason, including the Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, and Mets. (The Diamondbacks have since signed Joc Pederson, suggesting they’re out.)

Turner was ranked by CBS Sports as the 21st-best free agent available this winter. Here’s what we wrote at the time:

At this point in Turner’s career, it’s safe to write him off as a factor both defensively and on the basepaths. That’s OK because he remains a force at the plate. Turner is highly adept at making contact and commanding the zone, and he’s clearly still capable of burning mistakes. Age- and health-related caveats apply, but Turner showed no problems with velocity — and it wasn’t because he cheated and left himself vulnerable to offspeed and secondary offerings. If he wants to keep playing, he should find a welcoming home somewhere as a designated hitter and occasional first baseman.

Crawford drawing interest

Longtime Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford has caught the eye of several teams this winter, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Crawford, a three-time All-Star, is evidently openminded about changing positions given the right situation, though he’s also willing to retire if he doesn’t find the right fit.

Crawford, 37 as of last week, had a career-worst showing at the plate in 2023. He hit .194/.273/.314 (63 OPS+) with seven home runs and three stolen bases. Despite Crawford’s offensive struggles, he still proved to be a capable defender. He ranked in the 90th percentile in Outs Above Average, per Statcast.

Red Sox interested in Cooper

If the Red Sox fail to re-sign Adam Duvall, they could turn to Garrett Cooper as a Plan B, according to Chris Cotillo of MassLive. Cooper doesn’t have as much defensive versatility as Duvall, but he does have experience at both first base and in the corner outfield.

CBS Sports recently highlighted Cooper as a solid candidate to have a bounce-back season:

You might think that we’d be out on this one. After all, Cooper is a 33-year-old right-right first baseman coming off a subpar season in which he swung and missed more than usual. Yet we do think there’s evidence that he’s in for a better 2024. His ball-tracking data, specifically his share of batted balls that had an exit velocity of 95 mph or higher and a launch angle between 10 and 30 degrees, put him in the vicinity of Luis Robert Jr., Jorge Polanco, and Zack Gelof, among others. In other words, batters who had more productive seasons. Cooper certainly wouldn’t be the first of his kind to flame out before he reaches his mid-30s. We just think he deserves the opportunity to prove that he has more in the tank before we’ll write him as such.

The Red Sox have been rumored to seeking a corner bat with power all winter.





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