2. Justin Turner
“These guys are just like the Leafs,” is a common refrain every time the Jays fall flat on their face. Whether from self-deprecating fans of the Buds, or Leafs haters who cannot resist poking a long-festering wound, it’s hard not to automatically equate the failure of one Toronto team with the one who hasn’t gone all the way since the 1960s.
If there is one thing that stands out about the Leafs of recent times, aside from their playoff performances of course, it is their undying love for big names who are well past their prime – from Jumbo Joe to Wayne Simmonds, to Jason Spezza and Patrick Marleau, and beyond. For the Blue Jays, Justin Turner provides the opportunity to make the same kind of mistake.
It’s not that Turner is awful. In fact, he had a very solid 2023, putting up a slash line of .276/.345/.800 for the last place Red Sox. But look closer. Turner’s OPS+ has declined every single (full) season since 2018, while his exit velocity, hard hit %, and barrel % have cratered dramatically since 2020.
This is no longer the star who led the Dodgers to division title after division title all those years ago, his long hair flowing in the breeze as he chased batting titles and earned MVP votes. What’s left today is merely a player whose name far exceeds his performance.
To sign Turner after so narrowly missing out on the biggest names on the market would begin to border on dishonesty, a shiny name to dangle in front of fans who don’t realize the name isn’t so shiny anymore.
So, what do you think? Which free agents should the Blue Jays sign? And more importantly, which free agents will they sign? Let me know on the platform formerly known as Twitter – @WriteFieldDeep.