Red Sox Fan-Favorite Slugger Wanted To Return For 2024 But Was Told To Move On

Boston could have used the power bat
Sep 5, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA;  Boston Red Sox designated hitter Justin Turner (2) hits a RBI single  against the Tampa Bay Rays during the seventh inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 5, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter Justin Turner (2) hits a RBI single against the Tampa Bay Rays during the seventh inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports / Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
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The Boston Red Sox entered the offseason with measured expectations after an offseason in which the front office and ownership overpromised and underdelivered.

The 40-35 club is playing its best baseball right now due to some young talent developing in front of our eyes, partly due to the lack of offseason additions clearing a path for the aforementioned players to flourish.

While the gamble by Red Sox chief baseball officer Craig Breslow has paid off to some degree this season, there still were some players that fans would have loved to see a reunion with over the winter. At the top of that list was utility man/designated hitter Justin Turner. As has been reported for almost a year, the feelings were mutual.

Unfortunately, Breslow was against the idea of a pure DH in the everyday lineup -- even though there still is one in Masataka Yoshida -- and elected to move on.

"(Coming back to Boston) was a priority pretty much the whole offseason until I got a phone call saying that it's not going to happen, to go look somewhere else and find another team that's going to win a championship was really the messaging," Turner told MassLive's Chris Cotillo on the "Fenway Rundown" podcast.

"I was trying. I was wanting. I was holding out. I was waiting. I had a few conversations with Alex (Cora) throughout free agency. I think he was trying to get me back, but he was also the one who made the phone call and said 'Hey man, don't drag your feet anymore,' which I appreciated a lot, the honesty and upfrontness, not trying to hold out and drag me along. That's something that I respect greatly about him."

Turner said the call from Cora came in late December or early January -- which is when he shifted his focus to finding another potential contender to join. It's notable that Cora wanted Turner back as he was likely just as frustrated as anyone when the lackluster offseason wrapped up. The highly esteemed manager is a free agent at the end of the year and will remember those conflicts when deciding to return or head elsewhere.

Turner hit .276 with 54 extra-base hits including 23 home runs, 96 RBIs and a .800 OPS (115 OPS+) in 146 games for Boston last season.

After a scorching hot start this season, he's now slashing just .238/.331/.371 -- creating a .702 OPS, 98 points below his 2023 campaign.

While Turner's play and leadership warranted an extension, the Red Sox might have dodged a bullet with the 39-year-old's drop in production. With that said, he'd likely have performed better to open the season playing at Fenway Park half of the time.

Turner will always be remembered as one of the best one-year wonders in Red Sox history.

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Scott Neville


Scott Neville covers the Boston Red Sox for Sports Illustrated's new page "Inside The Red Sox." Before starting "Inside The Red Sox", Neville attended Merrimack College, where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Media with a minor in Marketing. Neville spent all four years with Merrimack's radio station WMCK, where he grew as a radio/podcast host and producer.  His propensity for being in front of a microphone eventually expanded to film, where he produced multiple short films alongside his then-roommate and current co-worker Stephen Mottram. On a journey that began as a way to receive easy credits via film classes, he received a call from "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" star Charlie Day. Day advised him to make a feature-length film, which he completed his senior year. While writing the film, Neville completed an internship for United Way as part of their NFL Partnership Program. Neville ran the blog for a team of interns and hosted an internet show called "United Way's NFL Partnership Series" where he interviewed NFL alumni. After college Neville wrote for SB Nation's "Over The Monster," a Red Sox sister site of the flagship brand. His work would eventually lead him to a job as a content producer with NESN, where he would cover all sports. After developing as a writer with the top regional network in the world, he was given the opportunity to join the Sports Illustrated Media Group in his current endeavor as the publisher of "Inside The Red Sox." The successful launch and quick rise of "Inside The Red Sox" led to Neville joining the Baseball Essential ownership group, a national baseball site under SIMG. Follow him on Twitter: @ScottNeville46 Email: