Chicago Cubs have a chance to correct this mistake from last off-season

Boston Red Sox infielder Justin Turner declined his 2024 player option and became a free agent that the Chicago Cubs should target.

Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox
Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

Last off-season, the Chicago Cubs needed a first baseman and third baseman and there was an argument to be made that the team should have pursued Justin Turner.

The Cubs never had reported interest in Turner as the former Los Angeles Dodger signed a two-year deal with the Boston Red Sox. Turner's second season on his deal with the Red Sox was a $13.4 player option and the former Cub killer declined the option on Friday.

Despite approaching 40, Turner showed no signs of slowing down offensively with the Red Sox last season. In 626 plate appearances with the Red Sox in 2023, Turner slashed .276/.345/.455 with 23 home runs and wRC+ of 114.

Among the biggest needs that the Cubs will have this off-season are answers at first and third base while also addressing their need for power. While the Cubs will have an interest in bringing Cody Bellinger back on a long-term deal with the idea that Bellinger could play first base while Pete Crow-Armstrong takes over in center field, the 2023 National League Comeback Player of the Year is in a position to be one of the most sought after free agents this winter.

The band-aid approach that the Cubs took last off-season to address their need at first base and third base is not the same approach that the team should take this off-season. The Cubs were banking on a change of scenery providing a resurgence to the flailing careers of Eric Hosmer and Trey Mancini. The Cubs need to find consistency at each position and Turner would be an ideal fit for a team that is looking to add offense this off-season.

It's also likely that given his age, Turner likely will accept a short-term deal with a high AAV. That seemingly is the free agent deal that Cubs' president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer prefers to make.

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