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Justin Turner, Dodgers reportedly ‘progressing’ toward new contract

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Potential 4-year deal for the third baseman

MLB: NLDS-Washington Nationals at Los Angeles Dodgers Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers and Justin Turner appear to be closing in on a reunion, per multiple reports.

A four-year deal makes sense for Turner, who turned 32 the day before Thanksgiving. Back before the offseason began, we examined his potential free agent market and came to the following conclusion:

My guess — and this is just a guess — is that Turner signs for four years and $70 million, with an option of some sort for a fifth year. And the most likely location is back in Los Angeles with the Dodgers.

What is interesting, as the Dodgers close in on Turner and still need to fill holes at second base and closer, is that mentioned in the summary of the new collective bargaining agreement details is that the new competitive balance tax punishments will be “phased in for 2017.”

That was overlooked when we examined the new CBA, thinking the Dodgers would pay a tax of 95% on any amount over $235 million. It is unclear exactly how the new tax penalties will be phased in, though Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports gave an idea.

If the surcharges are still counted when figuring the average, the Dodgers’ tax on payroll over $235 million would be an average of 95% (or perhaps 92.5%) and 50% (the 2016 rate), which is still punitive but 72.5% is easier to swallow than 95%. Plus the tax from $215-235 million in this case would be reduced as well.

That means the Dodgers do have some wiggle room, even after adding Turner. Back on Dec. 1 when we looked at the luxury tax, we figured the Dodgers’ 2017 number, including benefits for all players on the 40-man roster, was roughly $200 million. That was before Rich Hill signed, so add another $16 million to that.

Adding Turner would put the Dodgers in the $230-235 million range, and as we noted the Dodgers have room to still add salaries now, knowing the total payroll will decrease in 2018 (with the salaries of Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Alex Guerrero off the books), and with much more flexibility in 2019 and beyond.

Rosenthal on MLB Network on Monday morning guessed Jansen would decide between the Dodgers, Marlins and Nationals by Tuesday or so.

Jansen was busy getting married this weekend in Curacao, so it is completely understandable that he was a tad preoccupied for a few days. Turner was among Jansen’s teammates there as well.

Might both return this week? We’ll see, but it appears Turner might be the first one back.