Tag Archive | "Trade Deadline"

Morneau

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Trade Deadline: 3 Options for the O’s at DH

Posted on 30 July 2013 by benheck

Major League Baseball’s July 31 trade deadline is fast approaching, and the Baltimore Orioles (58-48) don’t appear to be done dealing just yet.

With rumors swirling, there’s no question the third place Orioles are looking for a proven veteran to fill the designated hitter slot down the stretch and there are a couple of options open to Buck Showalter’s squad.

Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins

Though the O’s appear to have to given up on Morneau over the last few days, it would still be an interesting move to bring in the left-handed hitter. Three seasons removed from his last All-Star appearance, Morneau has battled injuries over the last few seasons and has seen his power drop considerably. But that doesn’t mean the 32-year old doesn’t still have veteran leadership and a decent bat (.264 BA, 53 runs batted in) to bring to the table in Baltimore. They wouldn’t have to invest long-term in him, and he would help solidify the lineup spot down the stretch. At this point, however, he appears to be a long-shot.

Marlon Byrd, New York Mets

The Mets’ CF is hitting .280 with 17 homers and 60 RBIs this season at the age of 35. But if dealt for before tomorrow’s deadline, he’ll likely be coming off the bench or filling the DH role because of an already stacked outfield consisting of McLouth, Jones and Markakis. The O’s have shown interest in Byrd, but the Mets––according to the NY Dailey News––say he’s “highly unlikely” to be traded. But that doesn’t mean the Mets will turn down every offer they are given. The Mets are 12.5 games back in the NL East, so you’d think they would be open to trading an aging outfielder for promising young prospects.

Michael Young, Philadelphia Phillies

Young always seems to be in the middle of trade deadline rumors each season. Though Baltimore hasn’t made a huge push for Young, the 36-year old former All-Star could really give this lineup a boost. Another unlikely move, but it would surely make sense for GM Dan Duquette to make a move for the veteran, wouldn’t it? He’s a buy-low type of player and is a very versatile utility guy. He’d fit in as the every-day designated hitter, but could also sub in and out at virtually any infield position when Machado or Roberts need an off-day.

It’s still unknown whether or not the Orioles organization will make a move for a full-time DH, or just keep going with the DH carousel they have now. One thing is for certain: it wouldn’t hurt to have a solidified lineup by making a move for a full-time DH. The O’s have used seven different designated hitters during the month of July alone. We know Buck likes to switch things up and keep the opponent guessing, but for a late playoff run it may be nice to have one go-to guy for the spot.

And there’s certainly no shortage of proven, veteran designated hitters on the market.

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Orioles: Now or Never or Not Yet?

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Orioles: Now or Never or Not Yet?

Posted on 30 July 2013 by Thyrl Nelson

 

Last year was a special one for Orioles fans but it’s over now and (hopefully) never to be duplicated. Devoid of any expectations, when the Orioles poked their heads up and into contention it became a season to remember, and for long suffering fans of the franchise it became impossible to not enjoy; it was impossible to not get swept away in the “just happy to be here” mentality.

When things were going well we pinched ourselves trying to make sure it was real. When things went badly we reminded ourselves that our frustration sure beat the indifference we’d grown accustomed to feeling through 14 futile seasons. When the media failed to buy in and attributed the team’s fortunes to luck we stood in defiance. And on top of all of that, we acknowledged that the Orioles appeared to be ahead of their “window”. In addition to the success we were enjoying in 2012, the future, built around names like Machado and Bundy and Schoop and Gausman gave the hint of being even brighter.

What a difference a year can make. As the trade deadline approaches for a team and a fan base now “accustomed” to winning, excitement has turned to expectation, hope has become hype and the future, it seems, is now.

Even however, while enjoying the fruits of this team’s success, it’s tough not to question exactly how they got here. After 14 years has the worm truly turned? Is this franchise now in capable hands to continue this success? Or have they simply stumbled into a window of likely fleeting success?

After all, to say that some of the Orioles’ on hand talent has exceeded reasonable expectations would be a gigantic understatement. The AL East is as eminently winnable is it’s been in recent memory and it won’t likely stay that way for long. And if the 14 years that led us to this point have taught is anything, it’s that once this window is closed, it may not open again for a very long time.

To their credit, the Orioles appear to be close to all in. For those still looking toward the future it may be as close to all in as we’d like to see them get. While we’ve spent the ten years at least clamoring for the team to spend more money, there’s a legitimate case to be made that outspending everyone else is no longer the path to MLB success. Some of baseball’s lowest salaried teams are not only enjoying success, but appear to be poised to sustain it. Meanwhile most of baseball’s upper class may be looking at years of paying out bad contracts with little or nothing to show in return. And, oh by the way, it’s impossible not to notice the number of bright, young MLB stars in the making that are the byproducts of other teams recent forays at going all in and are now playing elsewhere.

So far it seems that the Orioles have shown a willingness to trade away some prospects, as long as they don’t have to pay real money for the players they’re getting in return. It seems like a sound strategy, especially with a roster loaded with young players whom they’ll have to up the ante for this off-season and beyond.

You’d have to guess that if they’re really considering trading Dylan Bundy as some have suggested, it’ll likely to get a highly paid player, while also getting his team to pay a sizable portion of that high salary. Timing alone suggests that it’s not the optimal time to trade Bundy; that time was last year. In fairness, that time might be never; only time will truly tell.

The only thing that’s certain is that as fans we’ll always be able to rely on hindsight; and that any move that doesn’t end in a World Series win will be seen as the wrong one. It’s a tough standard to live up to. It’s the unfortunate part of success. Are the Orioles best served to open the “window” as wide as possible now, or pace themselves in an effort to keep it open for longer? There’s no wrong answer…yet.

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jason hammel

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Jason Hammel, Smoke In Mirrors?

Posted on 24 July 2013 by timjones60

How often does a team’s number one starter fall so far into the rotation that they are now that same teams number five. Not often but with the Orioles, it seems as if it’s almost an annual occurrence. Jake Arrieta, 2012’s opening day starter was projected to be the ace of the Orioles rotation in the 2012 season, but he was cursed by lack luster performances in which he was jettisoned out of the rotation to the bullpen and even bounced back and forth between Norfolk and the major league club. Now the Orioles seem to be in a similar boat with Jason Hammel.

Hammel is 7-7 after last night’s 3-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals. And as the 2013 season keeps moving along, it seems more and more that Jason Hammel is not the pitcher that we the Orioles faithful might have thought he was. After he went 8-6 in an injury plagued season, he showed signs of hope that the Orioles finally had their front of the line starter. He logged a career low 3.43 ERA last season and even had a complete game shutout. Now that Hammel has started 20 games this season (the same number of games he started last year) his numbers are inflated. Keep in mind he has only pitched one third of an inning less this season than last season, so the wear and tear on his arm isn’t all that different than where it was last season.

Hitters are clearly seeing the ball better against him with his hits up by 30 hits, he’s given up 23 more earned runs, and his strike outs are down dramatically. So maybe his numbers of 2012 were an aberration. His track record sure points to it.

With the impending trade deadline also around the corner, Hammel’s job may be on the line. The Orioles are still actively involved on the trade front even after making a splash by acquiring Scott Feldman and Francisco Rodriguez. Multiple reports have the birds interested in some of the Houston Astros starting pitchers including Bud Norris and yes Erik Bedard. If the Orioles make a move for either pitcher, I would not be surprised to see Jason Hammel be a piece in that trade, or be pushed back into the bullpen to accommodate the new starter. Either way, Jason Hammel is not who we thought he was.

Follow me on twitter @tacotim3

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Your Monday Reality Check: If not now, when?

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Your Monday Reality Check: If not now, when?

Posted on 30 July 2012 by Glenn Clark

The good news is that no matter what happens before 4pm Tuesday, I won’t have to wear a Hooters outfit anywhere.

That’s good news for all of us.

If the Baltimore Orioles had made a trade “of significance” before our WNST Baltimore Sports Media Superstar finals last week at Hooters, I had pledged to don the whole garb. I was going to show up to the event in the white tank top (with padding), orange booty shorts and tights. (I had a listener ask if I had also agreed to wax, and I said I had. Looking back, I have no idea why I said that.)

Thankfully, the acquisition of INF Omar Quintanilla (even after getting three quarters of the way to hitting for the cycle Sunday) could not be argued as “significant” by much of anyone.

Don’t get the wrong idea. This wasn’t some sort of fetish. I had ZERO interest in donning tights…unless I was given an offer to replace Christian Bale in the next Batman installment. But truth be told I would have happily squeezed into the shorts if it meant Josh Johnson had been pitching against the Oakland Athletics this weekend instead of the San Diego Padres.

Following Sunday’s win over the A’s, the Birds have gone 8-9 since the All-Star Break. They’ve lost 22 of the last 36 games they’ve played overall, but they’re still 53-49 overall and just two games back in the AL Wild Card race.

Quick, back to the negative. The O’s have a -58 run differential for the season and despite being tied for second place in the AL East, ESPN calculates that they have a 6.2% chance of making the postseason. Despite the statistic being meaningless, I figured I’d pass along that the two teams behind the Orioles in the division (the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox) are given an 18% and 21.9% “POFF” respectively by the Worldwide Leader.

Here we are.

I’ve maintained that there’s little way to explain the success of the 2012 Baltimore Orioles as anything other than “an accident”. It hasn’t happened because GM Dan Duquette put together an overwhelming level of talent on the field before the season. It hasn’t happened because the pitching staff matured to a point where the “cavalry” evoked visions of Palmer, Cuellar, McNally and Dobson in Charm City. It hasn’t happened because the lineup has figured out a way to get the one big hit necessary when given the opportunity. It definitely hasn’t happened because the team has stolen runs with good base running and taken away runs with stellar defense.

The only tangible ways to explain the success of the Baltimore Orioles to this point are a stellar bullpen, sound leadership from Buck Showalter and a surprising amount of power lead by CF Adam Jones.

Despite the fact that pitchers like Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels, Anibal Sanchez, Francisco Liriano and Wandy Rodriguez and capable position players like Ichiro, Hanley Ramirez and Chris Johnson aren’t available anymore, there are plenty of capable players that are.

I do not believe anyone is making smoke and mirrors available however.

(I’ve thought that it would be REALLY funny however if the Birds were to acquire recently demoted Seattle Mariners 1B Justin Smoak and Milwaukee Brewers 3B Aramis Ramirez. Get it? “Smoak and Ramirez?” I’m hilarious.)

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Cost-Effective Options for the O’s at the Deadline

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Cost-Effective Options for the O’s at the Deadline

Posted on 26 July 2012 by Brett Dickinson

With the deadline fastly approaching, the Orioles need to make another couple moves to ensure they continue in the playoff race throughout September. Still clinging to the final Wild Card spot, Baltimore should definitely be buyers this week, especially with a chance to make the playoffs since the Mid-90’s. Duquette already proved he was ready to be active in his deals for Jim Thome and Omar Quintanilla while continuing that philosophy for a young up and coming team.

The farm system isn’t very deep behind Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado; as the should remain untouchable for the betterment of this franchise’s future. But the Orioles do have one major assest all contending teams will be looking for an upgrade; their bullpen is possibly the best in MLB with plenty of depth. They cannot afford to depleit the entire back end of the pitching staff, but have the tools to move a couple guys without depleting the bullpen’s effectiveness.

Everyone that has made their way to Camden Yards this season knows the teams defencies. An upgrade to the back end of their rotation, the corner infield positions and outfield depth all would be welcome additions. Though they will not mortage the future, there are several options they should show interest in at the deadline that are cost effective.

Joe Blanton (SP Philadelphia Phillies): He is an innings eater an a solid fourth option in a rotation. He has plenty of playoff experience and could be a valuable asset to a team in a unique position for the first time in a decade and a half. The Phillies are in desperate need of bullpen help, while willing to unload Blanton because his contract is up after the season.

Ervin Santana (SP Los Angeles Angels): The Angels are another team looking to upgrade the bullpen and while obtaining Santana will cost more than Blanton, he is definitely a more talented player. Los Angeles has a lot of starting pitching depth and may be willing to move Santana to solidfy the 7th, 8th and/or 9th innings.

Allen Craig (UT St. Louis Cardinals): Craig is a guy without a position in St. Louis, making him expendable for another team in need of pitching help. Though he is not an elite defensive player, he can fill in at first or third for the O’s, while adding much needed pop to the lineup.

Placido Polanco (3B Philadelphia Phillies): Another one of the Phillies that may be involved in the fire sale this week. Polanco is no longer the player he once was, but is still great defensively and an upgrade over Baltimore’s current starters. In his last year of his contract, the risk is low while he can add experience to a young lineup.

David DeJesus (OF Chicago Cubs): He has versatility to play all of the outfield positions, as well as add the ability in several different spots in the lineup. DeJesus will cost a couple minor leaguers but none of top end value. He adds speed to the line-up, while solidifying the open door in left field.

Gaby Sanchez (1B Miami Marlins): The Marlins have already begun trading off parts and Sanchez may be the next to go. They have no room for him on the big league roster, with Carlos Lee and Logan Morrison, already in place in first base, making him relatively cheap to acquire. Even though he is having a down year, last year’s 19 HR performance and team friendly contract, are enough to take a flier on.

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Improving the Orioles Without Trading

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Improving the Orioles Without Trading

Posted on 12 July 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

The improbable success of the Orioles in the first half of 2012 has the team in a precarious position as they prepare for the back end of the schedule. After 14 years of futility, the playoffs are a possibility and the city is feeling cautious optimism, which is still a far cry from euphoria, but a refreshing change from the gloom and doom that’s defined the club for as long as most can remember. Therein lies the rub.

The O’s success is encouraging enough to lead fans to contemplate the team taking the next step toward contention and adding some talent for the stretch run. The AL East is as up for grabs as it’s been in years, and safe money says that won’t last long. And the O’s while successful so far, haven’t exactly done much to suggest they’ll sustain this success for the long term, or even for the remainder of the season. There are encouraging talents in the minor leagues who could be big parts of a suddenly brighter future, or prospects who could be parlayed into major league talent now, while the iron is hot, in an effort to at least put a bookend on the Orioles’ 14-year playoff drought. The fans are divided (no surprise there), and the O’s won’t be able to please them all.

 

While the addition of talent is encouraging, and certainly good fodder for talk radio, the likelihood that the O’s will stand pat is real. So let’s instead look at some ways that they could be better without adding any players, but by simply putting the talent at hand to better use.

 

The Joe Maddon style of management is in full effect this season in the AL East as a number of teams, either by design or necessity, have taken to shaking up their lineups in an effort to capitalize on hot streaks, stimulate slumping bats, and force their players to compete with each other in a true meritocracy. Here are a few suggestions on how the O’s could improve theirs.

 

First they need to do some self-scouting. The Orioles are not a team that manufactures runs. They don’t bunt, they don’t steal bases, and their offense is driven by homeruns. They don’t have a true leadoff hitter, and based on the aforementioned, they don’t really need one. The Orioles most productive hitter overall also happens to be their most likely to swap a base. The Orioles should be batting Adam Jones leadoff. If Jones is the O’s best bat, the Orioles need to get him to the plate as often as possible, Batting him in the leadoff spot insures it. It also allows the O’s to put their less productive singles hitters at the bottom of the order and hope to have Jones knocking them in, in innings after the first.

 

I put up some numbers the other day, ranking the Orioles production per 100 plate appearances. Some of the numbers were rather interesting, including the fact that Mark Reynolds makes less outs than every Oriole except Jim Thome, and that Adam Jones gets approximately .5 bases per trip to the plate (tops on the team by a lot).

 

Reynolds has been disappointing in the power department this season, but his career numbers suggest that a correction is in order. Having Adam Jones on base in front of him, and a productive bat behind him might get Reynolds more fastballs to hit too. Maybe Reynolds in the 2-hole isn’t as silly as it sounds, at least against lefties.

 

Below are my suggestions for the Orioles best lineups vs. left and right-handers, using only the talent available on the Major League roster, based on their production per 100 plate appearances (listed here) and their triple slash splits vs. those pitchers (listed below).

 

Orioles vs. Lefties

 

CF – Adam Jones (294/322/471)

1B – Mark Reynolds (240/377/380)

C – Matt Wieters (384/444/575)

DH – Chris Davis (316/328/526)

SS – JJ Hardy (298/337/452)

RF – Nick Markakis (231/322/385)

LF – Steve Pearce (310/344/690)

3B – Steve Tolleson (250/325/472)

2B – Robert Andino (227/275/347)

 

Orioles vs. Righties

 

CF – Adam Jones (287/332/555)

RF – Nick Markakis (265/337/476)

1B – Chris Davis (258/311/459)

3B – Wilson Betemit (288/344/497)

DH – Jim Thome (258/361/587) or Mark Reynolds (196/320/385)

C – Matt Wieters (200/287/381)

SS – JJ Hardy (201/239/357)

2B – Robert Andino (233/300/307)

LF – Xavier Avery (257/313/392)

 

 

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Message to Dan Duquette: Stop Slippin, Start Callin

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Message to Dan Duquette: Stop Slippin, Start Callin

Posted on 02 July 2012 by Big Chee

Not sure how many of you out there reading this article would consider yourselves DMX fans, but when I think of the Orioles right now, losers of 5 of their last 6 games, I can’t help but keep thinking about the song “Slippin” he had out back in the 90s. The chorus starts off with the line “I’m slippin, I’m fallin, I can’t get up.” As far as Baltimore in the AL East Standings, this song sure sounds fitting. A month ago, the Orioles were first place, riding a wave of optimism. Jason Hammel was 6-2 with a 3.06 ERA. Rewind a month and a half ago, and Nick Markakis still had both of his arms in tact.  Don’t get me wrong; the O’s have plenty to feel good about heading into the All Star Break. Pending they do not lose all seven games out on the West Coast, the O’s will finish with a record above .500 for the first half of the season. That’s not too bad in arguably the toughest division in baseball year in and year out.

 However, it’s not good enough. This team has given the fans in this city a taste of success, and the last thing people want to see is management taking their foot off the gas because they do not believe that they should trade prospects to win now. And to win now, make a move now. Do not wait until the trade deadline on July 29th to make a move, by then this team could easily fall back to mediocrity and pave the way for Ravens preseason talk to dominate the airwaves before August begins. There should be no All-Star “Break” for Dan Duquette, he needs to keep this team in contention before it is too late.

Now, I am not suggesting the Orioles get crazy and give up the house for Zach Greinke, the unheralded best starting pitcher at the deadline. The Brewers will want the house for a guy who will hit the Free Agent market after the season and command top dollars. Leave that to your neighbors to the north in the Bronx to make that move. The other name mentioned as a possible back of the rotation starter is Francisco Liriano of Minnesota. Let me give you real world business guys a scenario before you consider him a good move. A kid comes out of college at 23, cannot find a job in this tough economy so he decides to sell cars. He comes in fired up out of the gate and crushes his numbers, he clearly has talent. Six years later, you can still see the talent; he cannot seem to push those cars out the door like he once did. That is what I think of with Liriano. He burst onto the scene in 2006, going 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA and 144 strikeouts. Now, the strikeouts are still there (70 strikeouts through 12 starts), but his ERA is over 5 and his record is 2-7. Plus, he reminds me too much of Daniel Cabrera. Remember that name, O’s fans? Sorry I am sure you would like to forget some of his atrocious outings.

Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reported a couple of weeks back that the Cubs are looking to move Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano. Dempster is their most attractive piece, even at 35 years old. He is spotting a 2.11 ERA through 12 games started this season. The Cubs are so desperately trying to ship out Soriano, rumor has it that they would be willing to pay 90% of his salary to the team who takes him.

If I am Dan Duquette, I am calling Theo Epstein and I am trying to bring the veteran Dempster along with Soriano to Baltimore. To me, the trade makes sense on so many levels for the O’s. First and foremost, the O’s lack a veteran, durable presence in their rotation. Forget about the fact that Dempster is currently on the 15-day DL with Right Lat tightness, he will be back right after the Break. Since he underwent Tommy John Surgery in 2003, Dempster has been a rock in both the Cubs bullpen and starting rotation. Thus far in 2012, Dempster has spotted a 2.11 ERA in 12 starts, compared to Matt Garza who is more expensive and has a 4.01 ERA. Plus, Dempster at 35 would be the oldest pitcher on the O’s rotation, and that is by no means a bad thing. Who better for the 26 year old of the rotation, Wei-Yin Chen and Jake Arietta to learn from than the described laid back Dempster? I mean come on, the guy told the Arizona media in 2007 if that if his career were to tumble, he planned on taking up ninja training. How cool is that?

As far as Soriano is concerned, even if you are a casual baseball fan, you probably know his career has been in a steady decline since the Yanks shipped him out for A-Rod back in 2004. But if the Cubs really would pay 90% of his salary, would it kill you to have him as your 4th Outfielder? He is a seven time All Star and two-time World Series Champ, it cannot hurt having a guy who has been in a winning atmosphere in your clubhouse.

For the sake of this article, I won’t dive in too deep to the O’s prospects they would look to ship out to acquire this package deal. I will leave it up to the Front Office to make those decisions. One thing would be evident: the O’s would not have to risk trading potential significant prospects for the future to acquire 35 and 36 year old veterans. However, they need to make some sort of moves if they want to continue this phrase I have heard thrown out this year called “Orioles Magic.”

I believe the next verse of the chorus of the song “Slippin” by DMX goes something like this: “Ay yo I’m slippin’ I’m fallin’ I gots to get up, Get me back on my feet so I can tear sh*t up!” If Dan Duquette does in fact share the same enjoyment from rap music as I do, he should listen to this song and get the O’s back on their feet by calling Epstein not at the trade deadline, but right now.

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Orioles add Thome to bolster struggling offense

Posted on 01 July 2012 by jasonbaier

On Saturday the Orioles added veteran slugger Jim Thome to an already potent lineup. The Orioles bats have been asleep here of late. They have been unable to come up with big hits in clutch situations. To say the Orioles bats have been struggling here lately would be putting it mildly. There best hitter during this stretch has been journeyman utility player Wilson Betemit. Betemit’s bat has been decent this year but he is liked a statue playing the infield and he is just down right terrible in the outfield. The Orioles need more than a 40 year old DH to help this team stay in contention. The pitching has been horrible here of late. There best pitcher in Hammel couldn’t even make it out of the fourth inning in his last start.

Although I like the addition of Thome to this lineup, he can not play the field and first and third base are a pressing needs for this team. For the Orioles the stay in contention and be able to compete with such teams as the Yankees, Rangers, Angels, just to name a few, it needs to start with better pitching and timely hitting. Thome will help this lineup but unless the rest of the lineup steps up and produces and the pitching improves, we are going to be talking strictly football in August wonder what went wrong after such a promising beginning. Duquette needs to work out a deal to bring another starting pitcher to Baltimore. We have dealt with enough retreads over the last 15 years, its time to turn the Orioles back into that proud organization they were just 15 years ago. He needs to make a big splash before the trade deadline. Figure out how to get Garza or Hamels to Baltimore to help this rotation and help the Orioles become legitimate once again. Hopefully Thome is just the beginning of what is to come over the next month before the trade deadline on July 31st. Duquette has been a pleasant surprise since coming to Baltimore, lets keep it up and get the Orioles back in the playoffs.

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