Mailbag: Draft Picks, Gordon, Girardi, Soriano


I went with short-ish answers this week so I could squeeze in as many questions as possible, but I still only got to six. Remember to use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send us anything, mailbag questions or otherwise.

Missin’ you. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Mark asks: Assuming Brett Gardner is indeed out for the year and that the Yanks’ main AL title competitor, the Rangers, make another big trading deadline splash and acquire either Cole Hamels or Zack Greinke, should the Yanks counter by acquiring a solid hitting left fielder?

Nah, don’t make moves to “answer” another team’s moves. That’s how you end up with a Kei Igawa situation. If the Yankees are able to find a reasonable upgrade for the outfield given Gardner’s surgery, then by all means go for it. What another team — particularly a non-division rival — does is immaterial. Put the best possible team on the field and it doesn’t matter what everyone else does.

Cory asks: One big element missing from the offense this year is speed. Obviously Gardy’s out and his 49 steals from a year ago makes a big difference, but a 36-year-old Alex Rodriguez is the team leader. 38-year-old Jeter is second, and rounding out the top eight are guys with limited action (Jayson Nix, Dewayne Wise, Eduardo Nunez, Gardner), a 40-year-old Ibanez, and Curtis Granderson. Do you expect Cashman to target speed come July 31, or is that an element they can live without this year?

We’re already heard that if they do make a trade to acquire a replacement outfielder, that it would be a speedy center field type similar to Gardner. Overall team speed is the club’s one glaring hole just because there is none of it. They’re very station-to-station but they can live with that because they get guys on base and hit a bunch of extra-base hits. I think they can get by without any speed but it is something that would be nice to have, just to add a different element to the offense and occasionally put some pressure on the pitcher. Like I said, if they find someone reasonable to fill that need, by all means go for it.

Mike asks: Does signing money from competitive lottery picks factor into a team’s bonus pool? Could you see the Yanks sending a prospect to a team in exchange for the pick and the pool money, someone like a Adam Warren or Corban Joseph? Other team gets a prospect near MLB ready and doesn’t have to pay $1M for him, Yankees get the pick and don’t have to lose the prospect in the Rule 5 draft.

Yep, the extra competitive balance lottery picks comes with extra draft pool money and they can be traded. There are a dozen such picks and the Yankees don’t have one because they’re the Yankees. I have no idea how teams will value those picks in a trade but I’d guess they’d value the draft pool money more than the pick itself. Trading a near-MLB ready guy like Warren or CoJo seems like a backwards move given the high attrition rate of draft picks in general. I’d rather use them as part of a package for a piece to help the big league team or just keep them for depth. These competitive lottery picks seem like they would be the second or third piece in any trade, not the headliner.

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Jon asks: A lot has been mentioned about the Royals looking for starting pitching (now and future). Could a package of David Phelps, Brett Marshall, and another lesser prospect get us Alex Gordon?

I don’t think that’s nearly enough. Gordon’s one of the better outfielders in the game even if his power dropped off quite a bit this year, and he’s signed to very reasonable long-term contract ($50M through 2015 with a player option for 2016). As impressive as Phelps has been in the first half, he’s still just mid-to-back-end starter and that’s not enough incentive for Royals. If they’re going to move Gordon, they’ll need a potential impact, number one type guy in return. Just look at what the White Sox gave up to acquire Nick Swisher at a similar point of his career — a potential front-line guy in Gio Gonzalez, another high-end pitching prospect (Fautino DeLoSantos), and a solid outfield prospect (Ryan Sweeney). Gordon obviously makes sense for New York but they would really need to sweeten that pot.

Michael asks: What do you think it would take for Joe Girardi to get fired in the next couple of years? Losing in the ALDS, losing in the wild card round, not making the playoffs, or maybe even just not winning the World Series?

An awful lot. Hal Steinbrenner, Brian Cashman, and the rest of the brain trust hand-picked Girardi for the job so it would take a ton for him to get fired. They’d have to miss the playoffs a few years in a row I believe, and even then he would just be a scapegoat. More than likely, the end of the Girardi era will come when he says he’s had enough and decides to walk away due to burnout or because another team offers a megacontract.

Anonymous asks: Given Rafael Soriano‘s success in Mariano Rivera‘s absence, do you see the front office pushing Cashman to renegotiate a contract and extend him beyond 2013 when this season is over? Despite the tools, something tells me David Robertson won’t be successful as our closer and there’s no telling how Mo will perform coming back from an injury at 43 years of age. Speaking of which, what kind of money will Mo receive next year if he’s healthy?

I really hope they don’t push to re-sign Soriano. If he opts out, say thank you very much and let him walk. That $14M he’s owed next season can go not just towards replacing Soriano with another high-end reliever, but also replacing Swisher in right (or even re-signing him) and maybe even adding various depth pieces. Soriano’s been awesome, better than we could have possibly expected once Mo went down, but he won’t continue pitching at this level because no reliever not named Mariano ever has sustained a performance like this across multiple years. It just doesn’t happen and I wouldn’t expect a 32-year-old with a history of elbow problems to do it.

As for Mo, I think they’ll re-sign him to a one-year deal at similar money to what he’s making now, so $15-16M. I know he’s 43 and coming off knee surgery and all that, but I have a hard time thinking they’ll play hardball with the money. They might hold the line on one-year but I doubt they’d balk at a high salary. It’s just money and Mo’s one of the few players with legitimate high-end marquee value that transcends his on-field value.

Categories : Mailbag


  1. MattG says:

    Is there any speculation Gordon is available? What a terrific fit he would be! I took a look at his fangraphs page, and have to feel the power dip is a complete fluke. 5.2 hr/fb percentage, yet 31 doubles to this point. 31!

    He would probably love YSIII, he’s a dynamite defender in LF (and almost certainly could handle CF in case of injury), good walk rate, OK contract, what more could you want?

    • TheOneWhoKnocks says:

      There’s just been speculation that the Royals would be willing to move one of their young bats for a SP for a while now, they have a lot of great young players on offense but desperately need a pitcher. Kind of the opposite of the Mariners with the Pineda trade.

    • Jonathan says:

      He’s a platoon OFer….last year he had a good year vs LHP and followed it up this year with another bad year. Don’t let the 1 year fool you. He hits righties well, plays a good LF and that’s not even worth his contract. This isn’t a Granderson situation where a lot of evidence has shown him to have solved his LHP issues. look up the numbers..

  2. TheOneWhoKnocks says:

    -I like me some Alex Gordon. Hughes for Gordon please.
    -This season is playing out really well on the Soriano front. He’s pitching at an elite level to keep our bullpen strong and raising his value quite a bit in the process. Would not be surprised to see him opt out, and as huge as he’s been for us this year you just gotta take that salary relief and let him go. We’ll have Rivera, Robertson, Chamberlain, Logan, Aardsma next season and an extra $14m to play with.
    -Would be nice to add some speed, there aren’t a lot of players like Gardner though who play premium defense, are great on the bases and get on base at a high clip. Not easy to replace all that, and Yanks may just have to worry about getting the best production they can without a speed element.
    -Don’t see Girardi getting fired, it would take them missing the playoffs for consecutive seasons and I don’t see that happening. I don’t see him leaving for some mega deal either,The Yankees historically are comfortable paying their managers handsomely and I can’t imagine another team would be able to steal Girardi away, that doesn’t make much sense to me. Girardi will leave when he gets bored or if the team sustains losing, something that doesn’t seem likely given the past 17 years

    • jjyank says:

      Regarding Gordon, I’d imagine it would take much more than Hughes, especially since he only has 1 more year of control left. Can’t imagine the Royals would consider that.

  3. CP says:

    Cory asks: One big element missing from the offense this year is speed. Obviously Gardy’s out and his 49 steals from a year ago makes a big difference, but a 36-year-old Alex Rodriguez is the team leader. 38-year-old Jeter is second, and rounding out the top eight are guys with limited action (Jayson Nix, Dewayne Wise, Eduardo Nunez, Gardner), a 40-year-old Ibanez, and Curtis Granderson. Do you expect Cashman to target speed come July 31, or is that an element they can live without this year?

    Why are their ages at all relevant? Rickey Henderson had 66 stolen bases at age 39, and no one would be complaining if he were leading the team with 40 or so stolen bases now.

    • Because as age increases, speed naturally declines. Just because Ricky, who was the greatest bast stealer of all time, was able to continue swiping bags at such a high rate later in his career doesn’t mean that it’s normal. That’s the exception to the rule.

    • jjyank says:

      True, but I think the point is they may tire easier if they keep up the steals. Rickey Henderson is a Hall of Famer, not really a fair comparison.

    • forensic says:

      You’re comparing the best base-stealer of all time to one guy with lower body injuries that have sapped some speed, a guy who’s never been known as fast, and another guy who has clearly lost a step and doesn’t try to steal often at all anymore.

      It’s not even a close comparison.

      • CP says:

        I’m not comparing them at all. My point is that A-Rods age is irrelevant.

        • jjyank says:

          But it’s not. Older guys tire easier when they steal bases often. Rickey Henderson is an exception, not the rule.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            What evidence do you have for that? It’s not like A-Rod is 65. an 10 SBs is not stealing very often, less than once a week. Sprinting 90 feet once every week and a half in your late 30s…

            Looking at age without the context of production is totally irrelevant and CP is totally right that the problem is that the Yankees don’t steal bases not that the guys who have stolen a few are “old.” (And I’m fine with the speed problem if they’re hitting. It’s about total production.)

            • Ted Nelson says:

              I mean his pre-game warm ups probably do more to tire him out than 10 SBs.

            • jjyank says:

              Guys admit it all the time. Brett Gardner even has said in the past that stealing bases often has worn him out, and he’s not old. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that guys lose both speed and stamina as they age. I can’t believe you’re actually arguing that point.

              Would A-Rod only have 10 steals if he was 26? Or does he only have 10 because he’s lost a step?

              • Ted Nelson says:

                I never argued that point. I said it’s irrelevant to this conversation. You are not reading my points, but reading what you want to read. We’re not comparing the same guy(s) over time, we’re taking a snap shot of one team in one season. If they had the same team steals and their leaders were in their 20s, this would still be just as bad a basestealing team.

                It’s 11 90 yard sprints in several months. Most people who exercise do
                More than that at once. Olympic sprinters must all break down in like one week of training and never walk again. Can’t imagine anyone could even run one mile in one shot at your rate of exhaustion. That is not making ARod tired. He does more running than that in other parts of the game. Gardner had 62 attempts last season, which will probably be like 4x ARod’s this season. Even still I doubt that makes him tired over a season. Baseball players also think wearing a hat inside out makes their teammates hit better, so I would not look to them to assign causation.

                • jjyank says:

                  Yeah, 10 steals is bad regardless. But why is it only 10? Probably because guys like A-Rod are getting older. I am looking at WHY the steal totals are so low, and age is not irrelevant there.

                  You are impossible to argue with, so I’m going to stop now. You should probably look into not picking a fight over the littlest things on a daily basis.

                  • Ted Nelson says:

                    That was not the point made, though. It is not relevant to the original point. You introduced that point. If anything you picked a fight with CP by bringing up an irrelevant point to contradict him.

                    • jjyank says:

                      Isn’t that the point of the reply button? To introduce new points and try to explain causation of why the team leader in steals only has 10? Or should every comment just consist of “I agree” or “I disagree”?

                      Whatever Ted, enjoy your endless nitpicking.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      Attacking me because you can’t admit you were wrong is not going to make you any righter.

                    • jjyank says:

                      You should probably take your own adive more often.

                    • jjyank says:

                      You should probably take your own advice more often.

            • Steve says:

              It’s just common sense. I don’t understand why everything becomes an argument with you. As you get older you get slower. That’s aging, period. It’s not like he said that ARod has a wheezing asthma attack after a steal, he pointed out the patterns of aging that none but the great Ted Nelson could possibly have issue with.

              • Ted Nelson says:

                As I’ve said and CP said… It’s irrelevant to the original point. Notice that I have never argued once that gus don’t lose speed with age. I have actually argued in the past that it’s usually the first thing to go. But no one asked why this team is slower than the same players would have been 10 years ago.

                • Steve says:

                  But it is an issue. The team has limited speed as is and (and I really don’t want to make assumptions with you) it’s pretty well established that by the end of the year wear and tear slows EVERYBODY down, not the least of which are older players. So the team runs little now and since it’s the older players that do the most of it, it can be reasonably assumed that it will get worse as the season goes along.

                  • Ted Nelson says:

                    So every team gets slower, but I should be worried about the Yankees getting slower because it may be marginally worse based on your speculation?

                    • Steve says:

                      Well my speculation and the fact that the best of the lot has a history of lower body injuries coupled with the fact that they’re an older team, yes. But I don’t care what you worry about because if everyone say it’s black, you say it’s white. If everyone said no big deal, you’d be making the same points me and others are.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      If ARod were 30 with a history of lower body injury that would make a difference to you?

                      If all I did was disagree with anyone, I would have just disagreed with CP. use your head a little.

              • Slugger27 says:

                but thats not the point steve. im with CP and ted (wow…) on this one. the SB totals are relevant, but the age of the guys making them arent.

                whether you have a bunch of 25 year olds or 35 year olds making up your SB total, if its low and your team isnt stealing a lot of bases, what difference does it make?

                • Steve says:

                  Well I believe the original point in the article was about team speed not necessarily just stolen bases. As Mike said, and I’m surprised that people have taken a different opinion than him as his word is usually gospel, they’re very station to station. So if you can live with the low stolen bases, you’re still dealing with a slow team. And the fact that as the season goes on the older players are likely to tire first exacerbates the problem. It’s not worth having an argument about, I suppose, but as jjyank says, stamina is an issue, in addition to the fact that the fastest of the bunch has a history of speed sapping injuries.

  4. MBN says:

    Based on the answer about team speed, replacing Gardner sounds like it ill be a Coco Crisp type. Not the greatest guy to get, but far from the worst.


    I don’t even think the yanks would hold the line on 1yr of MO.. They’d probably be estatic if MO re-upped for 2yrs at 32million or something..He was still doing fine this yr, and his arm is gonna get tons of rest over the yr, which could actually give him more in his tank. I think MO’s gonna come back as good as ever next yr, and either go out on top with a monster season, or possibly be forced to play 1more yr, becasue of the success of the 2013 season.. Probably do the Mussina thing though, and retire after going out with monster season..

    • Ethan says:

      I think Mo wants another WS ring. If he does the Mussina thing he’ll retire and then the team will win the WS. Winning a world series just won’t feel right if Mo isn’t closing it out.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I doubt they will sign him for two guaranteed years with $189 looming. That much to Mo would pretty much mean losing Cano or Granderson.

      • NYCSPORTZFAN says:

        At most, ur talking 2yrs for MO, which isn’t to long before hes off the books,and ur almost guranteed results with MO, which makes it just that much easier.. If it were gonna be a 3yr deal or longer, then u worrry.. I still wonder if MO is just hell bent on 1more yr or if getting a taste of what Retirement is gonna be like makes him miss the game.. I think that will also factor in to how MO feels after next yr or going into negotiations this offseason.. Stuff we don’t know..

        I basically feel its tough to say how it’ll go.. I could see MO pitch 2more yrs for the yanks, but it won’t surprise me if he only pitches 1…

    • A.D. says:

      Actually wonder if baseball goes with handshake deals to help AAV. Sign Mo for 4/30, with the feeling he really just wants a 2/15, but gets the same amount guaranteed and it spreads out for the yankees

  6. Rich in NJ says:

    My guess us that Rivera’s base salary will be no more than $10m and it will be a one year deal.

  7. Eddard says:

    My guess is that Mariano returns this season, wins a ring and hangs it up. Soriano pouts but then becomes the closer next year. Jobber in the 7th, Robertson 8th, Soriano 9th. Still a good pen without Mo.

  8. DM says:

    I think the actual opt-out date (I believe it’s at the end of Oct but I’m not sure) for Soriano will be critical for Rivera negotiations. If Soriano stays why give Rivera 15 mil for 1 year — and how other many teams could or would? If that’s the scenario, I think they’ll play harder ball than has been suggested. Since, as bizarre as it sounds, the Yankees have done fine without him — so Rivera might be better off re-signing quickly and quietly for less money.

    • JohnC says:

      They won’t play hard ball with Mo becuase he is Mo. He’ll get what he wants. As for Soriano, if he opts out, Yanks should offer him arbitration, and all they have to di is make him a qualifying offer to get compensation. Same with Swisher. If he opts out, its obviously cause he would want a multi year deal, so he will decline arb.

      • DM says:

        “They won’t play hard ball with Mo becuase he is Mo.”

        That’s what was said before the Jeter negotiations — but they got a lot stickier as Cashman played harder ball with him and his agent. He dared them to test the market. Offering Mo a contract is one thing, but paying him his usual 15 mil/yr after missing most of the season, and after successfully transitioning to another closer without missing too much, is another story. Leverage is leverage — and they’ll have it if Soriano pitches well and stays.

      • MattG says:

        I expect a situation similar to Jeter, in which Mo gets what he wants for 2013, but Cashman gets what the Yankees want for 2014 and beyond. Ergo, $15M next year, $5M player option in 2014.

  9. lordbyron says:

    Bring me Denard Span.

  10. TLVP says:

    Unless Mo comes back this year the team should only give him an incentive heavy 1 year contract. That is not what will happen but taht is what should happen. Closers are not worth that much not even Mo, and especially not a 43 year old closer.

    The Yankees probably won’t do this for fear of a backlash

    If the Yankees tried it Mo should accept that – but he probably won’t

    • NYCSPORTZFAN says:

      See, as for next yr, i don’t feel there is a question, because the guys gonna get exactly what he got this yr, in which he was pitching like MO for the most part, and his last full season he pitched to a sub 2 ERA and had 44saves.. Hes getting the benefit of the doubt that he’ll be the same mo this yr, based on his most recent success and the fact hes never shown signs of AGE being a issue..

      As good as Soriano has been this yr, the yanks have seen plenty of outings where he didn’t exactly close the door easily and we narrowly escaped. MO’s the kinda closer that mostly shuts the door with very little drama and is and has always been the most trusted closer of all time. The yanks have all ready seen Soriano struggle a bit as yankee, and must realize, that they never know when that Soriano returns..

      Mo comes back next yr and pitches to say 35saves 2.25ERA , then how in the world do u not try and get him to come back? It just adds another chapter to the all ready famous book of “MO”.. If there is ever anyone who can come back from this injury at his AGE and pitch just as effectively as ever, then its MO.. I think its gonna take more then the results for Soriano to get teh Yanks to give him a long contract.. They are gonna wanna see something in his pitching that gives em confidence he’s gonnna easily replicate those numbers again, and possibly again.(depending on contract)

  11. JohnC says:

    WOW! Astros and Jays just completed a 10 player trade! Jays get Brandon Lyon, J.A. Happ and another pitcher. Astros get 7 players from Jays

    • Slugger27 says:

      ….and nobody cares….

      • JohnC says:

        You mean nobody has come on to say, “Where was Cashman?”

        • Slugger27 says:

          no, i mean nobody cares. its against the commenting guidelines, and even if it wasnt… everyone on this site has access to and looks at MLBTR. mindlessly posting their news is a waste of time. not to mention, when you start something off with “WOW!” and then the few people on this site who dont regularly check the site go view a trade involving spare parts and minor leaguers, theyre inevitably going to be disappointed and annoyed.

          just sayin.

          • Ted Nelson says:

            This guy is hardly the first to break news in the latest thread, and a mailbag is about as close to an open thread as it gets. Give the guy a break.

            • Slugger27 says:

              This guy is hardly the first to break news in the latest thread

              and its always been annoying, and it will be annoying the next time it happens.

              a mailbag is about as close to an open thread as it gets

              this isnt even yankees news. the players involved arent even fits for the yankees, unless you consider happ a loogy candidate (i dont). this doesnt apply to the yankees even indirectly, unless hes that concerned about the jays making a run at the 2nd WC and happ being a difference maker in a potential playoff matchup (c’mon…)

    • MattG says:

      Wait, the Jays think they are in this?

      What’s the poo-poo platter going the other way?

    • NYCSPORTZFAN says:

      I was actually hoping the Yanks possibly got Jp Arencibia from the Jays.. Hes got pop, and is a righty, which is where we need POP from more then the left side of the plate, and hes only 26, and in his 2nd full season, so if he can up his Avg just alittle, and hit say 250 22 80 on avg for a few yrs, hen ur talking pretty big production from a Catcher, and certainly worth the risk.. Ur buying low on a guy who was a pretty big prospect and has shown power all ready, an is still only 26, so still certainly has time to become a better overall hitter, and is a righty..

      Then if he dosen’t pan out, u will have a cople young catchers to take over , even if we were to trade one for him..

      • Slugger27 says:

        hes not involved in the trade..?

        but still, doubt hes available, and especially not to the yankees (division rivals)

        • NYCSPORTZFAN says:

          Oh!!!lol My bad! I saw J.A in the original post, and just quickly thought of J.P for some reason.. I saw guys like J.A Happ and Brandon Lyon involved and thougt it was a little weak to have a guy like J.P involved, hence why i thoguht we should of been..lol

  12. Jacob says:

    warren,betances,2 other b prospects? Maybe that could work, I would not give up phelps though he seems like the most useful of the triple a trio

  13. Jacob says:

    Scratch that give em manny b

  14. Kosmo says:

    trade for Victorino. Stolen bases go up. He´s a GG OF and he can hit.
    Warren or Mitchell for Vic.

  15. mt says:

    As long as Mo is reasonable ($10-$15 million), I think we will be OK in 2013. Now if he really recovers from his injury and does well in 2013 and then still wants to play in 2014, given Cano/Granderson need for new contracts, that will be something to see.

    In a similar regard, suppose Jeter continues on and actually wants to play in 2014 (continuing chasing Rose, etc. ) and he turns down player option so he can sign another 3 year contract. If he takes player option, worst it can be is the $8 million 2014 player option (assuming no Silver Sluggers or Gold Gloves) – I think many of the $189 million budget assumptions had Jeter at $5 million in 2014 ($51 million total value with an AAV of $17 million would already have been amortized based on the 3 years of $48 million salary in 2011-2013 plus buyout of $3 million so only $5 million would be left in 2014) or it would be allocated at the $8 million player option (never got a good answer whether Jeter counts at 5 million in 2014 or $8 million in 2014 and they retsate past years). Whether he were to count at $5 million or $8 million, Yanks certainly do not want to pay Jeter $10-$15 million AAV at that age in 2014-2016 – but Jeter is stubborn and if he is still hitting ,he will want to play but not just take the one year player option. He also will know he has marketing value to Yanks.

    That will rival Jeremy Lin contract death march.

    • Need Pitching (and maybe hitting too) says:

      Jeter might actually count for close to $14M if he picks up his player option in 2014. Player option years (as well as player opt out years) are normally treated as guaranteed years for luxury tax purposes, which in Jeter’s case, would make his contract 4/56M (14M AAV – slightly less because some of the money is deferred without interest, so about 13.9M AAV) for luxury tax purposes. There are two exceptions to that rule however. One definitely does not apply to Jeter, the other probably doesn’t, but it’s rather convoluted and you’d need to know the exact details of Jeter’s contract to find out if it would apply.

      If Jeter’s option counts as a guaranteed year for luxury tax purposes (the most likely scenario, imo, it appears his contract would count for about 13.9M if he picks up his option in 2014.

      If the second exception to the rule does apply to Jeter, his option would essentially be treated the same as a team option for luxury tax purposes, in which case he would count officially for 8M, but the Yankees would have the option to deduct the 3M buyout amount that would have been already prorated over the first 3 years from the 2014 luxury tax payroll, in which case Jeter would count for a net amount of $5M.

  16. Darren says:

    Can we look ahead to the playoffs (and knock on wood that everything continues to go well and we make it)?

    Is there anything we can do now to guard against another ALDS disaster where we don’t hit? Is that where speed comes in? I don’t think it matters because Girardi is unlikely to try and change anything up. He’s rather go down with the ship and have Tex and ARod pop the Yanks into offseason oblivion than do anything really gutsy.

  17. FIn says:

    I see alot of people saying Hughes doesnt have much trade value because hes going to be a FA after next year. Does that really affect Hughes trade value a ton? Hes not in line for a huge payday. If a team wanted to trade for him and sign him for an additional 3 years, I wouldnt think it would cost them much more than he is making now. I could see Hughes having very nice trade value for a playoff contender in need of pitching. He could help this year and next, and if the team likes what they see, they can extend him for minimal money. I mean I cant see him landing Alex Gordon on his own, but he could be a piece. Hughes wont be too expensive for a team like KC to sign/extend if they happen to like him.

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