Feb
20

Matthews: Hal appears ready to ditch $189M payroll mandate

By

Via Wally Matthews: Hal Steinbrenner appears ready to ditch his plan to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold by next season. “This is the first time since George died that it appears a Steinbrenner is actually running the Yankees,” said a source. I feel obligated to warn you that nothing is set in stone and this report is speculation more than anything.

Hal was “freaked out” by the negative response to the team’s plan to cut payroll according to Matthews, and it didn’t hurt that the savings are likely to be less than anticipated. I guess it’s possible season ticket sales were lower than expected as well. Earlier today we heard the team informed Scott Boras they are willing to discuss a “significant” contract for Robinson Cano, which may have been the first sign that the 2014 payroll plan is crumbling. If it is, then fran-freaking-tastic. I’ll believe it when I see it though.

Categories : Asides

108 Comments»

  1. Bob Buttons says:

    ITS A MIRACLE! Praise the non-specific denomination!! In non-specific denomination we trust!

  2. Dalek Jeter says:

    I still think signing Cano for anything more than 6 years is a mistake, but if the 189 mandate is truly off the table, shit pay him 30 a year for those six!!

  3. David says:

    Way to go Hal, or should we say Boss, Jr.!

  4. Winter says:

    Honestly, if the $189MM plan is going out the window, why couldn’t this have happened earlier in the offseason? Little point in changing policy after they let every useful player sign somewhere else because they insisted on one year deals.

    • BronxBomber98 says:

      I was just thinking the same thing. The only player that’s left for more than a few million is Lohse. They already lost Swisher and Martin and have horrible catchers because of it.

      • Steve (different one) says:

        Martin is an annoying casualty, but I think there were legitimate baseball reasons for not buying Swisher’s 32-36 seasons as much as I loved the guy.

        • MANNYGEEE says:

          While I agree in Swisher, Martin is more than an annoying casualty…that is, in fact, a shortsighted play to short change a guy who was by all accounts a proper fit and a good price (assuming he was truly a casualty of the $189)…

          • BronxBomber98 says:

            While I agree that Swisher from 32-36 is not prime years, his salary is not crazy high. 14 Million a year for a consistent player in RF who will hit about 25 home runs, 80+ RBIs and is known to get on base is not a bad deal, especially considering how the market was this year. Just look at how much B.J. Upton got and his OBP was under .300 last season. (Disclaimer, if he lives up to his potential now that his brother is on his team then he will obviously be worth his paycheck, but the way he’s played in the past shows he should have got less than Swisher this year).

            • GT Yankee says:

              Respectfully I do understand about the production thing, but how many players in their mid to late 30′s do you lock up long term? Already paying A-Rod for years, probably Jeter after this year. If you lock up Cano, then you’ll also being paying Tex and C.C. well past their prime years. I was very okay with their letting Swish walk even though I appreciate the “looseness” he brought into the clubhouse culture.

              • BronxBomber98 says:

                I understand completely what you are saying, having too many guys to on the wrong side of 30 is a horrible idea (and reality, unfortunately). I would be completely fine with Swisher leaving if they acquired someone that could match his production, but replacing a 32 year old outfielder with a 39 year old on a two year deal, along with the loss of homeruns, is a major downgrade. Had they actually acquired someone who could replace or even improve on Swisher’s production (it bothers me just how cheaply the Reds retained Ludwick, he would’ve made a lot of sense and they probably could have had him for 20 million over 2 years). Either way they downgraded this winter and replacing Swisher with an older Ichiro(!) just doesn’t make sense. And for the record, I’ll be the first to admit I was never the biggest fan of Martin, but that’s a lot more production than they will get from their back-up parade they have going on in Tampa.

            • Herby says:

              Swisher was never a casualty of payroll though, he was never going to be coming back at the price he was going to command, why pay the money when they think they’ve got a viable replacement coming along a year down the road.

    • Govin says:

      No fear Winter there weren’t that many free agents this year anyway.

    • Nathan says:

      I know, right?

      A little late to say “Oh, OK…we’ll spend like we’re the Yankees”.

      I have to say, what sets the Yankees apart from other teams and what is their competitive advantage: MONEY. By NOT spending the money, they are simply not using their advantage.

  5. Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

    Makes sense. Seems like everything would have to go right for them to achieve the dual goals of being a championship contender and being under $189M for 2014. So far, a lot has gone wrong on that path – injuries to Pineda and Banuelos, ARod’s major injury and continued decline, Tex’s continued decline.
    Seems like the Yankees fielding a non-contender, or even a team perceived to be a non-contender by the majority of fans, could result in revenue drop offs and alienation of fans significant enough to outweigh the financial gains of getting under the cap.
    It would make more sense to wait until they have multiple young/cheap players ready to make a significant impact before embarking on this plan. For example, waiting until internal options are better than available free agent options.

  6. RobA says:

    What’s a “Wally Matthews”?

  7. turd surfer says:

    Does this mean that the people singing the praises of the $189 million plan will trash this? Or will they flip flop like Hal?

  8. Anthony says:

    This blog (well at least the comments section) is gonna get a lot less entertaining if its true :( but woo!

  9. Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

    Reading the article, this seems like more of a jump to conclusions type scenario though. Seems like he’s basing the idea that they are giving up on $189M on the Yankees willingness to go hard after Cano. I’m not sure that’s accurate. Seems like they’ve been avoiding adding future payroll so that they could still retain Cano AND get under $189M. Not sure anything has really changed.

    • RobA says:

      That’s pretty much exactly what I was trying to say below.

      Cano was always in the cards. The fact that they’re willing to go big for him doesn’t mean – at all – that $189 is gone. If they talk like this about any other name, then maybe. But Cano was always going to get re-signed.

  10. DERP says:

    Can we get Swish and Russ back?

  11. Manny's Banwagon says:

    Thank god he came to his senses.

    I think the Yankees would have flirted with .500 if they stuck to $189 having to replace Pettitte, Kuroda, Mariano, Youkalis, Granderson and possibly Cano and Hughes.

  12. RobA says:

    Reading the articel, that’s pretty flimsy “evidence.” His reasoning that Hal is ready to cancel it is because someone said that Boras won’t allow Cano to sign anywhere without testing the FA market. And Hal is “willing to play the game”. The only Yankee source is the one that says Hal is “freaked out”

    Wally’s talking like it’s a done deal.

    I don’t see the fact taht they’re willing to pay big as proof they’re forgoing the mandate at all. I think most 2014 payroll projections jsut assumed that they’d resign Cano (because, how can you not?) and just plugged a rough AAV of $25 million or so and used that in their spreadsheets.

    • Guns of the Navarone says:

      I agree and was thinking the exact same thing. The journalistic standards employed by ESPNNY are non-existent. I personally find Matthews to be the worst offender. Stories filled with conjecture, snark, and/or sensationalism are the only ones that come out of that site. This is more of the same.

  13. Countryclub says:

    Why are people listening to Matthews? I don’t like Sherman, but he has real sources. When he writes the same thing, I’ll half believe it.

  14. JW says:

    So we should go back to the days of the 10-year A-Rod deal impulsively made by Hank? The absurd Soriano opt-out-every-year deal? How does Tex’s contract look at the moment?

    I’m not saying that the Yankees should become the Pirates or Marlins. And of course it would have been a hell of a lot better to, say, re-sign Swisher this offseason.

    But just be careful what you wish for.

  15. BK2ATL says:

    Best fucking speculative “news” (considering the source) of the offseason. A little late, but nonetheless good to hear.

    I really liked reading this part. A coming-to-one’s-senses.

    “According to the proverbial insider with knowledge, Hal was “freaked out” by the negative reaction from Yankees fans at what they perceived to be a trend toward “cheapness” from a club that had always been known for wild extravagance.

    (I’m not privy to the internal financial workings of the Yankees, but it’s possible that advance season ticket sales for 2013 have reflected that perception.)

    In any event, someone within the Yankees organization apparently did the math and came to the conclusion that cutting tens of millions of dollars in payroll would cost the club hundreds of millions in the long run, if only through the devaluing of the brand.”

  16. DERP says:

    After reading the article, I agree with what everyone else has said. Sounds like Matthews is assuming way too much from those quotes.

  17. Slu says:

    We can sure as hell hope it is true.

  18. Buddy says:

    Ummm. I hate to break it to those rejoicing, but I don’t see anything here that states the plan to get to $189 being abandoned…

    AT MOST, I see this as Hal would consider delaing the 2014 target if its the difference b/w retaining and losing their best player.

    • MANNYGEEE says:

      If that is the case, however, you can consider 2 year trades now that you weren’t a month ago.. The pickins are slim even then, but now you can (in theory) look at a Soriano, as I mentioned below, with a little less apprehension…

  19. Ed says:

    Perfect example of being penny wise but pound foolish. (Not sure though that you can really say that when you’re talking about tens and hundreds of millions.)

    I also agree with the posters above who point out that there is nothing in the article that demonstrates conclusively that Hal has given up on his plan.

  20. MANNYGEEE says:

    I guess if this is legit, that’s cool… We know what the future was gonna look like with $28M per on 1/2 an A-Rod… That said, woulda been nice to figure that out 4 months ago when we could have kept or acquired a catcher (on the assumption that he was deemed unaffordable) of the non-shitty variety.

    Soooooooo, Alfonso Soriano, anyone?

  21. Steve says:

    Wally Mathews is one of the worst beat writers around and I am shocked Axisa linked to him. His article gives no actual evidence that Hal is ready to give up on 189, but yet he still throws it around like its a fact. As Mike said – I’ll believe it when I see it.

  22. Pat D says:

    I will not believe this until Hal publicly says it.

    I’m not believing this story since it’s via WallyMatt.

  23. Vern Sneaker says:

    Much too soft a story for rejoicing. Also as everyone’s saying, doesn’t bring back Swish and Martin. Also possibly a P.R. feed by the Yanks to Matthews to appease us savage fans. Like that’s going to work.

  24. Jacob the OG(formerly Jacob) says:

    I doubt it, and personally I want to see what they can do with this plan right now. I know we are in the “Win it for Andy and Mo” mode but if they were to ditch it this year, how are they going to upgrade? I say stick to the plan this year, if it fails then fuck the plan and sign some upgrades(if there are any) but honestly it is way to late and pointless to ditch it now.

  25. Steve (different one) says:

    Matthews is the worst.

  26. FIPster Doofus says:

    We landed on the moon!

  27. Now Batting says:

    THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN

  28. Robinson Tilapia says:

    It’s Wally Matthews. This means fire sale. FUCK!

  29. Govin says:

    I know there is one article I will not be reading the comments on, Thats the article where Hal reiterates that they are still sticking to the 189 plan.

  30. Now Batting says:

    “Is our goal (a $189 million payroll) next year? Yes. But only if I’m convinced if the team I see, that we’ve put together, is a championship-caliber team.”

    Doesn’t take a genius to realize a 2014 $189 payroll team won’t be championship caliber. That combined with the ESPN article make me happy.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

      It’s very unlikely a $189M will be championship caliber (not impossible, but virtually everything would have to go right).

      The question is: Is the owner who doesn’t understand why fans were upset this offseason smart enough to realize this?

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Strongly disagree. Look at all the holes on the Giants. They’ve won two recently. It would only take a couple of things going right and other things not going wrong. The idea of needing 25 All-Stars to win a ring is a Yankees only thing, and it’s only really worked once for the Yankees since they started buying All-Star teams in the post-strike era.

        Perhaps the owner is smart enough to realize fans are stupid for being upset about the off-season and will respond to winning, not off-season moves. Ultimately every study I have seen says that fans respond to wins more than stars.

  31. Murderers' Row Boat says:

    It’s almost like his signing of A-Rod means he’ll be forced to be over the $189m. Sucks to be you, Hal.

  32. nsalem says:

    I think the condemnation of the organization for signing Teixeira is totally absurd. There was no way to project the fall off in production of a fairly healthy 28 yo with a long track record of 900+ OPS seasons. Unlike A-Rod there was no whispers of PED use and he was being paid through age 37 not 41 in the case of A-Rod. We had every right to believe we would get at least Three to tive peak production seasons out of him and the last 3 or 4 years of the contract which were similar to what he produced in the last 3 years. I don’t remember anyone complaining about it when we signed him. Though he hasn’t performed the way he hoped he would offensively he still had decent years in 2010 and 2011 and finished 19th in the MVP balloting in both years. I would place this signing in the “shit happens” category rather than the stupidity of bidding against themselves in the A-Rod category and handing him 180 million (which is the same dollar value of Tex’s contract) to play in years 36-41. Tex was sick last year. He is a great defensive asset and if he can hopefully return to his 2010 level for a couple of more years I wouldn’t consider this signing to be catastrophic and a hamstring to the organization in the way that the A-Rod contract is. It is ignorant to put the two contracts in the same category.

    • Now Batting says:

      The A-Rod contract is in the complete abomination category. Teixeira’s is in the moderately dissapointment category. I bet if the Yankees knew about $189 back then though they’d have Swisher at first and would have found another RFer.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Swish at first and having to find a replacement for Nady in RF could have led to a drastically different 2009. Just sayin.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Also, slight-to-moderate disappointment. I can’t be too upset with what he brings to first base. I want to see that more dynamic offensive player return, though. Sure.

      • nsalem says:

        That maybe true if we knew that Swisher would have performed at the level that he did in his in his 4 years with the Yankees. At the time of his signing Swisher was 4 years into his career coming off a nightmare season. He had 2 good years and 2 bad years on his resume at the time and the Yankees were unsure of exactly what they were getting. The Yankees were coming off of a terrible season (for the Yankees) and were moving into YS3. Swisher was also considered a bit of a flake and his battles with Ozzie were a cause for concern. Playoffs aside it turned out to be a very positive move but there was no way of knowing it at the time If you go back to this board back in 2009 you will find that Swisher was treated with less than open arms by commentators. There was much disappointment and criticism at the thought of him being our first baseman when for several weeks Tex apparently was headed to the RedSox in late 2008.

    • Dalek Jeter says:

      While I agree with your overall point, in retrospect signing Tex to THAT contract was a bad move, whether it’s in the “shit happens” category or not, it needs to be taken into account as “this is what can happen if you sign a guy that long term, for that much money.” Also, I could be looking back with pinstripe colored glasses, but I don’t remember Alex’s name being in the same breath as steroids or PEDs period before he signed that deal. That’s why the homer incentives are there, he was going to be the guy to make the homer record clean again. I put the A-Rod and Pujols contracts at a level of there own of “too much for too long, too late in their career,” but Tex’s is probably at that next tier of overtly long contracts.

      • Now Batting says:

        If memory serves I think Canseco accused him of taking steroids but nobody took it seriously. It’s really ironic looking back that he’s the most credible player of the steroid era (I think?).

        • Dalek Jeter says:

          I really think that’s just sad (Canseco being the most credible ‘roider). Basically the guy whose career was given to him by steroids and wrote his tell all as an absolute money/fame grab turns out to be the most honest of the bunch? Honestly, these days, I believe everything Canseco said more than I believe that Andy only took HGH that one time.

        • Pistol Pete says:

          Canseco was more right than wrong and all of our clean cut white guys nobody would have thought to take steroids were juicing just as much as Bonds, Sosa, and Palmero. Just because Tex was clean cut and white didn’t mean he wasn’t juicing just like Clemens, Piazza, Pettitte and many many more. It makes me sick when Tex always gets a pass. His performance slipped badly after testing and he’s terribly overpaid. Because he, Arod, and others are overpaid it makes it difficult to improve the team while cutting spending. Hal finally got the message, if he doesn’t spend no one will show up with the Yankees outrageous ticket prices to watch an average team. Sign Cano, give him his money the same way they paid home grown superstars like Bernie, Jeter, Posada, Mo, and Pettitte.

      • nsalem says:

        There were the Canseco accusations and bitch tit comments about A-Rod that proceeded the contract signing. There was also Cashman’s public statements of absolutely refusing to negotiate with him in any way shape or form if he chose to opt out. These proclamations were made during the summer of 2007 when he was in the middle of an MVP season. I believe the front office knew which in retrospect was why Cashman was so firm on this point. It seemed like he was almost hoping A-Rod would opt so the Yankees could wash their hands of the whole situations. I think Cashman knew of the train wreck that was coming and would have been happy to be rid of A-Rod after 2007. The argument in hindsight could be made that this may have cost us a ring in 2009, but we also can’t say who he would have acquired with the money freed up by A-Rod leaving.

  33. jesse says:

    If this actually happens this completely changes my opinion on signing Robinson Cano. Give him (almost) whatever he wants.

  34. Robinson Tilapia says:

    I hope our local and state authorities have a contingency plan prepared for the possibility this may be true. There’s going to be people crashing into each other, naked, covered in peanuts and Cracker Jack, on the streets.

  35. LK says:

    Can Hal afford a time machine to go back and sign Russell Martin?

  36. Barry's Gift Basket says:

    Yes please.

  37. BigBlueAL says:

    Does anyone know how important is it to get all the way down to 189 mil?? Like I can understand not wanting a 210+ mil payroll anymore but will getting down to say 195 mil be enough to save decent amount of money or does it really have to get all the way down to 189 mil to save significant amount of money??

    • Nathan says:

      It had to get below that $189M “threshold” for the luxury tax to “reset”.

      As to how much money exactly the Yankees would have saved, that part I’m not sure of.

  38. trr says:

    Hope this is true

  39. Kevin says:

    Yes, we never should have signed Arod or Tex or Burnett and we also shouldn’t have won the 2009 World Series. Over the last 4 years the Yanks have been to the playoffs all 4 years, been to the ALCS 3 times and won a Championship. To any other team thats the glory years.

    The Arod and Tex signings were key in the 09 Championship. Now maybe had that money been reallocated elsewhere they’d be even more successful over the past few years. No way to know that.

    We do however have the 2009 World Championship and Flags Fly Forever.

  40. endlessjose says:

    A 3 Billion team is worried about luxary tax.It’ not our fault the Yankees don’t have a better TV deal than the Dodgers.The Yankees in ten years will and shoudn’t waste their time worry about there “threshold”

    We aren’t the Rays..

    • RetroRob says:

      The Yankees deal is better than the Dodgers. The Yankees are shielding the profits from their TV deal from revenue sharing. That’s the advantage they get from actually helping to fund YES.

      • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

        If their share of YES profits is commensurate with their ownership stake, they’d be better off paying revenue sharing.

        Also, some of the Dodgers money will be shielded as well. I believe they have an ownership stake in the new network.

        • RetroRob says:

          We’re all going to be playing a guessing game here since the overall profits the Steinbrenners generate from the Yankees are shielded, not just from the fans and the media, but from MLB. The Commissioner has no idea what’s going on with the entity that owns the Yankees anymore than it did with the entity that owns the Mets and was doing business with Bernie Madoff. The Yankees are using that to their advantage. They structured it that way on purpose. Yankee fans like to pick on Randy Levine, but have they ever stopped to truly wonder why he’s the president of the Yankees? It’s because he has made the Steinbrenners an ungodly amount of money. If the choice came down to keeping Cashman or Levine, Cashman would be gone in a heartbeat.

          As to the TV contract, the Yankees went to an enourmous amount of effort (and money) to help fund YES, along with Goldman and a couple other entities. Does it make any sense that the team would sign a deal a few months back that will only pay the the team $85M in broadcasting rights when the Angels already had a better deal, and the Rangers were basically making the same amount, and when it was reported that the Dodgers were going to sign a deal for $200M+ per year?

          The cable industry has a formula for what’s paid per viewership. Based on that formula, the Yankees should be getting at least $350M a year. So what gives? The answer is they are. It’s just funneled to them in different ways, with a nice, seemingly acceptable $85M a year (with escalators) that is subject to revenue sharing going to the Yankees, and the rest of the money going to the entity that owns the Yankees, and the YES Network. MLB can’t touch it. The Dodgers deal is quite differnt. The Yankees actually do have costs and partners. The Dodgers? Apparently not, which is why MLB is looking to tax the bulk of their TV revenue.

          • Slappy McWaterbug says:

            I never thought to look at what Levine did before this, but he’s legit. He appears to be a powerful labor attorney and served in Economic Development for NYC.

            Sometimes it makes sense to question his judgement regarding personnel matters, but I think in terms of operations that guy is probably more than pulling his weight.

  41. RetroRob says:

    Two thoughts:

    1) Via Wally Matthews. Does anything more need to be said?

    2) Even if this is not true now, it will be. If Hal is the financial geek he claims to be, he will eventually understand the other side of the equation, the one his father knew quite well: Spending leads to more revenue and increased franchise value that can be reinvested again.

  42. Barry says:

    and people would still pay if payroll dropped. blah blah blah

  43. free speech says:

    it is not going out the window if they sign cano it is just less money for the rest….. 189,189,189,189,189,189,189,189,189,189,189,189,189,189,189,189,189,189,189,189,189,189,…..puke on that …lets make it more than $1500.00 to sit in the legends……..

  44. jjyank says:

    Without reading any of the other comments (to tired to stay up later to do so)…this is interesting. Aside from the one quote with the caveat about fielding a championship caliber team, this is the first we’ve heard about an actual willingness to abandon the budget, no?

    I’ve always understood and respected the budget plan. But as a fan, whose money is not involved in the decision, I’d like for them not to implement it. We shall see what happens from here.

  45. bkight13 says:

    The Yankees will continue to make more money by putting a playoff team on the field every year. Yes, they can be smarter with some of their deals, but salaries aren’t going down and the TV money keeps going up.

    They could probably save almost the same amount of money from ARod retiring due his injury in the next couple years as they would with the $189 plan.

  46. Rizi Walnuts says:

    If my voice didn’t sound like I have barbed wire lungs I’d sing a heavenly choir this guy suddenly woke up and realized he owns the Yankees. If I wanted to act like I had pea balls I’d root for the Pirates. Repeat after me, mister. I. Own. The. Yankees. Now go fill holes. The team is a W-I-P. Season coming.

  47. Jim Is Bored says:

    I know this era of more information is generally considered a good thing, but I imagine we all would have been much better off had we never heard of the 189 million plan to begin with. Even if it still exists.

  48. CapitalT says:

    A friend of mine buys spring training tickets for resale and is having a hard time moving the Yankee tickets. He thinks it might be his first loss in the 5 years he has been doing it. Detroit and Toronto tickets are selling at a premium. There just isn’t anything exciting about the Yankees this year.

  49. you should have shot Arod (the other guys) says:

    thank god now sign cano and granderson and get loeshe for hughes spot. we can find a catcher at the deadline . enough of acting like the Mets .

  50. Kingslayer says:

    They better ditch that stupid “getting under $189M threshold” nonsense unless they want to go back to 1980′s baseball – looking up instead of down at competitors!!

    • Well says:

      The 80s weren’t all that bad. Had there been the wildcard the yanks just might’ve made the playoffs In a few of the years. Granted some were just bat shit horrible teams but it wasn’t like last place each year from 1982-1994….

  51. King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

    Was 189 a longterm goal or was it to get below one time in ’14 and then need to get below it again in the future as the penalties increased?

  52. Ted Nelson says:

    He always said it was contingent on fielding a contender, if anyone bothered to listen to what he actually said instead of jumping to extreme conclusions as soon as they heard the first few words out of his mouth.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      The reactionary stuff on here is getting ridiculous. This place has basically become a MSM outlet. As soon as some hint of evidence can be manipulated in a certain direction it gets blown way out of per portion.

      A. Hal says they’re aiming for 189 if they field a contender. RAB take: the Yankees will absolutely do everything to cut their payroll no matter the costs!!!!!!

      B. The Yankees want to re-sign their best player. RAB take: Hal has reversed course and the Yankees are abandoning 189!!!!!!!!!! Rejoice together brothers!!!!!! It says it on the Internet, it must make sense!!!!!!!!

      Did you ever think letting Cano walk was part of the plan? Did you mistake 189 for 89?

      The reaction around here any time a player stubs his toe is hilarious, though that’s mostly on the commenters.

  53. Now this may be the best news of the offseason (yeah ST is underway but I don’t consider the offseason to be over until opening day)

  54. voiceofirrationalrationale says:

    Great, another ca-jillionare who’ll never be worth a quarter of what he’ll get. Hell, this fucker already cadillacs it to first. Imagine what happens with a cajillion guaranteed ! These contracts almost undoubtedly never equate to value for the team.

  55. RobA says:

    Actually it was never “continge t” on fielding a winner……since we first heard of it it was always “this is getting done.” Its only recently that Hal left himself the out of “well, we have to have a championship team of course”

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