Archive for the ‘Luis Castillo’ Category

Playing GM: Dealing With Big Contracts

April 15, 2011

Hi. I’m Sandy Alderson. I’m telling you what is running through my mind with regards to players who make a lot of money and how I plan to deal with them. I’m also telling you why all hope is not lost for you (the fans). You’re pretending to care.

Expiring Contracts (2011)

  • Carlos Beltran (makes $20M this year) – There are two options here and as far as I’m concerned one is far better than the other. I’m hoping Beltran is healthy and productive. I’m hoping that come late July a contender with deep pockets, touchable quality pitching prospects and a hole in the middle of their order comes calling. I’m hoping they’ll take the last two months of his contract in full, but if not I’m willing to listen depending on the quality of what I get in return. If I can’t move him at the deadline, I let his contract run out and say thank you for the 7 years of service (sorry Jason).
  • Jose Reyes (makes $11M this year) – Plan A is this. I believe dealing Jose at the deadline is the right thing to do if we are out of contention (which we will be). If I were to re-sign him, I would have to give him years I don’t want to give and money I’m not sure I can afford. It’s a difficult decision because he’s still a fantastic player. But that’s why it makes sense to move him when he still has great value. I can get something significant in return (young arms and a young shortstop ideally) and avoid repeating mistakes that made my job so difficult to begin with. I do not believe Jose is worth the contract he will likely demand (7 years and in the range of $18-20M per year going by market value). I do not believe he will be a great player by year 4 or 5 of that deal – I don’t want to be paying $18M/year to a guy whose game is predicated on speed he can no longer utilize. It’s complicated because I want my bosses to be happy and I want people to show up to the ballpark, but I think in 3 or 4 years it’s better to have a couple of developing pitchers than an aging, injury prone shortstop who I owe a ton of money.
  • The flip side on Reyes – Let’s say I can’t get in return something of worthy value that I’m confident will provide great things in the future. If his production is that good and I can’t get quality young arms in return, I instead try to sign him to a deal more in the range of 5 years – a much more reasonable length than 7. I still believe Jose will not be the same player 4 or 5 years from now, but my boss might simply not let me “throw in the towel” in the short term. If he loves New York as much as it seems, perhaps we will be able to negotiate a reasonable contract, as a large portion of my reasoning for dealing him is based on his assumed length of contract and financial cost (See: Crawford, Carl).
  • Francisco Rodriguez (makes $12M this year) – I call White Sox GM Kenny Williams and convince him that this guy will be able to fix what’s driving Ozzie crazy. If that doesn’t work, I hope he doesn’t finish 55 games (I can’t exactly order Terry Collins to bench him because the players association will get all pissed). If not that, I hope that his contract is voided due to the mental and emotional stress he causes everyone.
Players with contracts extending beyond 2011
  • David Wright (makes $14M this year) – Some fans speculate as to whether David’s situation is similar to Jose’s. As of right now I have no intentions to do anything other than re-sign him. He is the best player on the team, is young, and is the face of the franchise.
  • Jason Bay (makes $18M this year) – Nothing to be done here. I trust that Jason will turn it around and I believe that he will. There will be no takers in a deal and there’s not much sense in trying anyway.
  • Johan Santana (makes $22.5M this year) – Unfortunately, my predecessor was unaware that Johan peaked in 2006. I have no idea whether he will pitch this year or next or what.  It’s an unfortunate situation in which I hope for the best because nobody is taking on his contract. He’s not what he once was but hopefully he can figure out a way to remain effective like Pedro did early in his Mets career.
Taking out the trash
  • Ollie and Luis are owed money this year only. This should further open up room for future (wise) spending.
Why it might all be ok
  • A lot of big contracts will expire in the coming years. Money owed to Carlos, Francisco, Ollie, and Luis are no longer going to be burdens in this rebuilding process. I’m trusting that my bosses and our fans have patience, understanding and faith in the process – a process that focuses on the big picture as opposed to the short term. Within 3 or 4 years things will have changed. There will be less long-term contracts given to players already in their prime as opposed to approaching it. There will be a new team to beat in the east, as the Phillies will be aging. Our farm system will slowly but surely be built up again. I will emphasize pitching because that’s how winners are built.

ESPN: “Ten Reasons The Mets Aren’t That Bad”

April 7, 2011

What a terrific title. No BS this time. Let me get right to it…

1. David Wright is still a really good player. He fell out of the “SportsCenter” highlights during that 10-homer season in 2009, but hit 29 last season. If he gets his OBP back in the .390 range, he’s one of baseball’s best third baseman, a step below the Ryan Zimmerman/Evan Longoria duo.

  • The strikeout totals concern me. 161 last year was too much. Already this year he has 7 in his first 5 games. Even so, Wright is absolutely one of the elite third basemen in baseball and I think the Mets can bank on him being right around his 162 game average of 27 HR and 107 RBI. He’s the franchise.

2. Jose Reyes in a contract year. All the skills are still there. He still has the speed and the rocket arm. He doesn’t turn 28 until June. I feel a big year, back among the NL runs leaders … and a big contract in the offseason.

  • Does he have the potential to have a big year? Sure. Does he also have the potential to miss half the season? Yep. If he is playing well and the Mets are out of the race in July he might be on his way out with the right deal. If the Mets are in it and he’s playing well, he may be on his way to an extension. I really don’t know. I lean towards the latter as opposed to the former. I think the Mets organization still wants to try and win something big with the left side of the infield intact.

3. Angel Pagan is for real. He’s a solid center fielder, a switch-hitter with speed and just enough extra-base power to be dangerous. You can win a division title with Pagan out there. For example, is Shane Victorino really any better than Pagan?

  • What I don’t get is how winning a division title affects the player comparison. You can win a division title with Jamie Moyer in your rotation. So what? It really has little to do with who is better. That said, Victorino has 3 gold gloves and some great post season success. I love Pagan and I loathe Victorino. In other words, I’d take either on my team.

4. Depth in the lineup. As Baseball Prospectus pointed out in its annual, the Mets gave 40 percent of their plate appearances to hitters worse than league average. Among the culprits with at least 100 plate appearances: Luis Castillo, Rod Barajas, Alex Cora, Henry Blanco and somebody named Jesus Feliciano. This year, the Mets go eight deep in the lineup, with catcher Jose Thole hitting eighth. And Thole isn’t that bad. Not much power, but a decent .357 OBP as a rookie in 2010.

  • Right. The lineup was never going to be the problem, especially once Bay returns. Reyes-Pagan-Wright-Beltran-Bay-Davis is a dangerous 1-6, especially with pesky hitters in the 7 and 8 holes. The problem is instead when your rotation is loaded with #3 and #4 starters that end up matching up against another team’s ace or #2 starter every 5th day. Without Santana the Mets have no ace, and I’m not sure they have a #2 either.

5. Brad Emaus. My colleague Eric Karabell loves Emaus. Hey, he’s gotta be better than Luis Castillo. Of course, my couch is better than Luis Castillo.

6. The bench. Lucas Duda has some good minor league hitting numbers, Scott Hairston can hit lefties, Daniel Murphy is back after being injured last season and he’s a nice utility guy.

  • How could I not be convinced by “some good minor league hitting numbers” and “nice utility guy?” Still wondering what the plan is for Murph…

7. Potential in the rotation. I am worried about Mike Pelfrey after two bad starts, but the rotation could be solid with R.A. Dickey, a step forward from Jonathon Niese, a comeback from Chris Young and Chris Capuano. Yes, they lack an ace unless Johan Santana returns healthy, but all these guys could at least be decent. And if you have five decent starters, you have a chance.

  • I just don’t see how the Mets rotation gets them to the playoffs without Santana leading the way. There’s no #1 and there’s no #2 until proven otherwise. There are solid #3′s (Niese, Young, Pelfrey, Dickey), and a shaky #5 (Capuano) but Santana’s return is key. The Mets have to find a way to stay in the picture until then. If Santana is any good, it will improve the entire staff because guys will be able to slot down one spot in the rotation a piece.

8. The bullpen is sneaky good. Hard-throwing Bobby Parnell is ready to emerge in the setup role, D.J. Carrasco is a ground ball specialist with a rubber arm who won’t give up many homers,Taylor Bucholz was really good with the Rockies before getting injured. I’m no fan of K-Rod, but he’s better than a lot of closers. (But can we dump the nickname please? He really hasn’t been K-Rod since about 2007.)

  • I have a wait and see mentality about this. I hope Mr. Schoenfield is right. I also hope K-Rod can figure out how to get through an inning without allowing two base runners. I hope his “I have to strike out every batter and be so perfect that I thus torment my manager with walks” mentality fixes itself too. Hope…

9. Terry Collins. Let’s put it this way: BP reminded me of the incident last season when Jerry Manuel had Castillo bunt in extra innings against Cardinals outfielder Joe Mather. Collins is worth a win or two from a strategic/lineup viewpoint. Or maybe three or four.

  • So far I love what I see with Collins. The Mets are playing aggressive and smart for the most part. The guys seem to like him. But, let’s see if his style wears thin as it has in his past gigs.

10. Carlos Beltran’s knees. I’ve avoided mentioning them until now. The Mets are due a little luck in the health department, right?

  • If he can figure out how to hit again like he did in ’06 that’d be fantastic. Don’t count on it.

Add it all up and the Mets could win 86-87 games, and in the National League that could make them wild-card contenders.

  • I picked the Mets to finish 4th in the East and I’m not about ready to change that 5 games into the season. Many things have to go right for them to be in contention for the division or for the wild card. Let’s see them play good ball for an extended period of time and if they do I’ll willingly eat crow.
  • Here is the full article if you so desire…

Dear Luis, It’s Not You, It’s Me

March 24, 2011

I really want this to be my last post about Luis Castillo. Sadly, it was too hard to pass up his latest comments to the press in Clearwater, Florida, which strangely enough, sound exactly like the ones he made when he was released.

[Collins] wouldn’t give me a chance to play.

I told him if he didn’t give me the chance to play that I don’t know if I have to be on the team. He decided to release me.

Luis, if you are reading this please take the following advice:

1. Stop commenting on the Mets. Even when you are asked. Just give it the ol’ “I’m not here to talk about the past” routine. It may not have worked for Mark McGwire, but it is very appropriate for you in this situation.

2. It is in your best interest to move on. Consider Collins release as the uncomfortable breakup you had with your high school sweet heart. “It’s not you, it’s me.” “Let’s just be friends.” “Stop texting me.” “The court order says you need to stay at least 300 feet away from me.” Ah, the good old days.

3. Stop trying to paint Terry Collins as the bad guy here. This was very much an organizational decision and he wasn’t the only one pulling the trigger. These comments make you look desperate and just plain silly. Everyone in the continental United States knew this was coming.

Unlike many, I believe you tried your best. Sometimes things just don’t work out. I truly thank you for the effort you gave during your time in New York. It wasn’t the right fit. The night you got injured walking down the dugout stairs should have sold you on that point.

I don’t blame you for signing the foolish contract you were offered. Hell, I would have signed it too. We all would have.

Best of luck,

Jason

Channeling Your Inner Dick Weber

February 20, 2011

Nothing spells team unity like B O W L I N G.

Here’s a breakdown of highlights from tonight’s team building activity:

  • David Wright showed everyone his inner Dick Weber and rolled an impressive 259 tonight (actual fact). He might be able to give Ishmael a run for his money. Hopefully he doesn’t pull a Munson.
  • Francisco Rodriguez’s custom ball actually arrived the night before the competition. The rest of the players used house balls.
  • R.A. Dickey couldn’t hit the pocket consistently as it appears that knuckle balls don’t seem to translate to the game of bowling. He called it a night early, unlocked his ten speed, and went home.
  • Mike Pelfrey was fined for licking his fingers too much during his address.
  • Luis Castillo showed up midway through the third game.
  • A little hazing took place as New Met, Chin-lung Hu, fell victim to the old Icy Hot in your wrist master gag.
  • Oliver Perez was proudly showing off the cutter that he had been working on in the Mexican bowling lanes this winter. He started off his first game with a Turkey, followed closely by six consecutive gutter balls, and two 7-10 splits.

In all seriousness, I think this is great. Anything that can keep this group loose while potentially building comradery is ok in my book. I applaud Terry Collins for this idea.

Come On Dude

August 10, 2010

According to the Associated Press, James G. Falzon is suing the New York Mets, Major League Baseball, Jarden Coorperation (Rawlings brand bat maker), Luis Castillo, and Ramon Castro.

Why?

He suffered multiple face lacerations including a broken palate at Shea Stadium in 2007 because he was struck in the face by a shattered bat while his son was looking on.

Don’t get me wrong, it stinks that he was struck in the face and I completely sympathize with how that ruined his day. No one wants to see that happen.

However, go to any Major League or Minor League park and you’ll find very clear signage that warn you to beware of flying objects.

There is some inherent risk when going to a baseball game and forking over the big bucks for a nice seat. Flying objects like baseballs and broken bats is one example. Sitting around a bunch of people jibber-jabbering on their cell phones not paying any attention to the game is another.

Call me old-fashioned, but this situation strikes me as an unfortunate accident. Nothing more, nothing less. As my parents used to tell me when I was growing up, “That’s life kid.  Sometimes life is unfair.”

Suing a bunch of people over an unfortunate accident and wasting a lot of people’s time and money is not the answer. This injury is exactly what health insurance is for.

What does this teach his kid? Something unfortunate happens so look for a pay day?

Ramon Castro being named in the lawsuit is the funniest (probably not to Ramon) thing about this ridiculous situation. He wasn’t even at the plate. He is being sued because Luis Castillo was using his bat.

I’ve got ten bucks that says Luis accidentally grabbed Ramon’s bat. Castro…..Castillo, who’s betting against me?

Oh well, another day, another frivolous lawsuit.

Originally published on Mets Gazette.

Favorites & Frustrations

August 4, 2010

The game of baseball provides numerous opportunities (162 to be exact) to observe your favorite team in action.

As many of you can relate, you tend to pick up on a thing or two that you love about your team, and a thing or two that drives you crazy.

I took the time to think of a few of our favorite things to see while watching the Mets, along with some of the must frustrating things. Here are a few in no particular order:

FAVORITES

* The Jose Reyes Triple.
* SNY’s Gary Cohen’s home run call “It’s outta here!”
* The Jeff Francoeur muskrat look when he hits a home run.
* Getting to call Henry Blanco “Hank White” (it never gets old).
* Watching Angel Pagan run the bases (a frustration in 2009).
* David Wright driving the ball to the opposite field.
* David Wright driving the ball into the left field stands.
* The Jerry Manuel clap when he argues with an umpire (I have no idea why, but I love it when he does that)
* Johan Santana telling Jerry Manuel to go back to the dugout (I know this only happened once this season, but it was so great that it made the list).
* Ike Davis flying over the first base dugout railing as he catches a foul ball.
* Anytime Chris Carter gets an at bat. You get to say “The Animal”.

FRUSTRATIONS

* Stretches when Jerry Manuel thinks the only reliever in the bullpen is Raul Valdes
* Oliver Perez warming up in the bullpen.
* The Jose Reyes pop up.
* Jeff Francouer swinging at the first pitch.
* The Jeff Francouer muskrat look when he pops up.
* Mike Pelfrey licking his fingers.
* Jason Bay flailing at an outside breaking ball.
* A Jerry Manuel visit to the mound.
* Another Jerry Manuel visit to the mound.
* The Luis Castillo slap chopper.
* Francisco Rodriguez insisting on putting at least two men on base during every appearance (mysteriously absent last night…).
* Giving up another home run to Chipper Jones or Pat Burrell

Ask And You Shall Receive

June 5, 2010

Yesterday, I felt as if I had a direct pipeline to Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel.  I decided to write about three things that needed to change with the Mets’ offense.

The post was produced first thing in the morning.

By late afternoon, the Mets had made some roster moves that made two of the changes I suggested.

In case you missed it, here are the changes they made:

Luis Castillo Needs To Be Placed On DL or Traded

The Mets placed Castillo on the DL and brought up Rueben Tejada, who wound up starting last night’s game and driving in the eventual winning  run on a fielder’s choice.

Toby Hyde does an excellent job writing the Mets Minor League Blog.  For a nice writeup on Tejada, click here.

Tejada is actually a very good defensive shortstop and has shown he can perform at second base.  He is only twenty so it would be wrong for us to expect that he becomes an offensive superstar right away.

Tejada’s Recent Offensive Statistics

G AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG SF BB% SO% XBH% BABIP
08 FSL 131 497 114 19 4 2 41 77 8 5 .229 .293 .296 4 7.39 13.87 4.50 .265
08 HWB 24 86 20 3 1 0 7 14 2 2 .233 .284 .291 2 7.29 14.58 4.17 .270
09 AA 134 488 141 24 3 5 37 59 19 3 .289 .351 .381 2 6.69 10.67 5.79 .319
09 AFL 17 59 15 4 0 1 6 9 4 0 .254 .338 .373 1 8.82 13.24 7.35 .280

Gary Matthews Jr. Is Not an Option

Apparently, Henry Blanco is a little banged up, so the Mets used this opportunity to designate GMJ for assignment.

In his place, will be Omir Santos, giving the Mets a third catcher.

Frankly, I don’t quite understand the move.

If Blanco is banged up why not place him on the DL for 15 days?

It would have been interesting to see Jesus Feliciano brought up and how they handled the 40 man roster.

Beggars can’t be choosers.  I am much happier with Santos on the bench than GMJ.  Omir was able to come up with some big hits last year so he is a better option as a pinch hitter.

Three Things That Need To Change With The Mets Offense

June 4, 2010

Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

What can the New York Mets do to get over the .500 hump?

Many people believe adding a starting pitcher will help.  I don’t disagree with this notion, but it is fair to say every team is looking for starting pitching.

For me, it is imperative that the Mets get more production out of their offense.

To be more specific, consistent production.  Every so often they will put together a few games where they score five or more runs.

All of a sudden, the bats get quiet and we see very few runs cross the plate.

Here are three things that need to happen with the sticks:

David Wright Needs To Get Back To Being David Wright

For the most part, I have given D. Wright a pass as he is traditionally a slow starter.

However, June is here and we are no longer beginning.  This is typically where he heats up, so there is still hope.

Currently, Wright is hitting .264 and has struck out 69 times.

The strikeouts wouldn’t bother me as much if he wasn’t putting them together in bunches, two and three at a time.

Wright is a career .306 hitter.  If he can make up these 42 points during the rest of the season this lineup will become very potent.

His nine home runs have been a welcome sight along with his 36 RBIs.

However, I would rather him downplay the home run, stay on the ball a little longer and start using the opposite field as he did when he first came in the league.

If you have watched him closely this year, his hot streaks start with a couple of hits to the opposite field.

Before you know it,  he starts to pull off the ball again and finds himself on a cold streak.

Luis Castillo Needs To Be Placed On DL or Traded

Don’t mistake me on this point.  Luis’ effort has been there and you can tell he is giving it 100% this season.  I have appreciated this compared to prior years.

The problem is, the Mets don’t have enough power in their lineup to afford a slap happy, singles hitter that is batting .241.

His current issues with his feet take away his bunting ability, not to mention limit his range on defense.  It is admirable watching him try to play through this but the Mets need more than what he can give.

Luis’s ailments also force Jerry Manuel to play Alex Cora extensively.  It is obvious that Cora should be a spot starter at best and he is not a permanent option.

The Castillo issue is probably the most difficult one to solve.  His large contract, injury history, and age make it difficult to trade him.

To exasperate the issue, the Mets do not have anyone in the minors that is close to being ready to handle the full time job at second.

It will be interesting to see what Omar Minaya does with this.  It isn’t like he hasn’t been trying.

Gary Matthews Jr. Is Not an Option

Gary Matthews Jr. has been given more than enough opportunity to prove that he can help this team.  Manuel is using him as his fourth outfielder so he has received plenty of at bats.

After 58 at bats, he has an abysmal .190 average and only one RBI.

I didn’t have an issue with Omar picking him up, because the gamble was worth it knowing Carlos Beltran was going to be out for an extended period of time.

However, no one knows when Beltran will return.  It is time for the Mets to act as if he will not be coming back.  This means finding another option other than GMJ.

Once a crowded section of the Mets roster, the outfield options seem to be scarce.    Fernando Martinez is injured again, along with Jason Pridie.

This leaves Jesus Feliciano as the only option in Buffalo.  His .388 batting average is awfully appealing at this point.  The problem with Jesus is that he isn’t on the 40 man roster.

Don’t be surprised to see Omar make a move for a right-handed bat in the outfield.

Much Needed Knuckleball Win in Milwaukee

May 30, 2010

R.A. Dickey seems to be a player that doesn’t get excited by much.  As a matter of fact, I don’t think I have seen him smile since he was brought up from Triple A.

Maybe it’s because I am so used to seeing player’s pound their chest and point to the sky for every success on the field.

This includes getting a hit, a walk, a sacrifice fly, a productive out, getting down a sacrifice bunt, and grabbing the regular flavor of sunflower seeds instead of the dreaded barbecue flavored ones.

Most pitcher’s would appear to be thrilled with having a 2.84 ERA and a 2-0 record in their first three starts.

Not R.A. Dickey.

Upon watching him at the end of today’s game, he appeared to be heading out to his lunch break after a successful power point presentation over next quarter’s revenue.

Enjoy it R.A.!

Too each their own I guess.

Frankly, I don’t care if he ever cracks a smile, as long as he continues to put the Mets in position to win the games he starts.

Some Dickey detractors  may point out that today’s performance included four earned runs.

That number is deceiving, because he kept the Brewers close, enabling the offense to finally brake free and put the Mets ahead.

It is also crucial that he pitched seven innings, which gave the bullpen a rest.

Slow Waking Offense

For a while, it appeared that the offense wasn’t going to come through today.  They let Randy Wolf off the hook repeatedly in this game.

Major league offenses should muster more than two runs when a pitcher gives up five hits and five walks in five innings of work.

Thankfully, the Mets woke up in the sixth, largely due to Luis Castillo.

The Brewers walked Jose Reyes intentionally to load the bases with two outs to get to Castillo.

Interestingly enough, Castillo was poised to take a 3-1 pitch for a walk to force in the go ahead run, but Mark Carlson decided to change his zone and call a pitch three inches off the outside corner a strike.

Luis preceded to slap a single up the middle scoring Jeff Francoeur and Henry Blanco.

That huge two out hit ignited the offense as they were able to plate six more runs later in the game to make this a comfortable win.

Overall, the Mets scored ten runs on sixteen hits.  Not bad for a team that looked lifeless at the plate in the first five innings.

Big Bats 5-8

David Wright, Angel Pagan, Jeff Francoeur, and Henry Blanco combined to go eleven for seventeen with six doubles, six RBIs, 12 runs, and one home run.

Francoeur was four for five with two doubles (both of which were to right center).  And they said Jason Bay was streaky….

On Deck

The Mets head out west to face the San Diego Padres on Monday night.  Hisanori Takahashi will face Kevin Correia in game one of this three game series.

Marlins 7, Mets 5: Box Score Reaction

May 16, 2010

The Mets’ slide continues.   It is doubly painful because they are dropping games to divisional opponents.

I was at the little league fields and my son’s game went into extra innings, so I did not have to witness this loss.

I thought I would have a little fun and write a post game reaction just by what I see from the box score.  I haven’t watched any of the game so I won’t be influenced by any visuals.

Old school style.

Pitching:

John Maine had an “Ollie” and could only give the Mets five innings.  In those five innings he allowed seven hits, six runs, and five walks (not good).

It appears as though he struggled with his control in the first, because I don’t see any extra base hits in the box score in the opening inning.

Maine’s ERA is listed at an abysmal 6.13.

Offense:

It appears as though the offense wasn’t the problem.  They scored five runs.  Seven men left on base isn’t exactly something to rejoice about, but I’ll take an offensive performance like this over what we have seen lately.

Jose Reyes rewarded Jerry Manuel by going 2 for 5 from the lead off spot and he scored two runs.

David Wright went 2 for 3 with a home run and two RBI’s.

Jason Bay went 2 for 4 with an RBI.

Luis Castillo collected two hits as well, including a triple and and two RBI’s.

Rod Barajas had two hits, and Chris Carter added a pinch hit.

Jeff Francoeur continues to struggle mightily.  He was o for 4 and his average has dropped to .215.

Outlook:

The outlook is still bleak for the Mets.  They have dropped to fourth place in the division and are five games back of the first place Phillies.

Jon Niese takes the mound against Ricky Volasco as the Mets try to avoid the sweep.

The Mets could have used a solid performance from Maine.

They already need to fill one spot in their rotation.  I was hoping John had figured things out and was on his way back to being a serviceable starter.

Blog Reactions:

Check out these post game reactions from other Mets blogs if you want a visual.

METSBLOG

METSMERIZED ONLINE

METS TODAY


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