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Is Ben Fran Next in Line?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, March 25, 2010 09:22 PM | Comments: 44
Opinion, Posts

Quick thought tonight as I watch the tournament and the first ever match for the Philadelphia Union.

The Phillies have to like what they have in Ben Francisco.  Do they seem him as the successor to Jayson Werth and/or Raul Ibanez? I think we could very well be seeing this guy as a starter in the next year or so.

Of course, it’s too early to tell what will happen and playing Nostradamus was never my strong suit, but Francisco fits this lineup well.  The 28-year old has only been in the league for three seasons, so he’s young in the sense that he’s not had much major league experience.

His 14 steals with just 455 plate appearances proves he has some wheels. In his first two full season, he’s ripped 15 home runs per year.  Don’t expect 30-plus, but his peripheral numbers appear very Jayson Werth-esque at the beginning of his career. I also like the defensive ability Francisco brings, and we should certainly see more of him this year as he gives Ibanez a breather.

Werth had the same late start (due to injuries) as Ben Fran and blossomed as he neared 30.  Could we be in for the same with Francisco?  Something to think about while many ponder the future of Jayson Werth.

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About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1598 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Blaise

    Ben Francisco is probably the greatest player in the history of baseball so at least he has that going for him coming into 2011

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Frisco is good, but I wouldn’t be comfortable having him play everyday for a contending team like the Phillies … I doubt he’s good enough to replace any of outfielders successfully. Something that rarely gets mentioned: he has a candy arm!!

    Maybe I’m too hard on him after his 0-for-11 postseason… but I think that he’ll need to have an amazing 2010 for the FO to seriously think he can be one of our everyday outfielders in 2011.

     
  • Posts: 0 Tyler

    I’d rather have Francisco as a 4th outfielder. His ratio of amazing to bad plays in the outfield don’t warrant it. He’s let a fly ball drop, made some bad dives at balls(excluding that one in the NLDS), and also let a runner score on a sac fly because he was too slow(the runner wasn’t going to go). He’s made some bad decisions and got thrown out on the bases too.

    There are too many blogs and individuals trying to play armchair GM. Werth is here for at least one more year, that’s that, save the speculation for next years offseason because the constant “Werth theories” are getting annoying.

     
  • Posts: 0 Sean

    You mean “successor” to Dubs and Rauuuuuuul.

     
  • Posts: 0 Matt

    Yeah, the predecessor to Werth and Ibanez would have been the Bat and Jenkins.

     
  • Posts: 0 deebo

    please. the guy doesn’t sniff a starting job until he leaves, if then. his sole shot at any type of payday is to become the top PH in 2010 ala gload in 09 and dobbs in 08.

     
  • Posts: 0 Pat Gallen

    sorry guys, late night. And I’ll be honest, I didnt proof it…

    Now that we got it out of the way that Ben Francisco is the greatest player ever, lets talk about how every player that is on the Phillies will not be a superstar. You have to find guys like Francisco that are cheap, can step in and start, and will give you adequate numbers.

    Like I said, just something to think about for the year, nothing more. Whats wrong with speculating?

     
  • Posts: 0 Pat Gallen

    Let me add that for a guy just coming over from the Indians to a world series team…it can be nerve racking. Maybe Benny felt the pressure a bit when he came into games, but that can change once he becomes more comfortable with his surroundings.

     
  • Posts: 0 Tyler

    There’s nothing wrong with speculating… to a point. After a while it just gets to be an annoyance. Take the Eagles QB situation for example, it’s amazing how much time is wasted on asking the same questions over and over and getting the same answers over and over.

    Jayson Werth is here for at least a year, enjoy the time and hope he is resigned in the off season when that time comes. How much will you enjoy the games if you wonder or say “Werth is a free agent next season” everytime he’s at bat… or visit a blog to read for some enjoyment and read theories and other nonsense?

     
  • Posts: 0 maxhole

    speculate away. posing questions stimulates conversation. instead of complaining, why not contribute. maybe something like this: fransisco might have potential at a cheap rate, but so do mayberry and dom brown. both younger and cheaper.

     
  • Posts: 0 maxhole

    side note, anyone with a temple ID can purchase Union home opener tickets for 10 bucks on campus at the SAC. game’s at the Linc, april 10th 6pm. limit 2 tix/person.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    If we see 200 at bats for Benny, there is a problem with our outfield.
    Benny needs to be traded so he can play and his best value was probably last year in coming over from the Indians.
    Benny needs playing time, so Mayberry and Brown need to keep playing. Mayberry proved he was not a bench player last year and I would hate to see Brown gathering splinters too.
    Speculate on this: if our RF goes down with an injury or (heaven forbid) Raul never snaps out of this early season slump (I don’t think Raul has ever experienced a problem hitting out of the box), who do you call in first? Probably look at Benny with the experience but keeping a short leash? Decent depth isn’t usually a Phils problem.

     
  • Posts: 0 maxhole

    good points. i should have clarified, i was responding to the future with mayberry/brown. francisco is def the immediate solution. hopefully he’ll bring greater confidence to the plate this year, along the lines of that shot he put out last year sending the cubs home with tails btw their legs

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    As Phils fans we’ve been spoiled, we expect no less than a player to come into the Phils line-up and star because it’s happened with so many of players under Gillick/Amaro.

    Francisco isn’t likely to be more than a 15/15/.270 as an everyday guy but the Phils are in a great position they can lose a star player and have an immediate replacement that doesn’t greatly affect the chemistry of the line-up. So often you see teams have to go to the market or accelerate the development of a prospect but the top tier teams are usually a step ahead, guess this is proof the Phils are in that group now.

    He’s a guy with talent, hustles, can play D and he’s got the bat of a major league regular and he’ll be making virtually nothing.

    Be it a short or long-term solution Ben Fran will probably be one of the best 3 or so corner outfielders available in the off-season and the Phils don’t need to go to the market or make a serious financial commitment to him.

    ‘Ben Fran’ could be a very big part of the answer to how do you keep the core of the Phillies in tact past 2011…

     
  • Posts: 0 NJ

    ^One thing to add is we’d be foolhardy to expect Francisco to produce anywhere near the power numbers Werth put up. Werth was a monster prospect who’d be around the block before being able to put it together in Philly, Francisco doesn’t have that skillset or billing but he’s going to be a really solid all-around player.

     
  • Posts: 0 schmenkman

    I don’t know if Francisco will develop like Werth has of the last two years, but the comparison is a valid one. Francisco finished 2009 at just about age 28 (born 10/23/81). Werth was at a comparable point at the end of 2007, at age 28.4. Comparing their stats through those years:

    Werth……. 976 ABs, .259/.352/.430, 33 HRs, 155 BBs, 305 Ks
    Francisco.. 914 ABs, .263/.330/.446, 33 HRs, 81 BB, 181 Ks

     
  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    I’m surrounded by Mets fans. Once the season starts, discuss games, records,…. but I don’t know their farm well, details of contracts,…., they don’t know the Phils. To get through the winter, the only place I have to go to find knowledgable Phils fans is the net – usually on this site. I like the the armchair gm discussions, as long as they are well thought out.

    Ben is a nice 4th outfielder for this year, and he’d be more than replacement if one of the guys went down. I think he is a major league starter. In regards to replacing Werth, I don’t care so much about the power if he could get his average up to near 290. While Ibanez is pretty neutral, Ben definitely has better splits against lefties – so expect to see a near platoon situation for evaluation purposes. I could see him getting close to 300 ABs this year, mostly for Ibanez, but spot starts for Vic and Werth (although Ib, Werth, Ben would not be a great defensive outfield). Should be interesting.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Francisco as a platoon player in center (Shane would go back to right) would be a very good idea. I think Dom Brown will be ready though. And please, everybody, understand that Mayberry will never ever play regularly for any major league team, let alone the Phils. He can’t hit.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 schmenkman

    Just FYI, Francisco’s numbers so far are very similar vs. lefties and righties. More power vs. righties, more on base vs. lefties, but overall about the same:

    vs. LHP .260/.348/.422, .770 OPS
    vs. RHP .263/.324/.454, .778 OPS

     
  • Posts: 0 WFC010

    See, and I have been a guy rooting for Ben to have a starting job should Jayson end up walking. Like I said in several posts, “better a young Ben Francisco than an aging and possibly overpriced free agent”

    Some people are trying to say that Mayberry should be given the nod over Francisco due to having greater power potential, but I just don’t see Mayberry as being a starter unless he can do something about his batting. The power is there, but it’s meaningless if he can’t harness it better than he has.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    We had this discussion yesterday… Ben Fran cannot replace Jayson Werth. He’s a nice player but even in his best year, he’s not going to put up Jayson Werth numbers… let’s be clear, that doesn’t mean I don’t think he can start for this team but if you’re talking about adding Ben Fran and subtracting Werth, it’s not even close to equal. Fast forward to 2011, an outfield of Ibanez, Ben Fran and Vic would be a huge downgrade from what we’ve got. Take away a couple of “hangover” games, Werth plays great defense. Looking at the lineup, you would be subtracing our #5 hitter and replacing him with a #6 or #7 hitter (without Werth, Ibanez likely protects Howard and Vic slides up to #6). And Dom Brown really isn’t ready to fill that type of void… if you add him to this roster, the fans will assume that he’s here to replace Jayson Werth and that would be a tremendous mistake. Ben Fran could start for Vic – similar tools, #6-7 hitters, solid against lefties and righties… but you can’t let Werth walk OR you have to be willing to sign a suitable replacement for what he brings to the table (above average power, good speed, solid defense). Those guys are tough to find…

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Regardless of what we think about Frisco, it’s good to speculate… because things change quickly in one season.

    Remember last year? Our biggest concern was can this guy Werth actually protect Howard in the lineup? We all had our doubts about him… and I’m sure that over 90% of us would’ve felt more confident with our lineup on Opening Day 2009 if PAT THE BAT was batting 5th (instead of Werth or Raul). Things changed quickly… Werth proved to be even better than Pat and he suddenly became the righty power bat that the Phillies so desperately need…

     
  • Posts: 0 WFC010

    I don’t think that ANYONE is trying to say that Ben Francisco will equal Jayson Werth, we are merely saying that Ben is a decent in house right-handed option with some(but not Jayson level) power, and I feel he’d at least be a capable starter. We are NOT going to be able to “Replace” Jayson, so the least we can do is at least give a starting job to a decent right-hander and decent fielder in Ben Francisco. We DO need a right handed starter in the outfield, and Ben Francisco looks to be the best option right now after Jayson leaves. Yes, losing Jayson will really hurt us in a lot of ways, but GET USED TO IT!

    He’s not staying unless Ruben can talk him into some sort of backloaded deal of 3-4 years tops, and I doubt that will happen.

     
  • Posts: 0 pheeling it

    I like ben fran. PROOF that the cliff lee deal isn’t the worst possible thing in the world. check this out.

    lost-
    Carrasco, Marson, D’Anaurd, Knapp, Donald, Taylor, Drabek
    2 catchers (big deal), an infielder, and big name outfielder/starter for….

    Ben Fransisco, Roy Halladay, Aumont, Gillies, Rameriez
    4th Outfielder, Best Pitcher, Possible Bull, Possible Shane, Possible Herndon?

    I will take that trade anyday. We swapped Drabek and Taylor, for Halladay. I like Brown and obv. we can obtain any starters we want now.

    Ben Fransisco like the 07 Phillies was shocked by playoffs. This new squad is battle tested, world champion approved.

     
  • Posts: 0 schmenkman

    pheeling it, thanks for the perspective. Can Aumont barbecue?

     
  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    Don’t take this the wrong way, WFC, but I won’t accept that answer. As a fan, I won’t accept the notion that our front office is unable to re-sign or replace Jayson Werth. This is where we, as fans, need to stand up and make it very clear that we aren’t willing to settle.

    If the front office feels like we “understand” they won’t do what it takes and that’s not acceptable… I really don’t want to look beyond this season because this team is built to win it all again (which would be historic) and I feel like this group deserves a distraction-free season but I will take a minute to address the large elephant in the room.

    We all feel good about what the front office has done up to this point but after this season, it gets hairy and RAJ’s success should not give him a mulligan when it comes to Werth, Howard and Rollins. In my opinion, priority #1 is Ryan Howard. But I must admit that #2, 3 and 4 are Jayson Werth… As for Jimmy, if ever there was a player that it would break my heart to see wearing anything other than red pinstripes, it’s Jimmy Rollins and I feel like he has earned the right to play out the remainder of his productive career in Philadelphia. So, what gives? Nothing… I might bend on that but I won’t break. All of those guys need to be re-signed and I think that all of them would love to stay here. Looking at next year, we’ve got $131 million committed to 16 players… that means 9 roster spots need to be filled for about 19 million. Difficult but not impossible.

    Fast forward to 2012; Ibanez’ contract goes away and Dom Brown should be ready… Howard is making $20 million so it’s not going to cost that much more to resign him (it will come down to years with Howard and I think that they’ll find a meeting point). Vic will be a free agent… and a free agent he will be. They’ll have to make a decision with Hamels (and I expect he’ll want to test the market). My point… next year is the toughest year in terms of lack of flexibility. Let’s do what it takes to re-sign Werth and worry about being creative later.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    “We had this discussion yesterday…..Ben Fran cannot replace Jayson Werth.”

    Too many people on here just continually think they can make something out of nothing……in this case making Ben Francisco be a legitimate replacment for Jayson Werth.

    And as it’s been noted over and over again….You can’t transform Ben Fran into this power-hitting slugger.

    Someone said yesterday that if Francisco got something like 550 ABs….a full season….then basen on his HR history…..he should have a home run total somewhere in the low 20s. Werth’s total is/should be/probably will be almost DOUBLE that.

    Plus, defensively Werth is better as well.

    If anything, I could see Francisco platooning next year in multiple positions with Vic, Ibanez and maybe Brown (?). Which wouldn’t be the worst solution if we lose Werth.

    Mayberry as an everyday option??…Forget it.

    ———-

    Manny, you bring up a good point though….about our expectations of Werth last season.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Wait a second…

    I really appreciate what you’re saying O.C.P. …….about “making it very clear that we aren’t willing to settle.”

    But do you really think that the Phillies….RAJ, David Montgomery, whoever……are going to listen to US. Seriously?

    They may listen… But at the end of the day, they’re going to make decisions irregardless of what we think.

    And I’m not blaming them for that. I just think that it’s a little maybe naive to think that is even something of a possibility. And I mean no offense when I say that.

     
  • Posts: 0 schmenkman

    “You can’t transform Ben Fran into this power-hitting slugger.”

    Werth had the better pedigree, and therefore presumably more upside, but at the same point in their careers, hitting-wise they look very similar. Again, this is Werth at the end of ’07 (age 28.4), and Francisco at the end of ’09 (almost 28):

    Werth……. 976 ABs, .259/.352/.430, 33 HRs, 155 BBs, 305 Ks
    Francisco.. 914 ABs, .263/.330/.446, 33 HRs, 81 BB, 181 Ks

    You don’t often see the blossoming of a slugger in their late 20s, and chances are Werth is an unusual case and we should not expect Francisco to follow the same path. Just saying, what would we have said two years ago if someone predicted that there would be a Werth vs. Howard debate in 2010?

     
  • Posts: 0 Phylan

    Werth always had a dramatically higher ceiling than Ben Francisco does though, he was just hampered by wrist injuries at the start of his career, so you can’t quite compare their numbers like that. Werth also has tremendous plate patience which is a huge part of his game, and Francisco hasn’t shown that. Ben Francisco is good, and it’s great to have him as a fourth outfielder, but he’s never going to be Jayson Werth, ever.

     
  • Posts: 0 PhxPhilly

    Werth is nearly a superstar. He is just about perfect for stats with power, walks, and steals. He strikes out about average for a slugger and hits below average for an all-star. He is nearly irreplaceable. So are Howard, Utley, Halladay, and maybe even Madson.

    I want Werth more than Ibanez but both of them had similar years at about .900 OPS in 2009, plus Ibanez had a better steal percentage (he was not caught stealing). Ibanez is on the decline and Werth on the rise and that will be reflected in the salaries next year. If there is a way to trade Ibanez’s salary to keep Werth the Phillies would do it but Ibanez has some no trade protection so it will be very difficult.

    For the phans who want to keep Werth just agree to pay MUCH more for game tickets and any other revenue stream the team can muster. I’m not sure anyone knows for sure what the team’s real budget is but it appears they have one so for discussion purposes it makes sense to keep that in mind.

    Keep bringing on the creative solutions. (Mine was to trade Victorino and keep Lee. Though Werth does not appear to be an everyday CF which would’ve been my plan. Francisco would be the primary OF with Dobbs/Gload and Mayberry/Berry as potentials. All would bat 7th. Still could try the same thing next season to free up money.)

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    “Ibanez had a better steal percentage (he was not caught stealing).”

    Ibanez was 4 for 4 last season
    Werth was 20 for 23 last season

    I’d MUCH rather have Jayson Werth attempt to steal a base than Raul Ibanez.
    He’s much more of a base-stealer and the fact that Ibanez’ steal percentage is higher doesn’t mean squat (4 for 4 is too small a sample).

    ______

    Francisco, Dobbs, Gload, Mayberry, and Quinten Berry are NOT everyday players. I could see some of them being very good role players and 4th outfielders (esp Ben Fran)…….but that’s about it.

     
  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    I think Ben could be an everyday OF, but not near the level of a player like Werth. He’s perfect though as a 4th OF because he can aply all 3 spots and is a solid all around player.

    He who shall not be named is being shut down for 5 days. Awwww. Abdoman strains are trickey and can linger on for a long time. Oh and we have Halladay!

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/spring2010/news/story?id=5030851

     
  • Posts: 0 WFC010

    Trading away he shall not be named is looking better and better, considering all the problems and setbacks he’s been having lately. Looks likely that he will be this years ’09 Hamels!

    Anyway, back to a more WERTHwhile discussion:

    let’s just hope that Ruben can work something out with Jayson soon, and I am TRYING to remain hopeful that he can be extended somehow. The problem will not just be salary per year, but also the length of the contract. RAJ does not like to give out long contracts, and I think the most he’s likely to offer is 3 years/4th year option, which Jayson MAY be willing to go along for, depending on what’s involved and the pay etc.

     
  • Posts: 0 Jeff of Nova

    Francisco has a lot of upside, and could come in as a nice replacement for Werth. Just remember that if Werth goes elsewhere, we most likely will not fill that spot with a superstar especially if we are planning on keeping Howard, Utley, Hamels, etc longer. Brown coming in cheap and Ben being cheap and getting good performance out of them after Ibanez bolts as well.

    For once in our history a big trade is looking more in our favor with (he who shall not be named) hits the DL.

    Go Phils

     
  • Posts: 0 Phan stuck in NYC

    Fact is there’s no real full “replacement” for JDub and if we can’t keep him then we’ll need one. Truth is I wouldn’t want a replacement even if there was one. I like the orig JDub. In my mind the answer is – do what it takes to keep him for the next several yrs at which point his powers should become questionable. Right? Just make the best attempt to keep him and the front off should stop w/the weasley PR nonsense about upcoming cheaper ‘superstars’ in the minors and gee we need to watch how JDub plays this season before anyone decides what they should do about THE JAYSON WERTH SITUATION. Jeeze I’m already exhausted with it. 3 yrs is not the “dynasty” that every Philadelphian wants. The front office needs to lock in the guys that got this team where it is at present: the team that all the other players want to be on; the team that all the other teams dread playing; the team that all the sports writers point to as THE ONE to beat. RAJ and Co. need to face it, JDub is solidly one of the guys that helped get the Phillies here and if they want to stay here then they need to keep him. Yeah he’s basically worked his entire life since 7 yrs old for this yr to pay off but he’s never seemed like an unreasonable guy on any level. I think he wants to stay and why wouldn’t he (except for the front office)? I think he’d be willing to take a lower 1st yr, backend it and get the pay off later.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brian Sr. of CO

    I would hope that Ben Fran would be filling in for Ibanez this season to give him some rest every few series. If he looks that good, put him in. If he fills in nicely, I would sign Werth and Ben Fran. I know Ibanez has one more year on his contract, however, how was it written? Was it written that the Phillies would still owe the money if they cut him? I doubt they could trade him. But im sure there are options. We all know after 2011 latest, Ibanez is (or should be) done. Werth still a a few years left. I would rather see an outfield of Fran, Vic and Werth, then Vic, Werth and someone else.

     
  • Posts: 0 shag beta sigma delta

    What some of you are missing is there is more ways to score runs than the HR. You do not need 4 guys hitting 30+ HRs on a team to be WS contenders. I am not saying this in Ben or not but you put a RH bat behind Howard that hits 290-300 with few K’S and a good OB% that would protect him. Even a Guy like Vic who hits doubles and a decent average that would protect the big guy. So if Jayson walks and you want to keep the other core members of this team you do not need a superstar in RF Dom Brown will replace Raul in 2012, and a guy like Ben in RF would give you the money to sign Howard Uttley Hamels and even JRoll to another contract. You could keep these guys for 3-4 more years and if Brown pans out you start paying him then too. You can not have 8 14-20 million dollar a year guys on a team unless you are the Yankees or Red Sox.

     
  • Posts: 0 IronPig

    You know, I’m sick and tired of people bashing Mayberry. He had a hell of a lot better MLB debut than Werth did. Werth sucked, he was given time and he blossomed. What makes you think Mayberry can’t? I like Francisco and we got him from practically nothing however. Mayberry has just as good defense, a WAAAAY better arm, tons more power. So he slumped and couldnt hit off speed pitches and struggled against righties.. this will develope! Not many players come to the Majors and preform like Mayberry did. He homered off future hall of fame pitchers “Petite, Price” not scrubs. Plate discipline will develope so don’t automatically throw him out on what you read from “scouts” These are the same scouts that put Carrasco and Jason Donald in the top 5 prospect list.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Excellent points, shag.

    Too many people get caught up in the excitement and magnitude of a home run. But sometimes it’s actually MORE exciting to watch someone rip a double into the gap or even bloop a single behind the infield.

    I certainly don’t want “eight 14-20 million dollar a year guys” on this team…..because then I probably won’t be able to afford to go to as many games as I like to each year.

     
  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    You have to keep Werth. It’s that simple. The Phils payroll goes up 22.5 million in 2011 mostly because of Halladay. Moyer+Romero saves about 12 million so now it’s 10.5 so there’s just not enough for Werth unless you can unload Ibanez’s 11.5.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    I’d love to see the Phillies try, psujoe!!

     
  • Posts: 0 WFC010

    If Ibanez has a good enough first half this year, we may be able to trade him off and not ask for much in return besides maybe some prospects. He’s still in his (late) 30′s, so he’s not completely untradeable yet.

     
  • Posts: 0 Phan stuck in NYC

    Agreed psujoe. It wouldn’t be Werth costing this team. For the most part it would be RAJ’s man-crush, Halladay. But you can bet the suits would make it seem as though Werth was costing them. And damn it’ll look a whole lot worse if Werth winds up being signed by The Evil Empire (see the family / Reggie connection & NY POST article). But the Phils’ll lose him if they don’t make a solid attempt at keeping him.

    Owners don’t raise ticket prices because the players cost more (though they love us to believe that). They raise ticket prices to keep their profit margin where they want it. Blaming players for the ticket cost is like blaming actors for the price of your movie ticket. Only 1 – 3% of actors in SAG cost the studios anything. It’s close to the same with players. Costs are up all down the line and the guys at the top want to keep their profits up. In the end, the little guy pays. That’s all. Why should things change in the world now, lol?

    Btw, why was Ibanez signed for so much, does anyone know? I like him. But, wow, too much money. Poor guy is having a terrible spring – not that that really means anything, but we could be stuck. And if tracing things back to his paycheck prevents us from keeping another more valuable player – ayyy.

     
 
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