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2010 Player Reviews

Year In Review: David Herndon

Posted by Paul Boye, Mon, November 29, 2010 03:30 PM Comments: 17

With the 17th pick in the 2009 Rule 5 Draft, the Phillies plucked Kenneth David Herndon from the Angels’ farm system. As the Rule 5 Draft rarely yields significant Major League talent, nothing much was expected of Herndon and, well, nothing much was delivered. Herndon was adequate, falling victim at times to equal parts bad luck and a shaky arsenal of stuff and settling for an ERA of 4.30 when all was said and done.

Having finished the year with the Phillies, Herndon is now a full-fledged member of the organization, no longer required to be on the active 25-man roster in order to be kept. For that, he deserves some recognition. Sometimes, Rule 5 picks don’t last the year, and are offered back to their original franchise, exposed to waivers, and subsequently lost. Herndon may not have had the most impressive rookie year, but doing well enough to stay up at the Show for an entire year shouldn’t be discarded entirely.

On the whole, Herndon pitched 52.1 innings with 29 strikeouts and 17 walks, inducing a big 56.9 percent groundball rate, a figure that came in 16th in all of baseball among pitchers with 50-plus IP. That’s what Herndon is: a sinkerballer who will only strike out a few more people than Kyle Kendrick, but get plenty of groundballs in the meantime. Of course, that philosophy can backfire quickly, and Herndon’s .354 BABIP against was the 12th-highest mark in baseball. Part of that was bad luck, part of it subpar stuff in some outings, but it’s clearly not all Herndon’s fault.

Herndon seems likely to start the season in Triple-A, where some talk suggests he may be stretched out to become a starter, a position he frequented in the minors before the 2009 season. Failing that, the organization may instead opt to refine his secondary stuff in the hopes of keeping him in full-time relief.

In any case, there seems to be some latent potential within Herndon. Being able to induce as many groundballs as he does is a valuable skill, and if he can somehow refine his stuff enough to increase his strikeouts even a little bit, Herndon could be quite useful. He won’t be a Madson; that just won’t ever happen, but a career of ineffectiveness is far from a foregone conclusion.

So, all that said, 2010 was far from a world-beating year for Mr. Herndon. He took his lumps, made a jump from Double-A to the Bigs and survived. I find that admirable, but that admiration can only obscure the end results so much. The numbers are simultaneously better than and worse than they appear on the surface, so it’s difficult to label just what Herndon was or forecast what he will be. Here’s to an improved 2011, David.

PAUL’S GRADE: 5.5/10

  • 17 Comments
 

Year in Review: Antonio Bastardo

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, November 28, 2010 12:20 PM Comments: 17

By: Jeff Nelson

Antonio Bastardo’s 2010 campaign had its ups and downs … literally. He spent most of his time alternating between the big show (25G, 18.2IP) and the Phillies triple-A affiliate, Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (20G, 17.1IP). After missing time on the DL due to a tender left elbow, Bastardo also threw three scoreless-innings for the Clearwater Threshers in a rehab assignment in mid-July. While he did make the Phils post-season roster for a second consecutive season, Bastardo was used just once, allowing one base-runner in two opportunities.

If there’s one thing Bastardo excels at, it’s striking out hitters. Keep in mind we’re dealing with very small sample sizes when it comes to relievers, but across all three levels Bastardo K’d 59 batters in only 39 innings of work, good for an absurd 16.8 K/9. Minor league numbers aside, the 12.5 K/9 he had at the big league level was certainly well above average for a reliever and his career average of 9.6, which in turn is still well above league-average for any major league pitcher.

Along with the uptick in punch-outs, Bastardo also saw his BB/9 jump about a walk per inning from 3.4 to 4.3. Control has never been Bastardo’s biggest asset, but with his live arm and the ability to retire hitters via the strikeout, the added walks obviously aren’t welcome, but they shouldn’t hurt him as bad as they would, say Chad Durbin or J.C. Romero.

Despite sporting solid peripherals, Bastardo’s 4.34ERA was a little on the high side. If there are any fellow Baseball Prospectus-nerds out there, you’ll see his 2.90 SIERA is a better indication of what his run prevention should have been. Actually I’m surprised to see his SIERA that low considering his 34.7% groundball rate, but again, those strikeouts make up for his shortcomings.

I’m not sure why Charlie Manual didn’t use Bastardo more in 2010 as he was clearly the superior left-handed weapon out of the bullpen over J.C. Romero. Maybe it’s because Charlie’s loyalty to the players who helped win the WFC back in ’08 clouds his judgment at times? Maybe it’s because Charlie doesn’t trust younger players? Obviously in 2011 this won’t be an issue, but I’m wondering if, perhaps, Bastardo was somewhat underutilized last season when he was on the 25-man roster.

Going forward I fully expect Bastardo to be in the Phillies plans for the next several years as a reliever. And while I don’t think those high strikeout rates will remain as high as they were in 2010, he should be a cheap, effective option out of the bullpen come opening day 2011 (and of course they won’t need him on opening day with Doc on the bump).

2010 (Phillies): 2-0, 25G, 18.2IP, 19H, 9ER, 1HR, 9BB, 26SO

2010 (Minors): 1-1, 23G, 20.1IP, 15H, 4ER, 6BB, 33SO

Jeff’s Grade: 7.1/10

  • 17 Comments
 

Year In Review: J.C. Romero

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Fri, November 26, 2010 03:00 PM Comments: 15

J.C. Romero, in my opinion, is one of those guys that kind of got lost in the mix of things this past season.  Although he made 60 appearances, many of them escape my memory. Romero was always one of the most animated relievers leaving the field after a big out. But when 2009 started off with a suspension and continued through injuries, it seemed he lost some of that fire he had once stoked.

Romero started 2010 on the DL after having surgery in the off season on his pitching elbow.  Once returning to the Phillies, Charlie Manuel used him mainly against lefties and usually only for an out or two.  He was asked to close at times converting three of six save opportunities.

As he did in 2009, Romero had some issues with his control.  For the second straight year his walk count was one higher than his strikeouts (29/28).  One of the biggest things, literally, about this season was Romero’s WHIP.  Although not a career high at 1.61, it was his highest since his 2003 season with Minnesota.

Romero’s ERA was up again this year after staying below three for the past three season.  His mark of 3.68, although high for Romero, was pretty much even keel for the Phillies bullpen who as a whole had an ERA of 3.67.

When you look at Romero’s numbers from a distance they don’t seem that bad.  A sub-four ERA with 60 appearances for a spot reliever is not the best, but I guess it could have been worse.  However, when you have a guy like Romero who is supposed to a lefty specialist and he is struggling with his command it’s hard to justify keeping him around.

This is exactly how Ruben Amaro Jr. felt.  The Phillies opted to decline his $4.5 million club option for next season.  They will end up giving him a $250,000 buyout and allow him to become a free agent.

Amaro had this to say about the reliever, “He had some struggles this year and last year a little bit, health-wise and command-wise.  He’s not someone that’s not in the picture for us. This doesn’t preclude us from having a further relationship with him, but at least at this time, his $4.5 million salary isn’t warranted at this stage of the game.”

I don’t see the Phillies going after Romero this offseason.  I think they will look outside the organization for a lefty for the pen.

Overall, I feel Romero underachieved in the position he was supposed to hold.  His walks and ERA, in the amount of innings pitched,  were a little too high for my comfort zone.  However, he did get some bigs out.  Which is why I am 50/50 on him this season.  Hence my grade.

2010 numbers: 60 games, 36.2 innings, 1-0, 3.68 ERA, 28 K, 29 BB, 1.61 WHIP

KIERAN’S GRADE:  5/10

PAT GALLEN’S GRADE: 3.9/10 – Romero was paid a lot of money and simply wasn’t very good. He was good for nearly a walk an inning when he did pitch, meaning he gave the other team a head start with a man on base. For a guy who pitches less than an inning on average, that can’t happen.

  • 15 Comments
 

Year In Review: Danys Baez

Posted by Amanda Orr, Mon, November 22, 2010 06:00 PM Comments: 11

When the Phillies signed Danys Baez to a two-year, $5.25 million contract, I thought that this was a decent deal.  He had a few good years; a few not-so-good.  He’d be taking over Chan Ho Park’s role, how bad could it be?  About a year later, I’m regretting those thoughts.

Before the season started, Baez was believed to be a reliable late-inning reliever.  Especially with certain injuries to the bullpen, Baez was visioned as a seventh or eighth inning guy.

Baez struggled from the get-go.  Unfortunately, Charlie Manuel kept him in the same role.  Appearing in 51 games, Baez received many chances but he still failed to reach any sort of expectation.  It wasn’t until later in the season when Manuel decided that Baez pitched his way out of his job.

Every time Baez entered the game, I joked that the Phillies should just hand the opponents five runs.  Sadly, that’s basically what happened;  Baez had an earned run average of 5.48 in 47.2 innings.  The poor statistics do not end there.  He averaged 1.64 walks and hits per innings pitched.  He also allowed 10.4 hits and 4.3 walks per nine innings.

The only time Baez did not hurt the team was when he was sent to the disabled list with back-spasms in August.  Even when he returned, he continued to struggle.  Due to his unsatisfactory performance, Baez was left off the playoff roster.

It’s tough to talk positively about the 2010 performance of Danys Baez.  However, there were a few games in which he did get the job done, and he deserves credit for that.  Also, I’d rather have Baez’s contract rather than Brandon Lyons or Fernando Rodney’s, who were other options last off season.

The Phillies hope that Baez will rebound next season.  Don’t expect him to strike a ton of people out, but he’s a ground ball pitcher who has had some success in the past, being an All Star in 2005.  He has one year left on his contract, so he’ll get another chance.  But if he continues to fail, those Philadelphia boos are not disappearing.

AMANDA’S GRADE: 1.5/10

  • 11 Comments
 

Year in Review: Ben Francisco

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Fri, November 19, 2010 06:30 PM Comments: 15

-Ah, the year was 2009. And the Phillies were eyeing a left handedpitcher to take them to the promise land. The mighty GM Ruben Amaro proved fearless sending talented young players to Cleveland and got their ace. Even better, he came with a friend. His name was Ben Francisco. And that’s where the story starts.

Ok ok, this was not a fairy tale. We all know how it eventually ended. However, the pick up of Ben Francisco to supplement the Philliesalready talent laden outfield proved beneficial. In 2010, Francisco served, once again, off the bench as a fourth outfielder and reliable right handed bat for late inning match ups.

As a fourth outfielder, Francisco’s line of .268/.327/.441 worked perfectly into what the Phillies were looking for. He gave them a viable option off the bench who was a sound fielder and could hit for power. BenFran had six home runs and 28 RBIs in 179 at bats. Although it was his lowest power production since 2007, if given the chance to play an entire season Francisco could easily put up 20 and 70 as an everyday player.

Francisco’s above average quickness and ability to run the bases added to the already fast line up the Phillies had with (a healthy) Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth. He had 13 doubles and eight stolen bases in eight attempts.
Defensively, Phillies fans saw Francisco in all three outfield positions. He started 17 games in left, 10 in right and one in center. Overall he saw time in 45 games in the field. Obviously talented enough to play all over the outfield, he backed it up with a 1.000 fielding percentage in 63 chances to go along with three outfield assists.

Francisco is eligible for salary arbitration this offseason and I don’t see any reason for the Phillies not to make him an offer. With the Werth sweepstakes heating up, Amaro may look inside the organization to replace the right fielder and platooning Francisco and Domonic Brown seems a viable option. And at $470,000, Francisco isn’t going to cost much. The Phillies can use some of that extra money and bulk up their bullpen.

Francisco was very good at situational hitting. As a pinch hitter he hit .282 (11 hits). His numbers with (gasp) runners in scoring position were also very good. He hit .306 and had 20 RBIs. With two outs and RISP he went 7 for 23 with eight RBIs.

I think Francsico was a great fourth outfielder for the Phillies this pastseason and could thrive offensively with at bats coming more consistently.

KIERAN’S GRADE: 7.3/10

PAT GALLEN’S GRADE: 6.9/10 – Ben Francisco did his job this season, although most of us would like to see him contribute a little more. Can’t help it that Charlie won’t use him. He’s a great 4th outfielder and will be again next year.

  • 15 Comments
 

Year in Review: Shane Victorino

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, November 18, 2010 10:00 AM Comments: 13

Below are three different stat lines:

.268/.343/.479 16 HR 84 R 63 RBI 26 SB

.259/.327/.410 18 HR 84 R 69 RBI 34 SB

.255/.329/.444 22 HR 91 R 77 RBI 29 SB

Can you guess which line was Shane Victorino’s? The middle one. The top one belongs to Andres Torres and the bottom line to Drew Stubbs. However, if you asked the majority of people who they’d want on their team, many would answer Victorino.If he wasn’t Hawaiian and in a big market would Shane Victorino be a household name among baseball fans?

In 2010, Shane was kind of a man without a home. Over the course of the season, he hit in every spot in the lineup except for cleanup and 8th. The one spot where he seemed to put his best numbers together was in the leadoff spot while Jimmy Rollins was out or moved down.

In the leadoff spot, Victorino went .276/.345/.810 in 82 games. Perhaps, some of Victorino’s struggles can be attributed to the fact he couldn’t get comfortable in the lineup. That being said, he did set a new career-high in home runs.

My big gripe with Victorino this season was the fact claims to be a switch-hitter. However his struggles against right-handed pitchers this year were brutal.

Shane’s numbers against RH: .235/.306/.692 12 HR 47 RBI 38 BB 58K in 422 at bats

Shane’s numbers against LH:  .321/.381/.921 6 HR 22 RBI  15 BB 21K in 165 at bats.

Those differences are staggering. As good as Shane was against lefties, he was that bad against righties. Now I don’t think he should be a platoon guy, but at the same time, I wonder if Phillies coaches ever considered batting Shane exclusively from the right side just to check things out and see the results for a short period of time.

Victorino added another Gold Glove to his closest last week. As there are with many Gold Glove choices, this one came with a little scrutiny. Victorino is known around baseball for having a great glove, but once again I wonder if he wasn’t a known-name from the island of Hawaii would that be the case. Vic’s UZR/150 came in at a respectable 3.3. Not bad, but good for only 14th among qualified NL outfielders. A quick search on the list, and you would see the aforementioned Torres was tops in the NL at a whopping 24.8

When all was said and done Victorino put together a solid year, down from his 2008 and 2009 campaign, but solid nonetheless. However, I would not be surprised if Ruben Amaro Jr. attempts to move him this offseason.

NICK’S GRADE: 6.2/10

  • 13 Comments
 

Year in Review: Jayson Werth

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, November 17, 2010 02:00 PM Comments: 20

By: Jeff Nelson

In a recent episode of Family Feud, 100 people were surveyed and asked “name something that gets better with age”.  The number two answer was wine.  The number one answer: Jayson Werth.

Unlike former teammate, Raul Ibanez, Jayson Werth’s tenure in Philadelphia will probably go down as one of the most valuable free agent signings in franchise history.  Give Pat Gillick credit for not giving up on this kid back in 2006 after he was non-tendered by the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Prior to signing his first deal with the Phillies, Werth had trouble staying healthy.  And when he was healthy on the diamond he wasn’t producing enough.  Once he arrived to Philadelphia however, and was eventually given a chance to be the everyday right fielder, he never looked back.  Aside from Chase Utley, one could make a case Werth has been the most important hitter in this Phillies lineup since 2008.

For the third consecutive year Werth’s OPS+, wOBA and the amount of women who wanted to marry him were on the rise.  He remained a prototypical middle of the order hitter for this team, giving Ryan Howard protection in a lefty saturated lineup.  Despite hitting 9 fewer HRs in 2010 (36 in ’09 and 27 in ’10) Werth was actually able to raise his SLG from the previous year (.506 to .532).  Werth was a doubles-machine in 2010, piling 20 more doubles onto his previous campaign for a total of 46, which led all RFs.

Werth’s kryptonite in 2010 was plain and simple, and for whatever reason he could not hit with RISP.  There is no getting around it.  He flat out stunk.  In fact, I heard the best way to get Jayson Werth out last year was to put a runner on second.  As most of you know, hitting with RISP is not a skill and for the most part it rarely fluctuates so drastically from a hitter’s career average the way Werth’s did in 2010.  In other words, his paltry .186 AVG with RISP was merely a blip on the radar.  I would bet my life savings Werth will hit much better next year with men on base.

Another knock on Werth from last year was his defense.  Based on UZR/150, Werth was a minus 7.2 runs last year patrolling the OF.  I don’t buy into defensive metrics as much as others do, especially if when not used during a three-year period.  In my opinion, Werth was average last year at the very least.

Finally, in the NLCS, the only one who seemed to get a big hit or reach base was Jayson Werth.  He was by far the Phillies most productive hitter against the eventual world champions.  If Ruben Amaro Jr. can’t get creative enough and bring Werth back while keeping the budget intact, this lineup will take a significant blow.  No one on the current roster can replace what he has done and I’m afraid no free agent can either.

This almost feels like a eulogy.  It’s tough putting someone in perspective especially when you know they aren’t coming back.  Good luck at your next stop, Jayson.  You will be missed.

JEFF’S GRADE: 8.6/10

PAT GALLEN’S GRADE: 7.9/10 – I can’t seem to get past the fact that he was so incredibly bad with runners on base. He had a fine season, but if he’d even hit a little bit with guys in scoring position, the offense would have looked a little stronger. He will be missed.

MICHAEL BAUMANN’S GRADE: 8.3/10 – Say what you will about The Slump, but Werth ted the team in games played, runs, XBH, doubles, slugging percentage, total bases, walks, and offensive WAR. All in all, an excellent swan song in red pinstripes for a one-time scrap heap pickup.

NICK STASKIN’S GRADE: 8.8/10 – Werth provided a five-tool ability that Philadelphia hasn’t seen in its outfield in years. While much was made of his numbers with RISP, look at how productive his year still was. Replacing that kind of production will not be easy if a miracle isn’t performed in the weeks to come.

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Year in Review: Raul Ibanez

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, November 15, 2010 06:00 PM Comments: 56

RAUUUUUUUUUL!  It was a name/phrase often heard throughout Citizens Bank Park in 2009. Shirts were made, children were given the name Raul at birth and the city was in a frenzy over one, Raul Ibanez.

A year later the love affair that everyone – except Nick “The Beerman” Staskin, it seems – enjoyed, ended. It was a quick courtship that ended in disappointment in 2010, with finger pointing as to why he was inked to a three-year deal at such an advanced baseball age.

For three months, Raul Ibanez looked completely lost at the plate. On June 6, Ibanez hit his lowest of lows with his batting average sinking to .229 and his OPS down to .700. On June 6, 2009, he was hitting .330 with an OPS of 1.070. Oh, the difference a year makes.

“RAUUUUUUUL’s” turned to “boo’s” and before you knew it, people were trying to figure a way to get him out of town by the deadline. He stayed and eventually turned it around, but those who had believed he was worth $31.5 million over three seasons – the deal he signed prior to the 2009 season – were hard to find. You can’t blame those people for turning on him, either. After an incredible first half last season – one in which he smacked 22 homers – Ibanez was a straight dud this past campaign.

Using a hot streak to end the season and boost his overall numbers, the left-fielder finished the season hitting .275 with 16 home runs and 83 RBI. His slugging on-base percentage of .347 was actually better than in 2009 and was right on par with his career average. However, his .444 slugging was a letdown following an ’09 of .552.

Yes, many comparisons go back to the 2009 season, but how can they not? We were spoiled by more than two incredible months from Ibanez followed by a post-all-star break that was lacking, but sufficient.

This past season, it was ugly in the beginning for Raul, then slowly trended upward until its conclusion.

In the postseason, Ibanez failed to show up when the chips were down, hitting just .222 with a terrible .563 OPS. He did not go yard in the playoffs, which highlighted his quickly-disappearing power and slowing bat.

Sadly, Raul might be even worse with the glove than the bat, as hard as that is to believe. Ibanez’s plus-minus – a defensive metric which represents the number of plays the player made above/below the number that an average fielder would make – was a -6 in 2010. Over a three-year span, Ibanez’s +/- is -33. Only two left fielders that qualify were worse. Clearly, it’s not a good sign when the glove can’t even come close to making up for the bat.

But, such is life with Raul Ibanez in left field. He’s still a fan favorite for his work ethic and stoic demeanor although it’s getting harder and harder to watch him struggle mightily, waving through fastballs and guessing wrong on breaking pitches in the dirt.

Overall, it was a telling year for Raul. It proves he is certainly on the downside of his career and is being grossly overpaid. The question is now, can the Phillies unload that money this offseason? That’s another question for another time.

PAT’S GRADE: 5/10: Raul was just kind of “there”. There were more bad times than good throughout the season and with that contract looming large, it’s hard to say he was anything but average.

NICK’S GRADE: 3.3/10 I’m giving Raul a 3.3 for the fact that he was only productive for about 33percent of the season, and the other 2/3 he was brutal. You can almost predict the six-hopper to the second baseman to end an inning when he was facing a lefty. Next year, he should be nothing more than an overpriced platoon member.

  • 56 Comments
 

Phillies Nation Year in Review

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, November 07, 2010 01:58 PM Comments: 5

Here is a list of the Phillies players we’ve reviewed so far this offseason. Make sure you go back and do a review of your own if you haven’t aleardy. As always, leave your grades in the comment section.

We’ll continue to touch on the rest of the roster as the winter progresses, so keep an eye out for the outfield and pitching staff up next:

Year in Review: Ryan Howard

Year in Review: Chase Utley

Year in Review: Placido Polanco

Year in Review: Jimmy Rollins

Year in Review: Wilson Valdez

Year in Review: Mike Sweeney

Year in Review: Greg Dobbs

Year in Review: Dom Brown

Year in Review: Ross Gload

Year in Review: Brian Schneider

  • 5 Comments
 

Year in Review: Brian Schneider

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Sun, November 07, 2010 11:00 AM Comments: 10

“Schneider is barely worth owning in NL-only Fantasy Leagues.”

That was a quote from CBSsports’s profile page for the Phillies back up back stop.  To say this sums up Schneider’s season with Philadelphia this year isn’t fair, but it isn’t too far off either.

Schneider started 38 games this season playing second fiddle to fan favorite Carlos Ruiz.  Having played his whole career inside the NL East, Schneider was signed December of ’09 for his third division team.  Fourth if you count Montreal and Washington separately.

Now I have never played professional baseball so I have no clue what it takes to come off the bench every fifth or sixth day and catch a baseball game.  I can’t imagine it is the easiest thing to do and then (to quote Ted Williams) attempt to hit a round ball with a round bat; squarely.

Schneider’s season was mediocre at best.  Defensively he did perform very well.  He boasted a .993 fielding percentage committing only two errors in 276 chances.  Unfortunately his offensive stat line of .240/.345/.384 had him sitting well below the average of the league.  He added four homers and 15 RBIs to his stat sheet.

To be fair we can’t really compare Schneider to everyday players.  Like I said before, it is hard to come in once a week and be asked to perform at a top level.  And looking at every back up catcher would push me way over my word count comfort level.  So for your sake I have chosen three teams to look at; the other three playoff teams from the National League.

Inside the Phillies division, the Braves had David Ross backing up All Star Brian McCann.  Ross had a decent year starting 33 games, hitting .289 and knocking in 28 runs.  Defensively he had a few more chances than Schneider and committed only two additional errors (4).

The World Champion Giants (too soon?) couldn’t even get by with starting Buster Posey everyday.  So when he wasn’t starting, and going through puberty, Eli Whiteside was earning valuable experience catching their pitching staff.  Whiteside, like Ross, started less games than Schneider but put up similar numbers.  He hit .238 and had four homers.

The Reds starting catcher Ramon Hernandez only started 87 games so Ryan Hanigan, his backup, was able to start 58 games in his own right.  Hanigan, having the most opportunities definitely made the best of his chances.  He hit .300 and had 40 RBIs.  His defense was very similar to Schneider’s with a .991 fielding percentage.

So after all this, Brian Schneider was your Philadelphia Phillies back up catcher.  And even with not comparing him to everyday players, I still didn’t grade him favorably.

KIERAN’S GRADE: 4.3/10

NICK’S GRADE: 6.5/10 Schneider gave the Phillies a valid backup at catcher. Big hitting catchers don’t grow on trees, and Schneider’s numbers as a starter were quite serviceable for a catcher: .265/.366/.425.

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