M’s To Make Decision on Garland

Dave · March 21, 2013 at 11:16 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

You’ve likely read by now that Jon Garland has an opt-out clause in his contract on Friday, and so the Mariners have to tell him he’s going to make the team or let him become a free agent. This is actually mandated by the most recent CBA, though Garland’s agent apparently negotiated his opt out to be a few days earlier than all the other veterans on minor league deals.

Anyway, Garland’s going to make the team. The Mariners can say that they haven’t made the decision yet, and hey, maybe they haven’t, but they want another veteran in the rotation and Garland fits the Kevin Millwood old-guy-strike-thrower mold. They’ll announce it at some point tomorrow, but you can start penciling Garland into the rotation right now.

It will be noted that the Mariners will have to open up a 40 man roster spot for Garland, since he’s in camp as a non-roster invitee, but with the inevitable Casper Wells trade on the near horizon — seriously, Jason Bay playing center field should tell you all you need to know about whether this is even actually a real “battle” — they’ll have a spot for Garland before opening day.

Oh, and you should start preparing for Erasmo Ramirez to head to Tacoma at the beginning of the year. He only threw a couple of innings in relief tonight, and Wedge noted that they could “stretch him back out if they need to”, with everything after the if being the key phrase there. If they were going to carry Erasmo as one of their first five guys, he wouldn’t be pitching a couple of innings in relief 10 days before the season starts. I’ve already noted that I think the idea of Erasmo losing out on a rotation spot to Blake Beavan is silly, but at this point, silly decisions are becoming the norm again. Hopefully Ramirez pitches well enough in Tacoma that the Mariners remember that he’s good when Beavan is getting torched by Major League hitters in April.


45 Responses to “M’s To Make Decision on Garland”

  1. kwozzymoto on March 21st, 2013 11:51 pm

    Looks like this years rotation is gonna be Felix, Iwakuma and 3 guys who are about as entertaining to see pitch as watching paint dry. Whatever.
    I don’t like rooting for players on this team to fail, but if any of those 3 suck I won’t be losing any sleep over it. Hopefully Wedge will have a quick hook.

  2. Westside guy on March 21st, 2013 11:59 pm

    I’d actually prefer it if Z had a short hook – I’m tired of Wedge already. I swear it’s as if he actively tries to make the team worse.

    In the end, though, blame for silly roster decisions should probably fall on Zduriencik’s shoulders.

  3. kwozzymoto on March 22nd, 2013 12:20 am

    It’s just frustrating that the Mariners have at least 3 young starting pitchers in Ramirez, Maurer and Hultzen who could really benefit from getting big league experience and are plenty talented enough to make this rotation, yet they’ll be passed up for guys who have no real future with this organization.

    It’s just stupid, irrational old school baseball thinking that is detrimental not only to the present, but also the future of this team.

    Sure, we can all assume that things will be better in time and Wedge will eventually come around to the correct line of thinking, but I’m really not convinced he has the mental capacity to think that way. What has he done to prove he will? It seems like the only way he plays the young guys is if his hand is forced and he really has no veteran option available.

  4. FamousMark on March 22nd, 2013 12:21 am

    “…at this point, silly decisions are becoming the norm again.”

    Ugh, so true. It gives me this weird feeling that the organization is backsliding, even though Zunino, Hultzen, Walker, Franklin, et al are ostensibly just a year or two away.

  5. maqman on March 22nd, 2013 3:04 am

    I just hope they don’t add Bonderman to the rotation too. Too bad MoMo Ramirez had a bad spell at the wrong time but he’ll be in their rotation eventually and for some time. I’m guessing they will go with Beavan over Maurer just to reduce Maurer’s service time activation. I don’t have a problem with Beavan though, he’ll probably never get a Cy Young Award vote but he’s a bit better than league average and with this teams offensive support he’ll have more room for error than the past two seasons.

  6. bookbook on March 22nd, 2013 3:15 am

    Maqman, so far Beaven has been better that replacement, but much worse than average (according to bref). At 3.9 K/9, he’s done well to survive.

    If his new delivery gets him up to average, that will be impressive.

    I miss the days when Dave wasn’t sanguine about the M’s front office making wrong decisions…

  7. lesch2k on March 22nd, 2013 7:11 am

    I know this is a mariners blog but imagine how the Cincinnati SABR fans feel now that Aroldis Chapman was named a low-leverage relief pitcher.

  8. stevemotivateir on March 22nd, 2013 7:25 am

    It astounds me that a manager in MLB could actually appear comfortable with not just one terrible outfielder, but three!

    Seriously, who in their right mind could look at a roster and say, yeah…. Bay, Ibanez, and Morse. This can work!

    I want to see everyone perform well, regardless of my opinions and doubts. But at the same time, I have a huge ‘I told ya so’ and ‘See ya, Wedge’ waiting to be pulled from my pocket.

  9. csteavens on March 22nd, 2013 7:40 am

    The decisions are bad. Historically, the time it takes to correct the decisions are even worse. It’s as if the season deceives with its length. April and May are punted. Beaven is still in the rotation. Jaso is still playing a bit role. Time enough down the road to make a leasurly adjustment, to bet on a veteran’s bat coming alive — proven middle-of-the-linup man. They practice wishful thinking down the road, as the years roll buy linked with increasingly remote successes which nevertheless loom large in the egoes of old time baseball men.

  10. RaoulDuke37 on March 22nd, 2013 8:33 am

    I think someone behind the scenes (or a cabal of someones), decided that what the team needed was balance. A few older veterans to help the young guys. Sacrifice some defense to get a few proven bats in the line-up. Find some more Kevin Millwoods instead of rolling the dice with guys that have little to no experience in the majors.

  11. Spencer B on March 22nd, 2013 9:03 am

    I don’t see sending Ramirez down to start the year as silly at all. Here’s why:
    1) He’s not going to make 33 starts this year. Not after throwing only 130-ish innings last year.
    2) Given #1, why not spend April learning how to get LH hitters out in Tacoma? He’s clearly got something to learn here, and AAA is the place to do it.
    Even if you don’t agree with me about this, the difference between a month of Beavan and a month of Ramirez is going to be not much. And in the cold April Seattle air, Beavan might be able to eat some innings.

  12. _David_ on March 22nd, 2013 9:04 am

    Does Ramirez accrue major league service time while in AAA?

  13. Sports on a Shtick on March 22nd, 2013 9:11 am

    I like living in this fantasy spring training world. The reality of the regular season is going to be hurtful (yet again).

  14. Dave on March 22nd, 2013 9:14 am

    LHBs vs Erasmo Ramirez, 2012: .202/.260/.351, .263 wOBA

    LHBs vs Blake Beavan, 2012: .303/.339/.505, .362 wOBA

    But, yeah, Erasmo Ramirez is the one who needs to learn how to get lefties out.

    Think for yourself, people. Don’t just parrot what the beat writers tell you. They’re wrong a lot.

  15. Miles on March 22nd, 2013 9:23 am

    Spencer. Good to see one poster on this site that has a clue.

    Beavan, Saunders and Garland don’t need to be world beaters. They just need to eat innings. If the M’s can score some runs, there’s no reason these three can’t give you .500 ball. Let Felix and Iwakuma give you .800 to .650 ball and the M’s will do just fine.

    The M’s rushed Pineda and that worked out well for him, didn’t it. The kid gains 3 to 4 mph on his fastball over one winter and you throw him in the bigs without time for his bones and connective tissues time to grow into it.

    Besides, I really like the idea of the kids all year long in Tacoma. Tacoma is going to rock and should have a shot at the playoffs. Great winning experience for the kids.

  16. vertigoman on March 22nd, 2013 9:53 am

    You do realize that pitchers accrue innings in the minors as well right?

    I find it fascinating that Wedge is both depleting the OF defense and insisting on more pitch to contact flyball pitchers.
    It doesn’t take nerdy math to figure out where that’s going.

    I imagine we’ll see a certain beat writer talking circles around the “fact” that despite the influx of “proven power” in the lineup, more RBI opportunities and “proven plate protection” the Mariners just aren’t “getting it done” and that’s why they keep getting blown out.

  17. Longgeorge1 on March 22nd, 2013 10:03 am

    I sort of know why but I think Garland will be a very good pitcher IF the shoulder holds up. He knows how to pitch and the stuff and command seem to be reasonable. His innings will probably have to be limited as he is coming off this long rehab but he could outpitch everyone other than Felix on this staff

  18. Steve Nelson on March 22nd, 2013 10:04 am

    If I were advising Wells, I would make sure he’s investigating apartment rentals in New York.

  19. Snuffy on March 22nd, 2013 10:08 am

    Wedge is a hindrance at this point. The longer he stays the worse it will be. Erasmo @ AAA away from Wedge works for me. Bay over Wells is just goofy. Morse, Raul, Bay, Kendry, Montero are basically DH types. WTF?

  20. Longgeorge1 on March 22nd, 2013 10:31 am

    Jack Z. signed all these DH’s and I don’t know who has the final say in roster moves but I’m guessing it’s Z again. I think Wedge fills out the card with the players he has. I am sure he can ask,but Z has the checkbook.

  21. diderot on March 22nd, 2013 10:36 am

    Admittedly, this is tortured, but here goes…

    Wells vs. Bay is an argument that’s missing a theoretical piece–what’s not included is any thought like this: “I wouldn’t keep either one of them–I’d give the shot to (Outfielder X) who’s torn it up in the minors”. We have no such outfielder.

    The situation gets worse next year, when Guti and Morse and Ibanez and both Bay and Wells may be gone. How does Saunders/Peguero/Morban feel?

    Based on recent history, I’m disregarding the free agent market. Which means Trader Jack needs to get busy.

    The top target, obviously, would be Stanton. But you can fill in any other attractive option. So what does the other team take in return? True, our farm system has a lot of shiny pieces. But how likely is it that fan bases in other cities are going to accept names like Walker and Hultzen and Franklin and Miller in return? They don’t know who these people are. They will settle for nothing less than ‘proven’ major league talent.

    If they can look at respectable MLB stats for people like Smoak or Ackley or Seager or even Saunders, that can help get it done.

    And that’s why developing similar ‘proven’ stats for starters is so important. They could be central parts for such a deal.

    Which is why, if it were up to me, I would decisively give spots to Ramirez and Maurer–and even Beavan–instead of Garland or Bonderman or even Saunders (although I realize that last one is a done deal).

    We’re in a place now where we don’t have to accept four ‘maybes’ in return for a Fister. The 40-man is getting full.

    We need to maximize the appeal of our potential ‘bait’ to prospective trade partners. And one way to do that is to establish the MLB credibility of our young starters.

    Let the kids pitch.

  22. Spencer B on March 22nd, 2013 11:07 am

    Dave – please don’t hear me making the case that Beavan is awesome or better than Ramirez. And I’m not sure what you mean by parroting beat writers, so I’ll have to trust you on this.
    If Ramirez is in AAA, they can keep his innings down the same way they did with Hultzen at the end of last year. Short starts, pitch counts. This is not the season to take a chance on blowing out a promising young arm over 33 starts.

  23. Gormogon on March 22nd, 2013 11:22 am

    Guys and Gals – I do think there is something to be said here for 2 things:
    1. Service time. Like those mentioned above, I think service time is a critical issue. I don’t think you see Maurer/Hultzen/Zunino before Super 2-dom time. @ Diderot, I think service time will be more important to other clubs in trades as well. I understand your “let them pitch” idea, but they can start in July and still be better showcases. I am *guessing that a half year for a rookie pitcher produces better stats than a full rookie year because they might not wear out as fast.
    2. Can someone point me to minors IP and correlation to MLB IP? I think I recall seeing some research on that, but maybe also subjective analyses claiming that minor league pitching is not as harsh on young pitchers. I don’t see what the difference would be…well, maybe in IP but not pitch counts. Maybe minor league IP usually involve lower pitch counts and actual time on the mound?
    The point being that maybe you want those young guns to start out slowly in the minors and hit the majors in stride in June while not having to be shutdown until at least September. I believe this is what a lot of teams do, but I don’t know how to find those stats.

    You won’t see Zunino before Super 2-dom unless Smoak is absolutely horrid (again) through April.

  24. zeke5123 on March 22nd, 2013 11:24 am

    Just goes to show that anyone who think managers have some special knowledge are mistaken. Obviously, there is a lot that goes into managing a baseball team. Nevertheless, it is clear that Wedge is utterly incompetent at doing one major job requirement — putting the best players on the field.

    I think the following would be a very interesting experiment: name as manager some experienced business leader who is comfortable with analytics and managing personalities. I think one big problem with most MLB managers are that they are inside experts who grew up around the game and therefore develop certain dogmatic beliefs reinforced by groupthink. It would be fascinating seeing an outside leadership expert.

  25. PackBob on March 22nd, 2013 11:47 am

    A Mariner beat writer saw a team’s LHBs get a few doubles off Ramirez, and so suddenly Ramirez has a problem with LHBs, even though in 2012 he was pretty even between LH and RHBs. Then yesterday a LHB hit a HR off Ramirez, so, see….

    Two types of beat writers at the Times that don’t fully understand how stats work. One knows it and qualifies what he says; the other thinks he understands how stats work, and says whatever supports his position. And the one that says whatever supports his position will often contradict himself from one post to the next.

    Wedge seems to simply like Beavan, Ramirez not so much, and has the power to back his likes and dislikes. It appears to be about the intangibles that Wedge believes are important, which also appear to trump talent and performance.

  26. Gormogon on March 22nd, 2013 12:02 pm

    Why can’t we just use names re: writers? Is it more fun to talk with innuendo? That is a probably a yes.

  27. PackBob on March 22nd, 2013 12:06 pm

    The problem with Beavan is that, unless he finds a miracle cure ala Fister, he is always going to be a replacement-level 5th starter that probably eats innings, and as such will be hard to eliminate from the rotation. He will be a “proven” fringe starter, and Wedge seems to like that more than Ramirez with much higher upside and better performance at the big league level.

    I tend to think that as long as Beavan doesn’t completely fall apart, Wedge will relish having him as a dependable fringe starter, and he is going to block better pitchers from joining the rotation as long as Wedge likes him.

  28. vertigoman on March 22nd, 2013 12:13 pm

    Gormogon- that’s because a certain beat writer not named the Butcher or the Candlestick Maker likes attention and mentions. Why reward poor journism and narcissism?

  29. ripperlv on March 22nd, 2013 12:14 pm

    Saunders = Innings eater.
    Garland/Bonderman/Beavan = placeholders.

    So Garland will be kept, big deal, we knew that as soon as his shoulder didn’t fall off. It’s not like the M’s are loading up for a world series run (Seahawks). Yes, they all suck, but it’s just because JZWedge doesn’t feel the youngsters are quite ready. They can’t keep the young guns on the farm forever. Super2 didn’t keep Michael Pineda from making the team. Though I do imagine Super2 certainly figures in the decision making process. The good news is that Garland/Bonderman/Beavan are cannon fodder if they don’t perform, and they are cheap. But I fully expect, as a Mariner fan, to see Ramirez, Hultzen, Paxton and Maurer pounding strikes in the major leagues by June/July.

  30. ck on March 22nd, 2013 12:26 pm

    If management thought M’s could contend, the best 25 would head North. Alas, those commenters mentioning Super 2, and contract issues with M’s prospects, are probably correct.
    Wells will be on the roster until the deadline in case anyone goes on the DL in the next week.
    Beat writers and broadcasters ( those certain and un-certain ones all ) have access and information we will never have, and whenever they broadcast / publish an interview with players / coaches, or provide eye-witness reporting on an incident, provide all of us a great service.
    Their opinions have no sway with M’s roster moves, otherwise M’s would have overpaid for an outfielder identified as Bourn…

  31. Miles on March 22nd, 2013 1:59 pm

    ripperlv, even if the kids are brought up June/July, they likely have IP limits that shut them down before the season is over. I’m counting on the M’s to be in the hunt. Why dump pitchers that get you half way there and then bring up kids that are going to get shut down?

    The M’s have to act as if they are going to be competing. They can change course anytime but why set your sites on failure?

    In the best world the M’s are doing well and they use their kids/chips to land a #2 or #3 SP for a playoff run.

  32. Westside guy on March 22nd, 2013 2:04 pm

    Once again, Wedge is making decisions based on spring training performances – just like last year. And when the stupidity of the decisions become too obvious to ignore, we’ll again hear some revisionist story (like we did about Jaso and Iwakuma last year), and then Baker and Drayer will again say “oh yeah I remember he said that when I was standing on field 2…”

    Last year: Yup, Iwakuma sure built up that arm strength by not pitching *at all* for the first few dozen games…

    And this year, maybe by July – yup, Ramirez sure needed to fix his delivery and work things out in AAA, no one could possibly forecast that the little guy would be outpitching the big guy…

    Yup, we don’t know what happened to Bay and why he sucked so badly – every sign pointed to him having a breakout year and anchoring the middle of the order…

    On a side note – Super Two considerations probably aren’t going to be much of an influence with young pitchers, simply because even the brain-dead guys in baseball understand how volatile they are.

  33. Paul B on March 22nd, 2013 2:38 pm


    and,we don’t know why Olivo sucked so bad, he hits homers and is a veteran! We never could have predicted his level of play!

  34. Paul B on March 22nd, 2013 2:40 pm

    Bay is starting in center again tonight.

    Pitchforks! Get your pitchforks and burning torches here!

  35. MrZDevotee on March 22nd, 2013 3:25 pm

    I just wanna see some baseball that matters.

    Wells has ostensibly become this year’s Jaso… He’s not really all that important but he’s been given this special meaning above his talents in our roster building that signals “it’s amazing these guys have jobs in professional baseball” headslaps if he doesn’t make the team. It’s really not that big of a deal in the larger picture.

    I really think the team (ie Wedge) is in a HUGE “these (young) guys don’t know what it takes” mode after last season. I think they, at the management level, decided they’d done all their hot young players a disserve by asking too much in 2012. Probably stemming from things we didn’t see from our TV or bleacher positions. Wedge didn’t get the sort of commitment he wanted to “the system” they have in place, and “quality at bats”– so the mantra became “the right veterans will help sort this out, that’s what’s missing!” (enter poster boy: Ibanez).

    I think, yes agree, they’ll probably error in the “vets will help” direction (with a Bay, or Bonderman, or Ibanez lovefest) but perhaps they feel strongly about what effect these guys can have on the work ethics and preparation of our incredibly youthful team?

    No denying Smoak, Ackley, and Montero all took steps in the wrong direction when the 3 of them were thought to be the centerpiece of last year’s offense. Hell, throw Ichiro into that with the “batting 3rd” thing. They all fell well below our expectations. Meanwhile, guys who didn’t have much pressure on them (Seager and Saunders) specifically because they WEREN’T Smoak, Ackley and Montero (remember when most of us thought we needed a 3B for 2012, ’cause Seager certainly isn’t it?), well they both thrived and had “break out” seasons in support roles.

    Simplistic thinking, sure, but perhaps that’s the hope for Smoak, Ackley and Montero… The big-name guys are being kept around so the young guys realize “I’m just a young guy and have a lot to learn”.

    And perhaps there really IS something to it? I know there were more folks than myself who noticed a specific Montero at-bat this Spring that blared “progress”… He had a 9 pitch at bat where he fouled off 3 two-strike pitches, then laid off a breaking ball low and away, and then hit a homerun on the very next pitch.

    A couple of us mentioned “wow, that was a good at bat for Jesus.” And wondered where that discipline was last year?

    Of course, how do we know what might have attributed to that at bat? We don’t. But!

    To offer an anecdote from my own “professional life”… As a recording engineer when you come upon an issue that you’re struggling with, can’t get around, some technical issue, however major or minor, etc., your choices are to:

    a) just try some stuff and see if something helps or fixes the problem, via trial and error.
    b) read up, google, search for some insight and/or techniques that addresses possibilities and attempt them
    c) call a guy with more experience, ask him what he would do, or if it’s a band/voice he’s also worked with before, ask specifically “what did you do about ______” or “Hey, what would YOU try?”

    The third option is ALWAYS the best way to address the issue. The quickest, the easiest to understand, and the safest to implement. You trust them because they’ve done this thing before and made it to the other side successfully. If it’s someone you respect, you also trust you’re not wasting your time in attempting what they suggest.

    Is it baseball? No, but it’s sort of the same scenario… Where a, b, and c equal:

    a) Attempting to correct your batting/pitching problems yourself
    b) Attemtping to correct your batting/pitching problems via your manager/hitting/pitching coach
    c) Having veteran players around who are successful hitters/pitchers, or have been at one point, to pick their brains and hear first hand methods that worked and DIDN’T work for them.

    I think it’s the same thing with regards to pitching– it was a “what’s to lose” sort of move to bring in Bonderman and Garland. If they can succeed they can help our young guys. And hey, we go with the young guys if it doesn’t work out, anyways, which was the alternative all along.

    So, if one of the two make the team, then the “Big 3 (4)” can all have the Maurer treatment, which is to spend some quality time in the minors refining their pitches (no one can truthfully argue that Walker won’t benefit from working on his secondary stuff in lower pressure situations).

    My own personal view? I’d rather see Ramirez, Maurer, and Wells… But I can certainly imagine how the other moves are being rationalized or supported in “the system”.

    And again, I just wanna see real baseball. This last week is always the hardest to endure.

    Finalize that roster and let’s get everybody ready to go.

  36. MrZDevotee on March 22nd, 2013 3:35 pm

    On the bright side– a story up on the M’s official website says Bay and Wells are still locked in a battle for the last OF spot, and they’re specifically playing Bay in CF a couple days to see if he can handle it, since they already know Wells can, and since Guty has already shown some health troubles. Wedge as part of that conversation mentions they’re giving Guty lots of time off because “we’re doing everything we can to get him out of here (Peoria) healthy”.

  37. Westside guy on March 22nd, 2013 3:38 pm

    I ended up missing last night’s game, but as I understand it… Bay didn’t really get any chances out there? If that’s the case, I can see why they’d run him out there again (as I ignore the bigger question of why they’re doing trying it *at all*).

  38. MrZDevotee on March 22nd, 2013 3:40 pm

    Let’s look on the bright side… With Bay actually OUT there, he has the chance to “Canseco” a couple balls off his head and over the wall, making the decision whether to keep him or Wells simpler.

  39. casey on March 22nd, 2013 4:56 pm

    Shannon told the 710 morning guys that Bay is actually a very good outfielder – much better than she thought. Even said the team thinks he is better in the field that Wells who has made a number of poor plays in the field. Certainly much better than Morse and Ibanez she said. Brock immediately made a football comparison to agree with her – the beat and football radio guys now think Bay is a centre fielder waiting for Guti’s next injury.

    I think the only play that came Bay’s way last night was the pop up to shallow left centre. Ryan made the last second catch, Wells was next on the scene and long after Bay appeared. It seemed that Ryan was really expecting one of the outfielders to make that catch and appeared Bay wasn’t where he should have been.

    To be fair I think Bay has looked decent in left and right field (and better than I expected) and would agree with Shannon’s assessment about being much quicker, more athletic, and comfortable than Morse, Ibanez and Peguero.

  40. Sports on a Shtick on March 22nd, 2013 4:59 pm

    Well, there goes that! Considering how mediocre the rotation depth is I wouldn’t hesitate to put Garland in there. At least the Mariners have proven they know how to construct a roster… wait a second.

  41. horatiosanzserif on March 22nd, 2013 5:20 pm

    Per @ShannonDrayer: Zduriencik-at this time we cannot commit a rotation spot to [Garland] or a roster spot. https://twitter.com/shannondrayer/status/315247049102737408

    So there goes that.

  42. groundzero55 on March 22nd, 2013 5:26 pm

    Bay may be a good fielder in terms of fielding percentage but there is no way his zone rating is anywhere near that of Wells.

  43. groundzero55 on March 22nd, 2013 5:29 pm

    Wow, that Garland news was unexpected.

    Good move for all. Someone will pick him up after the spring he had. I just didn’t want him to stay here. Nothing against the guy really.

    Does this mean good news for Erasmo, or maybe for Bonderman? One of those or Beavan still will be on the outside looking in.

  44. vertigoman on March 22nd, 2013 5:40 pm

    Wow, is this a sign if things to come?
    Shoe in mouth, M’s make one half of a good decision.

  45. csteavens on March 22nd, 2013 5:55 pm

    Someone should write about the information lag here between the fan community and certain baseball managements. Just the same wishful formula recycled over the years. I’m sure there’s some kind of ‘business cultury’ word for this phenomenon. Group think? No, not necessarily. It’s hard not to see this as directly correlative with the decision makers at the top. Not to say I’m particularly troubled. I enjoy watching this, the lineup buffoonery, the signing of the new veterans, the articles about lack of leadership while failing, or great clubhouse atmosphere, while winning. It’s a veritable study in human psychology. And here comes the winning streak! These people would be horrible poker players because they would play all hands the same and bet it all on the river each time.

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