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Diamondbacks to scout Jeff Samardzija...again?

Diamondbacks to scout Jeff Samardzija...again?

Another pitcher goes down, another Jeff Samardzija rumor pops up.  I suppose that will continue to happen until the situation resolves itself one way or the other.

While the Braves didn't show any interest in re-engaging the Cubs on Samardzija, the Diamondbacks might.   According to Bruce Levine, they will be scouting him once again.  Kevin Towers has shown interest in him during the last trade deadline and then again this offseason.  They ultimately chose to sign veteran Bronson Arroyo rather than pay the high price, but with Patrick Corbin becoming the latest in an outbreak of elbow injuries, they may once again make a run.

The thing is that Towers already knows what the Cubs want.  He's gone back and the price did not change.  He has to know that it will remain constant at the very least -- and it may even go up.  Is he prepared to meet that price now?

The pitcher of interest from the Cubs point of view has been Archie Bradley, but to most outside observers, that price seems excessive.  You can make an argument that Bradley could be every bit as productive as Samardzija in the near future -- only he's younger and has 6 years of cost control left.  The argument from the D'Backs side is that they are a win now team, so maybe they overpay for a pitcher who can almost certainly help them the next two years.  The emergence of prospect Braden Shipley ensures that the cupboard won't be completely bare if they trade Bradley.  Still, it's difficult to fathom Arizona relenting.

Another scenario is a 3-way deal.  Towers is a creative GM and right now his chief asset (other than Bradley) is a surplus at SS, where the D'Backs have Didi Gregorius and the MLB ready Chris Owings waiting in the wings.  The Cubs, however, do not need a SS.  They have two of their own -- but there are teams that do have that need, most notably the Detroit Tigers and the New York Mets.  As we noted in our previous article on Darwin Barney, however, the Tigers don't exactly have a lot of assets to move and may have to settle for a lesser option.

As for whom the Cubs might be able to acquire from the Mets, one option could be pitching prospect Noah Syndegaard.  He's not as highly regarded as Archie Bradley -- but he's close.  Syndegaard is rated the 11th best prospect by Jason Parks of BP whereas Bradley is #9, but it remains to be seen whether the Mets would be any more likely to overpay than the D'Backs would. Sandy Alderson is anything but a pushover when it comes to trades.  It's hard for me to imagine giving up one of the top SP prospects in the game for either Gregorius or Owings -- though Owings is the games' 28th best prospect.  Perhaps the deal can be expanded and evened out, but it still seems like a long shot.

In the end, I think this will wind up being more smoke than anything, but with top starters dropping like flies, a durable guy like Jeff Samardzija could begin to look more and more appealing.

 

 

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  • john I agree with you that teams are not dealing there top arms. Do you think Braden Shipley can be part of a three team trade ?

  • In reply to seankl:

    I don't think Shipley can be traded until after the June draft ?

  • In reply to seankl:

    He can only be a PTBNL at this point and I don't think they'll want to trade him anymore than they want to trade Bradley. Really the only solution I can see is a 3-way. Their best asset is the the depth at SS, but that won't work with Cubs. I think this rumor will fade about as quickly as it popped up.

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    I believe Samardzija will be traded by August 1st.

  • If they're deadset on not trading Bradley, I still like the idea of a 3 way trade that brings the Pirates in and has Owings or Gregorious and Russell going to the Pirates, Shark to the DBacks and Shipley and Glasnow to the Cubs.

    Obviously it's a lot to give up for the DBacks, but if they're desperate and don't want to give up Bradley, I bet the Cubs would take that package.

    Also, I thought that was a typo on Owings ranking and then saw that it's BP's ranking of Owings. Didn't realize how much higher they were on Owings than BA or mlb.com.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    The problem with this in my eyes is Shipley is probably going to high A and Glasnow similarly is that far away. Both may end up being good pitchers but you A) have to worry the farther a pitcher is away from the majors and B) the lack of depth in pitching in the upper minors the cubs already have. That's why someone like Bradley is attractive because he'll be up at the same time as Baez or shortly there after.

  • In reply to beckdawg:

    While true, the closer the player is to the big leagues the less upside you're going to get.

    It's fine for the Cubs to posture and say they're holding out for a TOR guy in AAA, someone like Bradley. I just don't think anyone is going to cave to that demand. In lieu of a guy like that, I'd much rather go to some deeper level guys that have TOR upside.

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    In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Even if true, the Cubs have no incentive to make that concession until the trade deadline. Samardzija provides (small) upside to this season, so holding out for the big deal is the right play now.

    And given what Theo has done the last two trade deadlines, I'm not sure it will be that much of a concession this time around.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    There's risk on both sides to waiting until the deadline.

    Jeff Samardzija is the rare 29 year old that's perceived to have upside. The longer he takes to achieve that upside, the more that perception becomes a fantasy.

    Samardzija could pitch great in the first half of the season and negate (or even surpass) the half season of value lost by an acquiring team. Or, he could just keep Jekyll and Hyde-ing the first half of the season and leave teams skeptical that he'll fulfill his potential. Or hell, the worst could happen and he could get hurt.

    There's plenty of reasons for the Cubs to pull the trigger on a deal now if they like the deal and don't believe the biggest pitching prospect studs are going to hit the market.

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    In reply to TulaneCubs:

    I know you love the trades but this doesn't make sense.

    As John reported last week, they could have had either Sanchez or Stroman -- but not both -- for Samardzija and they turned Toronto down because they wanted both. (http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2014/03/braves-sign-santana-are-there-implications-for-cubs-wbbm-takes-lead-in-radio-derby-brett-jackson-and-other-notes/) The danger of him getting hurt was just as real then as it is now. Heck, Toronto still doesn't have a pitcher. They may well be willing to revisit that trade.

    What you're proposing is that the Cubs take less than they've already turned down this offseason and in the deal establish that to beat Theo in a trade all you have to do is wait him out and he'll cave for a couple A ball pitchers.

    This trade is a lose-lose scenario.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Huh? How have the Cubs turned down an offer better than Shipley and Glasnow already? Stroman or Sanchez alone<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< Shipley and Glasnow.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    When you look at these guys track record; and attempt to look at things through their lenses-they are too crafty to pull the trigger now unless someone offers them the moon. Even then, I can almost hear Theo saying, "well we just were offered the moon, what might we get in late July from a desperate team?" I'm really not all that sold on either of those Jays guys-wish AA hadn't gotten so itchy the past two years and Syndegaard was still on their table.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    while I have no opinion on Shipley specifically, I tend to lean with Tulane on this one: I've just haven't seen enough signs from Samardzija that he's going to increase his trade value between now and July, whereas there are plenty of indications that he'll cement his rep as a #3 at best. And plus he could be injured at any time. He may have "stuff" but I just haven't seen the results - and he's not a kid any more, this is not a guy just dipping his toes in AAA we're talking about. If Theo wants to be taken seriously when he asks for Bradley or Sanchez+Stroman, Shark is going to have to at least start dominating these spring training squads which are loaded with kids, has-beens and never-wills.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I see two risks to holding out. The worst-case scenario is Samardzija gets hurt. But in addition, the Cubs could be so lousy that it becomes difficult for him to put up good numbers before the trade deadline. Or maybe he just doesn't take that next step that everybody is expecting him to take. You might say that his asking price then figures to come down, but I doubt it.

    Logic says somebody would want to trade for him now and get two full years out of him or have the option to spin him themselves if they can't sign him long term. But that never seems to happen (though I guess it did when the Royals dealt for James Shields).

    No matter how things play out, I do not see the Cubs ever getting a Top 20 prospect pitcher in a deal for Samardzija. I could maybe see them getting two Top 100s, or maybe even an elite bat, but not a can't-miss pitcher.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    The other thing to consider is organizational depth. Think about it this way, how many picks have the cubs spent on pitchers the past 2 drafts? I think there were like 20+ guys out of the first 15 rounds IIRC. Many of those players will be in A/A+ this year. So, you would be limiting to some extent your ability to find gems/develop your own guys.

    Also, with the potential for them to deal Hammel and Villanueva at the deadline too your depth starts to look very scary very fast. Honestly, I think the way to do it is to get one AA/AAA guy who can be a #3-4 type with some upside and then one guy who's more a top of the rotation type from the A+ish level. I just worry if you bank hard on A level pitchers like those 2 as well as Edwards you could very likely end up with a situation where they get hurt/don't pan/whatever and you have nothing at your higher minors. That's more ok-ish when you have talent at the MLB level or soon to be MLB level but there could quickly be a situation where Wood is the staff "ace" with not much behind him.

  • In reply to beckdawg:

    I actually think our high-A team will be pretty light on good pitchers. Kane County will have a lot of recent draftees, Tennessee will have Johnson, Pineyro, Black & Edwards. If you look at the pitchers moving up from Kane County, there's not a whole lot there. Glasnow could fit right into that Daytona rotation. Daytona might be rushing Shipley a little bit, he may need more time in Kane County, but you can piggy back guys there if needed.

    As for your trade proposal, it sounds like it can actually be worked out fairly easily within the structure I just mentioned. Instead of Glasnow from the Pirates, take Nick Kingham, who projects as a #3 and then Shipley is your upside guy.

    At this point with pitchers acquired, I'd prefer guys with TOR upside because I feel confident in our depth in terms of guys that fit in #3-5.

  • In reply to TulaneCubs:

    Thats a interesting trade and one that makes sense. Most fans proposed trades are usually always in our favor (which I always tend to do) but this is one that most interesting.

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    If Didi Gregorius gets traded for another Top 20 pitcher the Cubs need to establish Darwin Barney as a shortstop so they can move him for a Top 50 guy.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I can't imagine any reasonable circumstances in which Barney could bring back a top 50 prospect, regardless of position.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    I can't imagine any reasonable circumstances in which Barney gets reps at SS.

  • Are they thinking a one for one with Bradley and Shark? Personally, I'm fine with that but it seems like Theo/Jed have been asking for more.

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    In reply to Holy Cattle:

    I would jump on that with all four feet.

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    Not all that interested in Shipley.
    The talks start and end with Bradley.
    We could probably sweeten the pot a little, but it's not likely Sheirholtz/Russell will really soften the blow of giving up one of the top 3 pitching prospects in the game.

    Wishful thinking, but you never know.

  • I just can't imagine the Dbacks giving up Bradley for Shark even if we though in a sweetener. Would seem awfully shortsighted on their part.

    But hey, you never know. This is the kind of trade that can really change things moving forward for the Cubs.

  • In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Towers might be on the hotseat in which case, what's he care if the future is gone if he isn't going to secure his job without the trade? That's the problem with bad franchises a lot of the time because GM's are worried about keeping their jobs by winning so they trade away more than they should to win now which later bites them in the ass.

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    In reply to IrwinFletcher:

    Heck, I would give up Shark, Soler and Johnson for Bradley.

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    Good thing you are not in charge.

  • In reply to John57:

    agreed

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    Shark has complete confidence that his contract value will go up. He won't sign an extension if traded. I think he'll end up signing with the cubs.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    You may very well be right Dale; if the boys don't get a package they like; and if Samardzija is pitching well-there are worse things than re-upping. The more I think about it, I'm actually glad we didn't win the Tanaka sweepstakes. If Tanaka is no more than a very good # 3 on a competing team, many of the Samardzija detractors have at least called him a decent 3-he is going to come for a lot less money than Tanaka when it's all said and done. It seems like the no-trade piece may be the biggest sticking point.

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    On another note-doesn't john baker look better than Kottares? More of a vet presence.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    Yes, Dale. I hope someone here revisits this. You saw that two-out bases-loaded double the other day last week v. whomever it was we came back against in the ninth to win (seattle?). That was the Olt twoHR game. Makes me wonder at least where he would fall in the minors being a spring training invitee.

  • I would love to land Bradley or Syndegaard, but I see next to no chance of that happening. The Mets have been lauded for their acquisition of Syndegaard(think the Blue Jays wish they had a re-do on that trade?), and in this current landscape prospects like these two guys are next to impossible to extract. Also, I'm no Met follower, but I don't see them as a win-now team-why would they break up a potential rotation of Harvey, Wheeler and Syndegaard? I do have every confidence that our FO will ultimately pull a nice haul for Samardzija if he is traded-just think a top 30ish/40ish SP prospect along with extra other prospects is more likely.

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    In reply to Upstate NY Cubs Fan:

    I think not mixing in "traditional" gm's approach will wind up being Anthopoulus' demise. I predict he will be fired as will Ruben Amaro.

  • In reply to Dale Miller:

    It's really interesting that just a couple years ago, AA was praised for his development of the farm system; and had earned a reputation as a tough negotiator who was almost bullish about trading top prospects. He had Syndegaard, Nicolino, D'Arnard, and Marisnick-then all of a sudden he does a 180 and it seemed like anyone was fair game. I'm no GM, but I'm sure there comes that time for each of them when you transition and go for it-in retrospect this will be looked at as that defining moment where he swung and missed. As for Amaro, I'm finding this scandal with the Wetzler kid from Oregon State pretty interesting-the Phillies have been absolutely slammed for their handling of this issue.

  • In reply to Upstate NY Cubs Fan:

    And I think a lot of those times when GMs go for it are sometimes/usually dictated by ownership/attendance/revenues/job security. I am so glad the Ricketts have agreed to be so patient with the rebuild and given the front office full power to do whatever they feel is best.

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    In reply to Upstate NY Cubs Fan:

    that trade was preposterous the day it was made, no hindsight necessary.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    You'll get no argument from me on that one; I just looked up RA Dickey's Baseball Reference stats-I'd forgotten he's going to be 40 in October.

  • After watching a couple ST games in person this weekend it became very clear just how talented our prospects are and that the vets will not be able to get this Cubs team to 70 wins.

    Almora has the presence of a veteran and he's only 19. Vizcaino, although not sharp yet, has a great arm and was throwing 96-98 with no problem. Christian Villanueva is every bit as good defensively as advertised and I was quite surprised at his approach at the plate... it really was better than Vitters or BJax. even though Jackson has looked better the past couple days. And Pimentel looks like he could help in the pen some time this season.

    But the vets trying to make the team are just not an impressive bunch. With the tough schedule to start the season, it's totally conceivable that Theo is in full-fledged trading mode by the first of June and Shark seems to be #1 on the block. If the Cubs can't land a guy like Bradley I'd think they'd go after some other players fitting the profile of C.J. Edwards. But if they toss Barney or Schierholtz into a deal, then a TOR arm is certainly obtainable.

  • Jarrod Parker's going to have his second TJ too. Don't sleep on Billy Beane sneaking in there and making a move. Raul Alcantara and Michael Inoa could make sense. I'd have to have Shipley and Jake Lamb form Arizona. I'd rather have Samardzija be a 2 or a 3 for the next 4 or 5 years though....

  • In reply to Ben20:

    Beane's style usually isn't to give up prospects in major deals, so I don't think that's a good fit. I also don't think Alcantara and Ynoa are anywhere near enough. A's system isn't very strong right now.

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    tell you what makes me shudder a bit - there will come a time when the Cubs will be favored to win their division - and one of their top 3 starters will go down in June, and they'll need a pitcher - and some kid GM that learned by watching Theo Epstein will try to rake Theo over the coals before giving up that piece, and Theo might just have to blink.

  • In reply to SKMD:

    That GM might ironically be named Jason McLeod...

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    In reply to Upstate NY Cubs Fan:

    Good post, Upstate.

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    In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Agreed

  • In reply to SKMD:

    Theo will have 4 pitcher stashed in AAA to pull up to the majors.

  • In reply to John57:

    Plus he won't be too worried because the Cubs, who will be the current WS champion Cubs, will always come out on top.

  • If Theo is continues to ask for the moon and people are going to look at other options. The Cubs don't have a monopoly over the starting pitching market.

    You're going to be able to find a #3 out there, exactly what Samardzija is, for half of what the Cubs are asking for. The Cubs got what looks like a good deal for Garza because he was the best starting pitcher at the deadline and he was red hot.

    A Feldman type player that only cost the Orioles two prospects that weren't working for them, as opposed to two top arms is what teams are going to pay. That extra year of control that Samardjiza has can be a negative because it drives his price up even more, a two month rental is going to cost much less.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    I disagree... what Shark brings to a team is a cost-controlled 3 WAR pitcher for the next two years. That's worth considerable value to a contending team just looking for a few more wins- which is where Texas was last season when they dealt for Garza.

    If Towers wants to play hard-to-get the Cubs can find another partner. For example, the Braves could use a guy like Samardzija and have a great young arm like Lucas Sims to offer. The Mets have Snydergaard. Seattle spent a ton of money this off-season to be competitive and might be willing to deal Walker. Plenty of options for the Cubs to deal Shark and get a potential #1 or #2 starter out of it.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    Walker hurt his arm did he not? Agree with your points and all just clarifying I thought they had shut him down for the season.

  • In reply to beckdawg:

    I seem to remember his arm was sore and they were going to shut him down for a couple weeks and then reevaluate him. Now maybe he will be shut down for the year but I don't think that decision has been made yet.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    There's going to be five pitchers at the deadline putting up similar stats but costing half of the price.

    Why even consider giving up Bradley (or anyone else with their top guys) when you can pry a middle of the rotation guy putting up the same stats for something like two guys in the #6-#10 prospect range? Samardzija isn't anything special. He ended last season on a horrible note and he's picked up right where he left off.

    There is no reason for a team to overpay when there will be similar options.

  • In reply to Jimmie Ward:

    The point is that many baseball people feel that Samardzija has the potential to be much more than a # 3 pitcher, and quite soon at that. I agree that if he is still an average pitcher in July, the Cubs will not get a great return. But if he is pitching like a # 2+ in July, he will command a substantial price.

  • I know it's off subject, John, but Lake is really KO-ing a lot this spring. His decision-making in CF on where to throw the ball has been questionable as well. Any chance he starts in Iowa in order to figure it out? If he does, who can provide that right-handed bat?

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    In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    Not John, but to me you can put Lake in the same category as Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters. And that is, he is, at best, a spaceholder and probably not even that.

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    In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    I think Lake has tools the other two could only dream about. let me know the next time either of those two clowns sandwich a pair of bunt singles around a 434 ft home run, and then to prove it wasn't a fluke, follow another monster home run with a bunt single a couple of weeks later.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Tools are great. Vitters bat control >>>> Lake's. And Jackson's defensive instincts, plate discipline >>>> Lake's. And neither Jackson or Vitters can grab hold of a job at the MLB level either. They are all flawed players that max out as bench guys to me and none of them look ready yet for even that role at teh MLB level. Lake might be able to hold onto the short side of a platoon and give the team a little power/speed off the bench, but I don't think it does him any good to play that little. I haven't given up on any of them, but all three should go to AAA as far as I'm concerned.

  • In reply to Tinker Evers Chance:

    I think there's a chance but the Cubs may just go with Lake and hope that the good outweighs the bad. He has all the physical tools in the world and he'll do some great things on that along, as we saw at times last year, but we're going to also have to live with a lot of mistakes. That type of player may not be a long term starter but the Cubs may not have a lot of choice in the short term.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I feel the same way; I am not a Lake believer, but what do we have to lose by playing him early in the year? The other side to that is I feel within the first 30-60 days, an OF will also emerge at Iowa to take his spot if he flails, like Vitters, Kalish, Jackson, or somebody.

    Keith Law is a utter Lake-hater, and the king of snark, but he may be right on that one

  • In reply to Zonk:

    I guess I'm just not ready to watch that yet. The FO has said it doesn't want ot put guys into a situation that they are not ready for. To me, starting Lake every day, when he hasn't shown the ability to hit a breaking ball from a right hander nor settled in defenesively yet seems like setting him up to fail. He is still young, he only played a whole 40 games at AAA, and is very far from a polished product. I would rather watch Bonifacio/Sweeney/Kalish in CF in Chicago and let Lake refine his game in Iowa for a while.

  • In reply to Zonk:

    Law has been so defiant, even when Junior has proven him wrong, he just digs in deeper...

    That said, I've never thought of Lake as more than a 4th/5th OF guy. He's got some exciting tools, and if he can ever translate that into game skills.... Like John said, you take the good with the bad with him. But his speed, range & arm, and erratic bat would be a coveted bench weapon by 2016...

    Even though I think he's been out-performed by Ruggiano & Kalish, I still play him everyday. We would have to release someone to add Kalish and Ruggiano will likely platoon for the most part with Nate & Sweeny. Sending Lake to Iowa, has repercussions through out the system. He would certainly eat into playing time & development of Andreoli, Szczur, Silva, Vitters, B-Jax, etc..

    I think, in 2 years time; we'll have our 4th & 5th OF'rs from the following group within our current system, Kalish, B-Jax, Silva, Szczur, Andreoli, Vitters, Lake, etc.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I think that the front office went into SP expecting that Lake would be the starting CF, for better or for worse.

    But the performance of Kalish (and Ruggiano) might be making them rethink the situation. Lake still has an option left, and he can be placed in Iowa for the season without losing him and perhaps resulting in his growing into his tools.

    Epstein has a soft spot in his hart for Kalish.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Agreed on all counts here. It may not have been the original plan, but I can see it playing out this way.

  • I love the fact that Theo and Co. are not backing down from their trade demands for a top flight pitching prospect....why should they? In the end whether it be straight trade with one team ( e.g. Arizona) or a 3way trade, the Cubs will wind up with a top pitching prospect for Samardzija in the end

  • I don't blame the Cubs for not backing down on a elite pitching prospect, why should they? At this point going forward, the Cubs are and should be asking for major league or near major league ready prospects. If the Cubs believe they are one year ( 2015) from being competitive and 2 years ( 2016) from contending, the Cubs should be no loner settling for lower minor prospects anymore

  • Hope there is a gm who gets desperate enough to cave. But if they sign Jeff long term I won't be mad either. Also with Clif Lee and possibly price and masterson being available at deadline, Jeff might be less attractive!

  • Am I on the naughty list? Comment was said to be approved first?

  • Forget Bradley, folks. Bradley to the Snakes is there version of Baez and Bryant.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Pretty much.

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