Where the Red Sox have gone wrong

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Lose Remerswaal

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I've said it time and again but the mistake was not dealing Porcello. If they weren't planning to extend him, they should have dealt him before the season starter to create greater financial flexibility and maximize the return while he was still a fairly valuable starter. His worth has cratered this season after he's done what his career says he always does after a good season: shit the bed the next one. They should still trade him but now they can't because their 3rd starter is now their prospective closer and there's no one to step in if he leaves except another filler guy or some guy that's even worse that would be acquired in a deal. It's looking more and more likely they're going to lose him at the end of the season for nothing instead of getting something while he still had some real value to a team that needed an arm. While there was some reason to believe Eovaldi would go down with an injury again this season based on career track record, some of the money saved by dealing away Porcello could have been committed to a true 5th starter so the rotation would have been Sale-Price-Eovaldi-Rodriguez-5th starter and they likely still would have had the capital to go out and sign Keuchel (based on what he signed for with Atlanta) after the draft pick penalty expired if Eovaldi had still gone down with injury. And with that 5th starter, even with Eovaldi's injury, they would have still been in a position to lean on guys like Hector and the fringe bullpen guys, but only for a few weeks until Keuchel or some other guy off the street was ready to log some innings. And with those same savings, they might have been able to beat New York's offer to Ottavino (if that would have made a difference) or gone out and acquired a better reliever than Brewer.

Maybe they thought Porcello was primed for another good season but I still believe many of the team's luxury tax concern woes can be laid at the feet of not clearing his salary before spring training ended. It wouldn't have been the first time they lost a key piece of a championship team and still would have been in contention the following season (e.g., losing Pedro after 2004 and losing Schilling (kind of) after 2007 (since he was unable to pitch in 2008). Either way, that extra $20 million or so to play with would have been really nice.
If they thought this bullpen would be "good enough" without Kimbrell and Kelly (adding Wright and one of many kids), then getting rid of Porcello from the SAME TEAM THAT WON 108 GAMES AND THE WORLD FUCKING SERIES would have been met with wild disbelief and anger.
 

YTF

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I thought it was weird last winter when trading Porcello wasn’t more widely supported on this board, but it’s entirely possible that DD explores it and found no takers. Not many teams were adding pitching (or trying to win), and there were a lot of guys available cheaper than $20M.

But I agree with you that of course it was the right move, though I don’t think turning around and giving that money right back to Keuchel would’ve helped much.
I get that much of what is posted in this thread is a result of hindsight, but was the lack of support for this idea last winter as it really that weird? The Sox were coming off a championship season and approaching a new season for the first time in a while with no questions as to who the rotation would consist of.
 

Danny_Darwin

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I thought it was weird last winter when trading Porcello wasn’t more widely supported on this board, but it’s entirely possible that DD explores it and found no takers. Not many teams were adding pitching (or trying to win), and there were a lot of guys available cheaper than $20M.
There probably wasn’t support for it because it wasn’t realistic, for the very reason you say it is here. The things about Porcello that make him sub-optimal for the Red Sox also make him undesirable for the rest of the league. I don’t know if you think it’s still 2005 or something, but teams are pretty smart these days; there aren’t a bunch of Ned Collettis out there waiting to be fleeced.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I get that much of what is posted in this thread is a result of hindsight, but was the lack of support for this idea last winter as it really that weird? The Sox were coming off a championship season and approaching a new season for the first time in a while with no questions as to who the rotation would consist of.
Exactly. Trading him opens a hole in a rotation that, as we've seen thus far this year, was pretty damn thin to begin with. I think there's a better case to be made, especially in hindsight, that the better play would have been signing a cheaper starter than Eovaldi (who presumably doesn't get hurt 3 weeks into the season) and used the savings there to address the bullpen.

If there's anything that's reliable about Porcello, and isn't about Eovaldi, it's that you're going to get 30 starts and 180 innings out of Porcello. Once they signed a guy who's only once crested the 30 start plateau and only once crested the 180 inning mark, they couldn't afford to let an innings eater like Porcello go. I think the notion that Eovaldi replaces Porcello either immediately or after this season was folly from the start.
 

Plympton91

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I don’t understand the “not trying to win” point. There are 8 teams in contention in the AL and 11 in the NL.

I also thought they should have explored trading Porcello. My guess is that his value would have been somewhere around the value of Tanner Roark, who netted the Nats a fringe reliever with options and 6 years of control. But Roark was only slated to make $10, as opposed to $20 million. Another comp might have been Lance Lynn, who was a free agent and got way less than $20/year. So, they likely would have had to subsidize Porcello significantly, just to be rid of him, let alone get anything back.

Worth it? Yeah, if they could have used the savings to get Britton.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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I thought it was weird last winter when trading Porcello wasn’t more widely supported on this board, but it’s entirely possible that DD explores it and found no takers. Not many teams were adding pitching (or trying to win), and there were a lot of guys available cheaper than $20M.

But I agree with you that of course it was the right move, though I don’t think turning around and giving that money right back to Keuchel would’ve helped much.
No one wants to break up the band after they go platinum. But some times you need to make little changes to ensure continued success. Maybe Keuchel wouldn't have helped much but he would have been better in that 5th spot than what they've been running out there if they'd signed him in the off-season and just ate the draft pick and he wouldn't have cost that much per season, so they would have had extra money to play with to make another signing (or two) that would have bridged the gap.

I doubt it was explored because there would have been takers, especially when teams lost out on the big name free agents and especially because he's a CYA-winning pitcher who won 20+ games as recently as a couple of seasons ago and has "big game" experience. You could make the argument that Keuchel offered much of the same for less money and "only" draft pick compensation but teams always seem more willing to trade than lose draft picks for some strange reason. Why would the Red Sox want to give that up? The same reason they were willing to let Pedro walk: money.

If they thought this bullpen would be "good enough" without Kimbrell and Kelly (adding Wright and one of many kids), then getting rid of Porcello from the SAME TEAM THAT WON 108 GAMES AND THE WORLD FUCKING SERIES would have been met with wild disbelief and anger.
Maybe so, but as I said above, some times you need to make changes to keep things rolling right along. Of the three Red Sox championship teams before last year's title-winners, I can't recall any of them that came back EXACTLY the same the next season. More's the point, there were generally some pretty big changes. After 2004, Pedro left (for nothing) and they signed Matt Clement to fill the spot on the staff. After 2007, they brought back Schilling but he was not a contributor and so they got Bartolo Colón (who quit on the team) and Paul Byrd. After 2013, there were wholesale changes including losing Ellsbury, Dempster retiring (whether talked into it or not), Saltalamacchia leaving, and Pierzynski coming in. And while the 2014 squad was ultimately doomed, the previous two times saw the team go back to the playoffs.

I realize it's a different sport and the shelf lives of the players are different, but Belichick has made some shocking trades after successful seasons and very rarely have they come back to haunt him. Meanwhile, the Patriots have been in the playoffs almost every season and have won 6 titles out of 9 tries.

Porcello should have gone. Maybe Dombrowski tried, but I personally doubt it. Either way, it's always going to be a "what if" regardless of how the season plays out.
 

jon abbey

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Worth it? Yeah, if they could have used the savings to get Britton.
Don't forget that not only was the 2019 cap an issue, but DD didn't want to add salary for 2020 and beyond, that was a big reason why they weren't in on any of the top relievers.
 

E5 Yaz

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If they thought this bullpen would be "good enough" without Kimbrell and Kelly (adding Wright and one of many kids), then getting rid of Porcello from the SAME TEAM THAT WON 108 GAMES AND THE WORLD FUCKING SERIES would have been met with wild disbelief and anger.
You just don't get it: The trade of Porcello makes perfect sense to those who knew during the offseason what kind of year he and the Sox would have in 2019
 

AB in DC

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In any case, if we had anything close to 2018 Sale and 2018 Mookie on this year's team, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
 

YTF

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No one wants to break up the band after they go platinum. But some times you need to make little changes to ensure continued success. Maybe Keuchel wouldn't have helped much but he would have been better in that 5th spot than what they've been running out there if they'd signed him in the off-season and just ate the draft pick and he wouldn't have cost that much per season, so they would have had extra money to play with to make another signing (or two) that would have bridged the gap.
Based on what? Keuchel (represented by Boras) was looking for a 6-7 year deal worth 150-200 million. In April he said he would accept a one year deal but wanted more than 17.9 million. So he saves you MAYBE 2-3 million on a one year deal.
 

Al Zarilla

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In any case, if we had anything close to 2018 Sale and 2018 Mookie on this year's team, we wouldn't be having this conversation.
Mookie had a 6.7 fWAR last year on this date, 3.4 today. Sale was 4.7 last year on this date, 3.1 today. Combined, Mookie and Sale were 4.9 games better last year. So, that still maps to 6 games behind the Yankees this year, but 1 ahead for the wildcard. Numbers, numbers, numbers and how do they translate year to year though. You just have to take each year for what it brings. You can’t expect Mookie or anyone not named Trout to put up 10.4 fWAR back to back years.
 
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BaseballJones

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Mookie had a 6.7 fWAR last year on this date, 3.4 today. Sale was 4.7 last year on this date, 3.1 today. Combined, Mookie and Sale were 4.9 games better last year. So, that still maps to 6 games behind the Yankees this year, but 1 ahead for the wildcard. Numbers, numbers, numbers and how do they translate year to year though. You just have to take each year for what it brings. You can’t expect Mookie or anyone not named Trout to put up 10.4 fWAR back to back years.

Trout has never once surpassed 10.2 fWAR. He's only been over 10 twice. So not only has he never put up 10.4 fWAR in back to back years, he's never done it even once.

So yeah, asking Mookie to do that is a bit much.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Mookie had a 6.7 fWAR last year on this date, 3.4 today. Sale was 4.7 last year on this date, 3.1 today. Combined, Mookie and Sale were 4.9 games better last year. So, that still maps to 6 games behind the Yankees this year, but 1 ahead for the wildcard. Numbers, numbers, numbers and how do they translate year to year though. You just have to take each year for what it brings. You can’t expect Mookie or anyone not named Trout to put up 10.4 fWAR back to back years.
It IS overly simplistic and unrealistic to say that all they need is 2018 Mookie and 2018 Sale. But there's no doubt they could certainly use better Mookie and better Sale than they've gotten (recent results suggest maybe "better" versions of those guys have arrived). They could also use better JD Martinez, better Andrew Benintendi, better Rick Porcello, healthy Nate Eovaldi, and healthy Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce.
 

YTF

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They could also use better JD Martinez, better Andrew Benintendi, better Rick Porcello, healthy Nate Eovaldi, and healthy Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce.
You're not wrong in this. Better versions of these guys compared to what they have been to date would help to some extent, but the vast offensive improvements at third base, catcher, the production that the Sox have gotten from Chavis and Borgaerts out pacing last season's brilliance at the plate has had to have recouped a great portion of that. What's lacking from Martinez, Benintendi, Moreland and Pearce to date has probably had a minimal effect on where the Sox sit in the standings. Sale and Porcello's pitching has hurt as well as the absence of a fifth starter. If those three slots along with the bullpen were even just 25% better than they have been the Sox probably lead the wild card race by a few games.
 

Plympton91

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You just don't get it: The trade of Porcello makes perfect sense to those who knew during the offseason what kind of year he and the Sox would have in 2019
There were plenty of people who saw the payroll situation the Red Sox were in during the off-season and identified Porcello as an obvious overpay that could help rebalance the distribution across the rest of the team.
 
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There were plenty of people who saw the payroll situation the Red Sox were in during the off-season and identified Porcello as an obvious overpay that could help rebalance the distribution across the rest of the team.
Wouldn't other teams see Porcello as an obvious overpay? If other teams saw Porcello as being worth about $15 million, the Sox would have had to cover about $6M. They would then need the $15M savings to replace him with a comparable pitcher. What would have been the point in trading Porcello only to end up in about the same place?
 

Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat

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Wouldn't other teams see Porcello as an obvious overpay? If other teams saw Porcello as being worth about $15 million, the Sox would have had to cover about $6M. They would then need the $15M savings to replace him with a comparable pitcher. What would have been the point in trading Porcello only to end up in about the same place?
Suffice it to say, the Red Sox front office considered all possibilities this off-season, and, for various reasons, decided not to trade Porcello. Posters on SoSH are not the only ones who think of these things.
 

BaseballJones

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I’m as quick to recognize as anyone the downgrades that JD, Benny, and Betts have been this season. And yet the Sox are averaging more runs per game this year than last. So on the whole, offense hasn’t been the problem.

The problem has clearly been Sale and Porcello among the starters, and a bullpen that’s blown a crap ton of saves. Fortunately, Sale should be fixable and the bullpen is getting Eovaldi, who should be an immense help.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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You're not wrong in this. Better versions of these guys compared to what they have been to date would help to some extent, but the vast offensive improvements at third base, catcher, the production that the Sox have gotten from Chavis and Borgaerts out pacing last season's brilliance at the plate has had to have recouped a great portion of that. What's lacking from Martinez, Benintendi, Moreland and Pearce to date has probably had a minimal effect on where the Sox sit in the standings. Sale and Porcello's pitching has hurt as well as the absence of a fifth starter. If those three slots along with the bullpen were even just 25% better than they have been the Sox probably lead the wild card race by a few games.
I understand that the "down" offensive years out of Betts, Martinez, and Benintendi (and lost years from Moreland/Pearce) have been off-set by the improved performances from Vazquez, Devers, Bogaerts, etc. However, better years out of those guys could help with the timing issue that the offense had, particularly the first couple months. They've got a lot of games where they've scored 8+ runs. They've also got a bunch of games where they've been held to 2 or fewer runs. Maybe the distribution of their league leading run scoring could change the outcome of a few games, and that could be aided by getting different, better contributions from certain hitters in the lineup.

Bottom line, as you point out though, is that the flaw in this team has first and foremost been the rotation. It started thin with the presumptive 6th starter/swing man starting the year on the DL (and #7 on the suspended list). Then Eovaldi went down. And Sale stumbled (perhaps literally with that toe issue). And Porcello declined further. Too many games where they've started in a hole and asked too much of the bullpen to keep them in it. Even a highly paid, high caliber bullpen would be buckling under the weight of the innings asked of this pen.
 

Al Zarilla

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Trout has never once surpassed 10.2 fWAR. He's only been over 10 twice. So not only has he never put up 10.4 fWAR in back to back years, he's never done it even once.

So yeah, asking Mookie to do that is a bit much.
Trout had a 10.1 and a 10.2 in 2012 and 2013. That’s close enough for me. Also, if you extrapolate out his current 6.5 to 162 games, you get 10.5. Put that with last year’s 9.8 and you get another “in the ballpark” back to back 10s. I meant he’s probably the only current player to bet on for such back to backs. Love to see Mookie keep it going this year though.
 

bosockboy

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I understand that the "down" offensive years out of Betts, Martinez, and Benintendi (and lost years from Moreland/Pearce) have been off-set by the improved performances from Vazquez, Devers, Bogaerts, etc. However, better years out of those guys could help with the timing issue that the offense had, particularly the first couple months. They've got a lot of games where they've scored 8+ runs. They've also got a bunch of games where they've been held to 2 or fewer runs. Maybe the distribution of their league leading run scoring could change the outcome of a few games, and that could be aided by getting different, better contributions from certain hitters in the lineup.

Bottom line, as you point out though, is that the flaw in this team has first and foremost been the rotation. It started thin with the presumptive 6th starter/swing man starting the year on the DL (and #7 on the suspended list). Then Eovaldi went down. And Sale stumbled (perhaps literally with that toe issue). And Porcello declined further. Too many games where they've started in a hole and asked too much of the bullpen to keep them in it. Even a highly paid, high caliber bullpen would be buckling under the weight of the innings asked of this pen.
Moreland, while being out a good bit, carried us the first 4-6 weeks. He’s had some value.
 

Plympton91

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Wouldn't other teams see Porcello as an obvious overpay? If other teams saw Porcello as being worth about $15 million, the Sox would have had to cover about $6M. They would then need the $15M savings to replace him with a comparable pitcher. What would have been the point in trading Porcello only to end up in about the same place?
Yeah, that’s what I said in a previous post. To me the obvious comp is Tanner Roark, who the Reds were willing to pay $10 million and give up a marginal reliever with options to get. Saving $10 million on Porcello and nontendering Thornburg gets you Zach Britton.
 

genoasalami

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The script was written when they mailed it in during spring training. Too worn out and mentally fatigued from their WS run. 3 months of vaca between end of season and spring training was apparently not enough time to "recover".
 

Benni

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This whole season started off without a closer. How do you go into a season without a viable closer ? That just tells you management did not care about this season. I am very disappointed in management letting everyone down this year. You NEED a closer to have a successful team.
 

bosox79

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Clearly they were punting 2019 before it even started. That's sarcasm, since I'm not sure it's obvious given some of the posts. Are people even serious with their takes now?
 

Salem's Lot

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Clearly they were punting 2019 before it even started. That's sarcasm, since I'm not sure it's obvious given some of the posts. Are people even serious with their takes now?
Unfortunately they seem to be serious. I think we need a thread named “Where did the main board go wrong?” This thread is reading like a transcript from a WEEI/TSH show.
 

plucy

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Since the advent of the wild card in '95 ten WS winners have failed to make the playoffs the following year. Since 2002 nine of seventeen have failed, four of seven since the additional WC spot was added.
I did not analyze each situation but I was amazed at the more recent higher percentages. NYY were responsible for the long term return rate being lower.
Source: Baseball Reference
 

Sampo Gida

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4-3 against the cup cakes of the AL East. Not what you want but not the end of the world.

Its easy to forget they have played at a 96 game pace since the poor start but the front runners are playing against plenty of cup cakes as well so its hard to make up ground unless you do well in H2H competition against good teams. 14 games against the Yankees and Rays to make up some ground.

I keep waiting for them to break out but with Sale in a slide despite his recent start against one of the cupcakes and Porcello pitching poorly, the rotation is becoming more of a concern than the bullpen.

Eovaldi may bolster the pen, but if they could pick up a front line BP arm we may need to consider moving him back to the rotation unless Porcello and Sale get back to sustained excellence
 

Lose Remerswaal

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This whole season started off without a closer. How do you go into a season without a viable closer ? That just tells you management did not care about this season. I am very disappointed in management letting everyone down this year. You NEED a closer to have a successful team.
I know I shouldn't engage, but with the salary cap restrictions, what closer did you want them to get, and how were they going to afford him?

Bonus points if you can show that you knew Barnes and Brasier were going to pitch as poorly as they have.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I know I shouldn't engage, but with the salary cap restrictions, what closer did you want them to get, and how were they going to afford him?

Bonus points if you can show that you knew Barnes and Brasier were going to pitch as poorly as they have.
Double bonus points if you can show how this mysterious closer was going to prevent the rotation from shitting the bed as often as it has.
 

chawson

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You just don't get it: The trade of Porcello makes perfect sense to those who knew during the offseason what kind of year he and the Sox would have in 2019
What kind of year did you think Porcello would have? He had one of the highest home run rates in baseball, a climbing walk rate, and declining velocity last year, and already had terrible seasons in 2015 and 17. I made a case in November that he had pretty much gone full James Shields, about three years younger than Shields did.
 

JMDurron

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The script was written when they mailed it in during spring training. Too worn out and mentally fatigued from their WS run. 3 months of vaca between end of season and spring training was apparently not enough time to "recover".
I wouldn't go so far as to say that they "mailed it in during spring training," but otherwise I think you're hitting on an underlying issue that can't be adequately captured from any separate analysis of the general components of the team (hitting, starting pitching, bullpen, fielding). There were some stunning mental mistakes early in the season from the position players, which on top of the performance from the starting pitchers seemed to me to indicate some kind of general fatigue/lethargy to start the season. I vaguely recall Eck on NESN at one point describing how hard it is to "get up again" for regular season games after the constant adrenaline of a long playoff run, which makes sense on some human level in my mind.

Between 2018 being the first deep playoff run for so many of the regulars (I believe only Bogaerts had ever been past the ALDS out of the team's "young core"), the use of many of the starters out of the bullpen, and Chris Sale obviously running on fumes by the end of the 2018 regular season, nevermind after an extra month of pitching in October, I think we're being naive if we don't put a large chunk of the early-season underperformance on physical and mental effects from the 2018 World Series run. In fact, I think people have the causality backwards on Spring Training - that Alex Cora and a seemingly highly competent coaching staff created a lethargic team to open the season because of having a more easy-going Spring Training. That same coaching staff knew damn well that some of their players were effectively still "gassed" from the long season, playoff run, extra/unusual use during those playoff games, and the shortened-but-busy offseason down time, so they did their best to "ease off" the gas a little from their normal preseason routines, while still trying to do enough tune-up work to be prepared for opening day. They would have been making the situation even worse by doing anything else if that is what they saw from the players when they reported to Florida.
 

DeadlySplitter

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the Astros won 103 games last year after winning it all and are on pace for similar this year after a ALCS run. what are they doing differently then? (the answer IMO is a much deeper farm)
 

absintheofmalaise

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This thread has outlived its usefulness and has devolved into nothing more than an opinionfest. I apologize for not locking it sooner.

Start new threads please. And if you're posting your opinion have some sound reasoning and/or facts to back it up please.
 
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