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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Reports: Twins agree to one-year deal with Lance Lynn

Saturday brought the news that they had reached agreement with veteran right-hander Lance Lynn on a one-year contract, according to a person with direct knowledge. Remarkably, it was for $12 million with another $2 million in potential performance bonuses. .

Lynn, 30, had turned down a recent two-year, $20 million offer from the Twins, according to a person with direct knowledge, but the two sides kept talking amid a historically slow-moving market.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 10, 2018 at 07:44 PM | 95 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: lance lynn, twins

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   1. Sleepy's not going to blame himself Posted: March 10, 2018 at 07:56 PM (#5636518)
Insane that STL wasn't willing to beat that. They must know something about him that they didn't make public, or they really want the draft pick.
   2. Zonk is One Individual Posted: March 10, 2018 at 08:09 PM (#5636520)
Insane that STL wasn't willing to beat that.


Technically, they did last fall with the 17.5 QO...
   3. Ziggy's screen name Posted: March 10, 2018 at 08:33 PM (#5636521)
This is a steal for the Twins. His FIP was ugly last year, but it takes about two years to return from TJ at full strength. I would have expected something more like 36/3 or 45/3 rather than this.
   4. cardsfanboy Posted: March 10, 2018 at 08:35 PM (#5636522)
I wanted to keep Lynn to be honest, he has 72 wins as a Cardinal, a five year deal probably puts him safely over 120 wins if not closer to 150(or better depending on the offense the Cardinals have, his health and performance but not out of the question) at 72 wins he's 28th all time among the Cardinal pitchers, 101 would put him top fifteen in franchise history, 115 top ten in history (yes for as old of an organization as the Cardinals are, they have only really had one great pitcher for any length of time....Jesse Haines is a hofer but probably overrated and Dizzy Dean had too short of a career(and probably also overrated) beyond that, you have Wainwright (who has the most career Cy Young shares among pitchers to never win the award, but really not a great career in any meaningful way, Bob Forsch a guy who was a number three for most of his career but is the definition of that term, giving you 30 starts at league average performance over a decade etc.) so it would have been nice to see a superior version of Bob Forsch on the team for 12 or so years.
   5. JRVJ Posted: March 10, 2018 at 08:54 PM (#5636528)
I am shocked that the Phillies and (especially) the Brewers, who'd already foregone picks this year, couldn't find it in their heart to get Lynn at these prices.
   6. Zonk is One Individual Posted: March 10, 2018 at 09:16 PM (#5636531)
Supposedly, the Brewers are close to signing Arrieta...
   7. JRVJ Posted: March 10, 2018 at 09:20 PM (#5636533)
6, that would make sense.
   8. The Ghost of Logan Schafer Posted: March 10, 2018 at 09:31 PM (#5636535)
Zonk, where did you hear that? I don't see how Arrieta can expect a multi-year deal once the season starts.
If he thinks he's so good, sign for 1 year / $20 million and get your butt in camp.
I don't get these guys. He probably could have gotten 4 / $100 million earlier from the Cubs.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 10, 2018 at 09:46 PM (#5636537)
Badly needed for Minn. Hopefully they can at least make Cleveland try this season.

Supposedly, the Brewers are close to signing Arrieta...

That would be great, we need some more division races. Yankees/Red Sox looked like it was going to be the only real battle.
   10. Zonk is One Individual Posted: March 10, 2018 at 09:51 PM (#5636538)
Zonk, where did you hear that? I don't see how Arrieta can expect a multi-year deal once the season starts.


Sportswriter tweet I cannot find again - a quick search can't find the one (I thought?) I saw, but a lot of "inside track" and "favorites" regarding Arrieta and the Brewers.

The Cubs supposedly offered him Darvish's deal as a "last call courtesy" before finalizing with Yu... and it seems likely a big miscalculation not to take it. I believe the Brewers are also the only other team at this point to make an actual offer to Jake (but I might be misremembering that).

With the Twins signing Lynn, I think the Phillies are the only ones actively looking for a front-end SP.

At this point, I think Arrieta is already looking at needing an extra week before being ready... and the clock does continue to tick on an even later start.
   11. Zonk is One Individual Posted: March 10, 2018 at 10:03 PM (#5636541)
That would be great, we need some more division races. Yankees/Red Sox looked like it was going to be the only real battle.


I was pretty surprised with the Brewers last year - and really, while I have my doubts Chase Anderson and Jimmy Nelson (of course, he won't be back till June) will repeat last year (Shaw, too) - there are other guys they might expect to be better (Arcia is going to be really good, I think. Braun is a pretty good bounceback candidate. Davies is legit, I think).

The Brewers do still have an OF to trade (unless they do the smart thing and move Santana to 1B in place of Thames).

I'm kind of surprised the Brewers didn't look at a return home for Lucroy at the price he went for - but I gather they like Pina's pitcher handling.
   12. The Ghost of Logan Schafer Posted: March 10, 2018 at 11:18 PM (#5636551)
I still think the Nationals might find a way to get Arrieta. If Arrieta wants a title, here's his chance.
As far as the Brewers outfield, in addition to being forced to DFA Jesus Aguilar, I think Domingo Santana
is (undeservedly) going to get screwed. Braun said he's far from being comfortable at 1B.
This makes me think he will only play 1B against LHP (Thames is bad against LHP). The Brewers are in a
division with only 2 or 3 lefty starters, therefore Braun will be in LF most of the time, bumping
Yelich to RF and Santana to the bench. Which stinks, because he hits RHP and LHP fairly equally.
   13. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: March 10, 2018 at 11:25 PM (#5636553)
This is a nice get for the Twins. I think adding Lynn and Odorizzi positions them if the Tribe slips up a bit.
   14. Zonk is One Individual Posted: March 10, 2018 at 11:31 PM (#5636554)
Oh yeah - I forgot the Brewers were hoping to use Braun at 1B.... at least that's a little bit better for Santana. I'm still not sure I understand BOTH signing Cain and trading for Yelich, but I almost wonder if the Brewers actually got proxy hurt by the slow FA market for SPs.... I.e., It feels like maybe they feared being priced out of the FA contract market and had their eyes on flipping an OF, but the slow market for Lynn/Cobb/Arrieta rippled into a slower trade market.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: March 11, 2018 at 01:00 AM (#5636562)
I won't be the least surprised if there's a settlement a couple of years from now and these guys will get a little bit more cash in the end. But there's never going to be a settlement that compensates Lynn for missing out on a contract in the range of 4/$70. It's obviously possible he'll get something like that next offseason but not everybody will.

As somebody, probably Zonk, noted -- the Cubs signing Chatwood for 3/$39 might have been an OK signing in a typical market but now that we see Lynn could be had for 1/$12-14, it's not looking so brilliant. Obviously there was risk in waiting but this was certainly the offseason to wait.
   16. Meatwad Posted: March 11, 2018 at 03:09 AM (#5636563)
Iirc unless the cards threw a boat load of money at him that he would not sign with stl.
   17. Sleepless in Munich Posted: March 11, 2018 at 05:39 AM (#5636564)
As somebody, probably Zonk, noted -- the Cubs signing Chatwood for 3/$39 might have been an OK signing in a typical market but now that we see Lynn could be had for 1/$12-14, it's not looking so brilliant. Obviously there was risk in waiting but this was certainly the offseason to wait.

Chatwood and Lynn have similar projections for next season, but Chatwood is two years younger and does not cost two draft picks and international bonus money. Maxye Lynn's contract is still better value, but the difference can't be big.
   18. The Duke Posted: March 11, 2018 at 10:16 AM (#5636585)
Do the cards get much as Comp on a deal like this?

I, too, wished they had signed lynn especially for this paltry price.

This year changes QOs forever. Given this dynamic, most teams will not QO now which means most of next years crop will likely be free agents without compensation.

The other thing I don’t get is why 10-15 teams think they can repeat thre cubs/astros gambit. It only works if you are the worst or second worst team. With so many teams trying to be the worst, a bunch will be disappointed.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 11, 2018 at 11:39 AM (#5636595)
I still think the Nationals might find a way to get Arrieta. If Arrieta wants a title, here's his chance.

He has one. Last year with the Cubs. I'm sure he wants to get paid.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 11, 2018 at 11:56 AM (#5636598)

The other thing I don’t get is why 10-15 teams think they can repeat thre cubs/astros gambit. It only works if you are the worst or second worst team. With so many teams trying to be the worst, a bunch will be disappointed.


They know this. That's what makes me think that "tanking" is much more about the guaranteed profits than the ability to improve the team.
   21. JRVJ Posted: March 11, 2018 at 12:49 PM (#5636612)
This year changes QOs forever. Given this dynamic, most teams will not QO now which means most of next years crop will likely be free agents without compensation.


I wrote about this last week in a slightly different context, but I think that the real canary in the coal mine was Jeremy Hellickson in 2016-2017. The Phillies offered Hellickson a QO and all reports from the Philly media were that the Phillies were convinced that Hellickson would not take it, he would be signed by some other team and the Phils would get a pick.

Hellickson and his agent(s) presumably put out feelers, presumably realized that there was no market for him, and took the Phils QO.

The surprise this year is that Moustakas, Lynn and (presumably) Cobb did not take the QO's made to them (I still think Arrieta will get a solid, if not spectacular deal). Phrased differently, if you are a middling FA, it's probably a good idea to take a QO and get US$17.4MM (probably a little bit more) next year.

Also, I could see teams being a little bit more aggressive trading away middling FAs-to-be, since the trading team doesn't want the quandary of offering/having that FA take the QO.
   22. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: March 11, 2018 at 02:12 PM (#5636628)
I still think the Nationals might find a way to get Arrieta. If Arrieta wants a title, here's his chance.

He has one. Last year with the Cubs.
Well, year before last with the Cubs.
   23. Zonk is One Individual Posted: March 11, 2018 at 02:30 PM (#5636632)
Agree with 21 - and I'd even add the new compensation rules are far less punitive than the prior comp rules. Virtually everyone's 1st rounder is safe now, and it's awfully hard to lose your 2nd.

I suspect this is the last time that we see non-superstars get QOs.

On Chatwood - yeah, I mentioned the Cubs really do seem have made the overpay of the offseason (non-Hosmer division). I'm still very happy with the signing - I like Chatwood an awful lot and that deal is hardly crippling for the Cubs. Frankly, now I'm starting to wonder if they should have passed on Darvish and grabbed Lynn at 1/15 or something. But yeah - in hindsight? They probably paid Chatwood about 10 mil or more over what the market turned out to be.
   24. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: March 12, 2018 at 08:39 AM (#5636761)
I still think the Nationals might find a way to get Arrieta. If Arrieta wants a title, here's his chance.


Isn't Dusty still the manager of the Nats?
   25. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 09:03 AM (#5636772)
If you're a 79 win team and sliding it makes absolutely no sense to drop 80 million or so extra dollas a year just to try and get to the mid 80's. If you're heading the wrong way and you don't have any answers on hand to correct that slide you should tear it down and rebuild. Despite what the chicken littles keep squawking a third to half the league is not trying to be the worst team in the league. So a legitimate tear down will net you several high picks over several years.
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 09:18 AM (#5636779)
If you're a 79 win team and sliding it makes absolutely no sense to drop 80 million or so extra dollas a year just to try and get to the mid 80's.

A mid 80s prjected win total puts you in the top 10 in MLB right now. Teams shoudl absolutely be spending to get to the mid 80s. Especially since we've seen FAs signing for like $3-4M/WAR this offseason.
   27. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 09:21 AM (#5636781)
Methinks you missed the point or most of my sentences if that is your rebuttal.
   28. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 09:27 AM (#5636783)
Methinks you missed the point or most of my sentences if that is your rebuttal.

Your point was completely stacked to reach the conclusion you wanted. It doesn't cost $80M to add 6 wins; it never has, certainly not this offseason.

But if a team finds itself with 79 proj. wins and a normal payroll, say $125M, they should absolutely spend an extra $30-40M trying to reach the playoffs.
   29. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 09:35 AM (#5636786)
You're still missing the point. The team I'm describing isn't a team that is projected to win 79 games but probably less than that. Thus the if you are a "79 win team and sliding". Secondly you can't just go out and get 6 wins. A) because you have no idea if you will get to 79 wins again, b)whether what you get will get you 6 wins, and c)you can get 6 wins in areas in which you have 0 wins right now. The reality is if in year A you got 79 wins and your team is getting older and has less and less upside you probably need to budget for at 10 WAR of acquisitions to get to the mid 80's and even with a great eye for FA talent and a keen nose for deals that is still going to cost you 80 million or so in AAV.
   30. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 10:06 AM (#5636799)
You're still missing the point. The team I'm describing isn't a team that is projected to win 79 games but probably less than that. Thus the if you are a "79 win team and sliding". Secondly you can't just go out and get 6 wins. A) because you have no idea if you will get to 79 wins again, b)whether what you get will get you 6 wins, and c)you can get 6 wins in areas in which you have 0 wins right now. The reality is if in year A you got 79 wins and your team is getting older and has less and less upside you probably need to budget for at 10 WAR of acquisitions to get to the mid 80's and even with a great eye for FA talent and a keen nose for deals that is still going to cost you 80 million or so in AAV.

Again, a "Just so" story to justify tanking.
   31. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: March 12, 2018 at 10:14 AM (#5636801)
Isn't Dusty still the manager of the Nats?

Nope.
   32. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 10:18 AM (#5636803)
Again, a "Just so" story to justify tanking.

So? That doesn't negate the logic of tearing down your team so you can be better in 3 to 5 years. Your view doesn't provide a long term solution merely advises putting a band aid on a bleeding wound hoping you can limp home and somehow sleeping it off will magically solve the problem. Going for it with a less than mediocre team and failing simply wastes a year. Going for it and getting to 85 and getting bounced out in the one game playoff is still failing. Hell, there isn't much to gain by winning 85 games and losing in the LDS either but I'm sure some will consider that a success. I'm not sure it will hold up if the next year they win 70 games and they're now 2 years removed from when they were in a better position to flip assets for better future assets.
   33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 10:22 AM (#5636804)
So? That doesn't negate the logic of tearing down your team so you can be better in 3 to 5 years.

Just so stories don't tell us anything useful.

I'm not sure why you're even talking about a tear down in this thread. The Twins shouldn't be taering down; they've got a great shot at a wild card. They did the right thing in adding Lynn.
   34. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 10:27 AM (#5636806)
I'm talking about it because there was a number of posts about tanking in this thread.

How is saying you should spend unknown money on unknown free agents for unknown results useful? There are times when you shouldn't throw good money after bad and being 6 to 10 wins away from the bottom of bottom most thresholds and slipping further and further away is one of those times.
   35. Panik on the streets of London (Trout! Trout!) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 10:27 AM (#5636807)
I think the Twins could win the division if they stay healthy. I know the Indians are the favorites but I don't think they are a guarantee to win 95 games again. If Minnesota gets to 90, it could be a race.
   36. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: March 12, 2018 at 10:32 AM (#5636809)
Isn't Dusty still the manager of the Nats?

Nope.


Then the Nats have a chance!
   37. Rally Posted: March 12, 2018 at 10:51 AM (#5636812)
I suspect this is the last time that we see non-superstars get QOs.


Unless the QO itself goes down. If we have enough players who expected 15-20 million end up signing for 6, that might happen.
   38. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 12, 2018 at 10:59 AM (#5636817)
The other thing I don’t get is why 10-15 teams think they can repeat thre cubs/astros gambit.


Who are these 10-15 teams?
   39. Buck Coats Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:06 AM (#5636820)
Going for it and getting to 85 and getting bounced out in the one game playoff is still failing. Hell, there isn't much to gain by winning 85 games and losing in the LDS either but I'm sure some will consider that a success.


Well it's certainly more successful than not making the playoffs. Pretty much by definition. Why is it good for the sport and the fans if "possibly bad" teams don't try to win as much as they can? If teams would rather be bad for multiple years (!) because they can get better draft picks - well then, the draft system needs to be reorganized to prevent that, because that's terrible for the sport.
   40. Rally Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:10 AM (#5636825)
Looks like it will stay about the same as this year's 17.4 million. It's the average of the top 125 salaries in baseball, which stretches from Kershaw's 35.5 to Kris Davis at 10.5. I got the info from spotrac.com, which looks updated as it includes Arrieta tied for 4th.

Official numbers may of course differ, not sure if they use Arrieta's 2018 figure or an aav. As far as free agents who could still sign and push the numbers up, we are running out of guys who could make enough to get on the list.

Right now I'm at 17.48 million. If Alex Cobb signs for the same amount as Lynn that would take it to 17.5. Maybe Neil Walker, but hard to see him, at this point, getting more than Moustakas or Todd Frazier. Oh yeah, Greg Holland is still out there. But the calculation is mostly in the books right now.
   41. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:12 AM (#5636826)
And if that 85 win team then collapses the next year and stays bad for the next 5 years because they keep trying to band aid over the problem, that is good for the fans? If you sacrifice the 20% chance of getting to 85 wins so that in 3 years you have a 50% chance of getting to 90 wins and have a good chance of being good for 5 years or so I would think that is far more preferable for the fanbase than getting a bunch of mediocre FA that the fans aren't and won't get excited about to play unexciting baseball for a season or more.
   42. jmurph Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:12 AM (#5636827)
Going for it and getting to 85 and getting bounced out in the one game playoff is still failing. Hell, there isn't much to gain by winning 85 games and losing in the LDS either but I'm sure some will consider that a success.

This strikes me as obviously wrong in all possible ways. It's easier to improve from 85, even after a one game playoff exit, than it is from 70 or whatever. But congrats on picking 10 places higher, I guess.
   43. jmurph Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:13 AM (#5636829)
And if that 85 win team then collapses the next year and stays bad for the next 5 years because they keep trying to band aid over the problem, that is good for the fans? If you sacrifice the 20% chance of getting to 85 wins so that in 3 years you have a 50% chance of getting to 90 wins and have a good chance of being good for 5 years or so I would think that is far more preferable for the fanbase than getting a bunch of mediocre FA that the fans aren't and won't get excited about to play unexciting baseball for a season or more

Which part of competing for the playoffs can reasonably be described as "unexciting baseball?"
   44. Buck Coats Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:15 AM (#5636830)
It seems impossible that all of these teams that are tanking could possibly have a 50% chance of getting to 90 wins...
   45. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:16 AM (#5636831)
In terms of being terrible sport. The Cubs winning the WS was good for baseball. The Cubs being a winning team and one that looks to be playing for years in the postseason is good for baseball. Before they tanked they didn't have either. Tanking in the Cubs case was unquestionably good for the game. Now then on the flip side you have the A's. A team that hasn't intentionally tanked for as long as I can remember. Them trying has not been unquestionably good for the game.

MLB should be trying and doing everything they can to make sure that as many large market/large following teams are good for as long as they can be. If that means some have to cycle down to get better then that means they need to make sure that others are cycling up at the same time.
   46. Buck Coats Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:16 AM (#5636832)
Plus if they collapse next year - why wouldn't you see that as a good thing? Now they get to tank and get better draft picks! Hooray, win-win!
   47. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:16 AM (#5636833)
It seems impossible that all of these teams that are tanking


What teams are tanking?
   48. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:19 AM (#5636834)
Plus if they collapse next year - why wouldn't you see that as a good thing? Now they get to tank and get better draft picks! Hooray, win-win!

Well, a total collapse makes a lot of decisions pointless or meaningless. But if some team goes for it this year instead of selling off chits and they win 75 games they are much worse off in terms of trying to rebuild.
   49. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:20 AM (#5636835)

Which part of competing for the playoffs can reasonably be described as "unexciting baseball?"


Practically the whole season if you look at attendance and ratings. A team hovering around .500 doesn't generate a lot of excitement unless they lost like 100 games the last few seasons before that.
   50. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:21 AM (#5636836)
It seems impossible that all of these teams that are tanking

I'll do the math for you. If 4 teams are tanking that means 2 need to win 90 or more games in a few years. Hell, that's already happened.
   51. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:25 AM (#5636837)
This strikes me as obviously wrong in all possible ways. It's easier to improve from 85, even after a one game playoff exit, than it is from 70 or whatever. But congrats on picking 10 places higher, I guess.

Is it? You've got at least a handful of 1 year FA leaving that had to have contributed to get you to your 85 wins. You've got your other players who have reached FA that either have to be paid more or their vacancy filled. You have veterans getting a year older and likely a year worse. You have your farm system stretched for another season. You have possibly traded off prospects for vets to fill holes to get to 85 wins.

Teams on the wrong side of the age curve that try to fill holes to stretch out their streak generally don't improve much without very very huge expenditures. Most teams can't do that.
   52. SoSH U at work Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:27 AM (#5636839)
Most teams can't do that.


Most teams don't get really good from being bad either. You're letting the last two WS champs color your impression of how easy it is to move from tanking to winning.
   53. jmurph Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:34 AM (#5636843)
MLB should be trying and doing everything they can to make sure that as many large market/large following teams are good for as long as they can be. If that means some have to cycle down to get better then that means they need to make sure that others are cycling up at the same time.

I don't disagree with the first part, but competently run big market teams should practically never have to blow it up and bottom out. That the Cubs had to do that to get better says a lot more about the previous years (decades?) of roster management than anything about what it takes to build a successful team in modern baseball.
   54. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:38 AM (#5636847)
In 1990 three teams in the NL won 90+ games; Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and the Mets. Three more teams won 85-90 games; LA, San Francisco and Montreal. In the AL, only the juggernaut A's (103) and the second place White Sox (94) broke 90, with only one other team (Toronto) breaking 85. Sixteen teams muddled along somewhere between the Rangers (83) and the sad-sack Braves (65.) It seems that the primary change isn't the number of competitive teams in any given season, but the narrative surrounding why teams are uncompetitive. The Braves of 1990 were in the final year (+1) of a dedicated, strategic "five year strategy" to rebuild their franchise via drafting and development. In short, they had been "tanking" since 1986. Other teams were simply "unsuccessful" or "poorly run." But that's a spin on the narrative, not a change of facts. I'd like to know what, aside from the description of multiple year rebuild as "tanking" rather than "not being in their competitive window," makes 2018 different.
   55. PreservedFish Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:41 AM (#5636851)
Narratives matter.
   56. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:43 AM (#5636852)


Most teams don't get really good from being bad either. You're letting the last two WS champs color your impression of how easy it is to move from tanking to winning.


That reasoning seems a little flawed. Never mind the success when examining whether a strategy is effective or not.

Andrew Friedman became the GM of the Rays after the 2005 season. By 2008 they had won 97 games and were in the WS. They rattled off 6 winning seasons and were in the playoffs 4 times.

Neal Huntington took over the Pirates at the end of the 2007 season. 5 seasons later they rattled off a stretch off 94, 88, and 98 wins.

Doug Melvin became the GM at the end of the 2002 season. His team probably had the most checkered success but he got them to .500 in 2005 and a winning season in 2007, 90 wins in 2008, 96 wins in 2011.

Dayton Moore took the longest path to success and perhaps had the shortest sustained success (and in terms of wins the least impressive) but they of course won the WS.
   57. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:46 AM (#5636853)
Narratives matter.


Sure. But this narrative is false. Teams that are "tanking" are doing the same thing the '90 Braves were doing. Attempting to focusing the rebuild of their farm systems into a shorter, narrower window (3-5 years) in order to be competitive in the near future. The goal isn't to avoid losing seasons for 2-3 years. The goal is to avoid being the Pirates from 1993-2012.
   58. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:46 AM (#5636854)
In 1990 three teams in the NL won 90+ games; Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and the Mets. Three more teams won 85-90 games; LA, San Francisco and Montreal. In the AL, only the juggernaut A's (103) and the second place White Sox (94) broke 90, with only one other team (Toronto) breaking 85. Sixteen teams muddled along somewhere between the Rangers (83) and the sad-sack Braves (65.) It seems that the primary change isn't the number of competitive teams in any given season, but the narrative surrounding why teams are uncompetitive. The Braves of 1990 were in the final year (+1) of a dedicated, strategic "five year strategy" to rebuild their franchise via drafting and development. In short, they had been "tanking" since 1986. Other teams were simply "unsuccessful" or "poorly run." But that's a spin on the narrative, not a change of facts. I'd like to know what, aside from the description of multiple year rebuild as "tanking" rather than "not being in their competitive window," makes 2018 different.

What's changed is time. 30 years from now some people will look upon 2018 and will know the end results of this season and what it led to. The narrative will have been created, discussed, and then cemented. The present is always tough and always involves lots of people muddling along looking for simple solutions that make sense of it all or that can sum it all up in a neat little package.
   59. PreservedFish Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:50 AM (#5636857)
Sure. But this narrative is false. Teams that are "tanking" are doing the same thing the '90 Braves were doing.


The Braves may have just been ahead of the curve. If too many teams do that same thing at the same time, we'll get to a point where every year there is a handful of teams that win 100+ games and a handful that lose 100+ games. We haven't arrived there, but I think it's healthy to look at league trends and assess the possibility that it might happen, and suggest correctives.
   60. Buck Coats Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:54 AM (#5636860)
Andrew Friedman became the GM of the Rays after the 2005 season. By 2008 they had won 97 games and were in the WS. They rattled off 6 winning seasons and were in the playoffs 4 times.

Neal Huntington took over the Pirates at the end of the 2007 season. 5 seasons later they rattled off a stretch off 94, 88, and 98 wins.


The Pirates and the Rays are examples of tanking working? The Rays were awful for 10 years before they had any success, the Pirates for 20! This is good for baseball?

   61. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:54 AM (#5636861)
If too many teams do that same thing at the same time, we'll get to a point where every year there is a handful of teams that win 100+ games and a handful that lose 100+ games. We haven't arrived there, but I think it's healthy to look at league trends and assess the possibility that it might happen


Again, sure. But as you say, we're not there yet, and if the league ever gets to a point where the race to the bottom is more contested than the race to the top, it will correct itself. In that scenario, mid-talent teams would defer a couple more years before rebuilding and play the better odds at playoffs gate receipts.

I'm still waiting for a list of the 15 odd teams that are all "tanking" this year.
   62. SoSH U at work Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:55 AM (#5636863)

That reasoning seems a little flawed. Never mind the success when examining whether a strategy is effective or not.

Andrew Friedman became the GM of the Rays after the 2005 season. By 2008 they had won 97 games and were in the WS. They rattled off 6 winning seasons and were in the playoffs 4 times.

Neal Huntington took over the Pirates at the end of the 2007 season. 5 seasons later they rattled off a stretch off 94, 88, and 98 wins.

Doug Melvin became the GM at the end of the 2002 season. His team probably had the most checkered success but he got them to .500 in 2005 and a winning season in 2007, 90 wins in 2008, 96 wins in 2011.

Dayton Moore took the longest path to success and perhaps had the shortest sustained success (and in terms of wins the least impressive) but they of course won the WS.


Yeah, and lots and lots of teams that were really bad never got really good. You're merely highlighting the teams (and now you're not just highlighting tanking teams, but any team that went from bad to good over a period of time), but ignoring the rest.
   63. Buck Coats Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:56 AM (#5636866)
Not to mention your example of Oakland as a team that tragically refuses to tank, and look where they are - well they won 90+ games in 2012 and 2013, that's just as recent as the Rays
   64. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:58 AM (#5636868)
The Pirates and the Rays are examples of tanking working? The Rays were awful for 10 years before they had any success, the Pirates for 20! This is good for baseball?

What I said? Yes that was good for baseball. What you said? Wasn't what I said or claimed.
   65. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:04 PM (#5636869)

Yeah, and lots and lots of teams that were really bad never got really good. You're merely highlighting the teams (and now you're not just highlighting tanking teams, but any team that went from bad to good over a period of time), but ignoring the rest.


So it's all just random?

The teams I highlighted had a stretch where they had a high amount of high draft picks, correctly identified the talent, developed it, added some FA or talent via trades, and got good. That is what is supposed to happen when a team tanks. A team is saying we will be really bad for a couple to 3 years so that we can obtain a high amount of prospect talent, we will trade off what major league chits we have now to add to that supply. We'll develop it and have a possibly good to great core of players for years to come.

Not to mention your example of Oakland as a team that tragically refuses to tank, and look where they are - well they won 90+ games in 2012 and 2013, that's just as recent as the Rays

So? My example of Oakland wasn't to say it couldn't be done but that Oakland trying for it isn't an unquestionably good thing for baseball. Pretty much nobody cares if Oakland tries or not. Tanking as a problem largely has to do with some people not liking big teams doing that. Nobody cares if the Pirates or Royals or Rays or A's lose for 10 years. Lots of people will care if a big teams is mediocre or worse for years and years and years.
   66. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:04 PM (#5636870)
The Rays were awful for 10 years before they had any success, the Pirates for 20! This is good for baseball?


The Yankees were terrible for a six year run, from 1987-1993, never finishing above 4th in their division. This was good for baseball? The 20 year horror in Pittsburgh is the thing all franchises are trying to avoid. Throwing the Rays "10 years" of "awful" in there is thumbing the scales in favor of your desired conclusion. The Rays *were* horrible for those 10 years. They were also an expansion franchise dropped into the meat grinder of the league's toughest division for that decade as well.
   67. SoSH U at work Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:09 PM (#5636873)
The teams I highlighted had a stretch where they had a high amount of high draft picks, correctly identified the talent, developed it, added some FA or talent via trades, and got good. That is what is supposed to happen when a team tanks. A team is saying we will be really bad for a couple to 3 years so that we can obtain a high amount of prospect talent, we will trade off what major league chits we have now to add to that supply. We'll develop it and have a possibly good to great core of players for years to come.


Yes, and it's much harder than you're suggesting, which is what we've been saying. Look at the Top 5 picks in any draft. Typically no more than one becomes a true difference-maker per class.

Yes, it's possible to go from being bad to good. It always has been, with or without intentionally trying to be ungood.

But it's nowhere near that 50 percent chance to be winning 90 games and being good for five years or so that you suggested earlier. You've vastly overstating the ability to go from bad (or terrible) to good.

   68. SoSH U at work Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:11 PM (#5636876)
The Yankees were terrible for a six year run, from 1987-1993,


And that 89-win team that kicked off that run was the terriblest team of all.
   69. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:13 PM (#5636877)

Again, sure. But as you say, we're not there yet, and if the league ever gets to a point where the race to the bottom is more contested than the race to the top, it will correct itself. In that scenario, mid-talent teams would defer a couple more years before rebuilding and play the better odds at playoffs gate receipts.

I'm still waiting for a list of the 15 odd teams that are all "tanking" this year.


Yes, if half the league isn't trying then that means a ton of teams not trying for FA and trading off their chits. Teams on the bubble will find more value at lower prices than they did before. The scales will tilt and those teams will try for it. Not to mention that GM/Presidents will be incentivized to go for it at that point to keep their job. Some GM/President who has been in the job for 7 years and their team is sitting at 80 wins or so probably doesn't have the credits in the bank to convince their owners to rebuild. I mean the owners might be willing to rebuild but they'll want somebody else to do it for them.
   70. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:16 PM (#5636879)
Yes, and it's much harder than you're suggesting, which is what we've been saying. Look at the Top 5 picks in any draft. Typically no more than one becomes a true difference-maker per class.

Yes, it's possible to go from being bad to good. It always has been, with or without intentionally trying to be ungood.

But it's nowhere near that 50 percent chance to be winning 90 games and being good for five years or so that you suggested earlier. You've vastly overstating the ability to go from bad (or terrible) to good.


Well, it's easy to sit on the side and say it's hard or that I'm vastly overstating something when you're not really offering anything beyond a team should really try in some unknown manner.

It's really hard to win when you've got a below .500 team that looks to be getting worse. Does a team like that have a 50% chance of winning 90 games the next year? The season after that? Or how about the season after that?

What are the other teams of the last 10 years that "tanked" and didn't turn it around with that method? Or more specifically who are the GM/Presidents that failed and who succeeded?
   71. Buck Coats Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:18 PM (#5636880)
Pretty much nobody cares if Oakland tries or not. Tanking as a problem largely has to do with some people not liking big teams doing that. Nobody cares if the Pirates or Royals or Rays or A's lose for 10 years.


Well this is exactly what I'm complaining about, so I care. I'm sure Pirates and Royals and Rays and A's fans care. Whether you consider the tanking teams "big" or "small" couldn't matter less, the problem is that there are lots of teams not trying to win.
   72. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:23 PM (#5636883)
Well this is exactly what I'm complaining about, so I care. I'm sure Pirates and Royals and Rays and A's fans care. Whether you consider the tanking teams "big" or "small" couldn't matter less, the problem is that there are lots of teams not trying to win.

You may care but you really don't matter. Also, it was hyperbole. Finding someone who cares doesn't negate the point. The A's being good or bad is largely meaningless to the health of the game overall and in fact it is quite possible (though probably a small chance) that a consistently good A's team at the expense of a large market team is probably bad for baseball. Baseball is a zero sum game. Someone wins so someone has to lose. If the Rays, Royals, A's, and I don't know, the Twins? consistently win at the expense of LA, NY, Boston, and Chicago that is going to hurt the game of baseball.
   73. SoSH U at work Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:39 PM (#5636897)
Well, it's easy to sit on the side and say it's hard or that I'm vastly overstating something when you're not really offering anything beyond a team should really try in some unknown manner.


The 2013 Indians won 68 games. They didn't appear to be getting better, having won 80 games the year before. They didn't tank. They won 92 games the following year, and 102 last year.

The 2014 Diamondbacks won 64-79-64 games in the previous three years, looking rudderless but never trying to lose. They won 93 games last year.

The 2016 Yankees had fallen to 84 wins in 2016, and looked likely to sink further before getting better. Instead, they were one win away from the WS last year.

And, of course, the 20-year stretches of ineptitude of the Royals and Pirates, the Mariners long playoff drought, the inability for the Marlins to return to above .500 ball since their last WS title (including some legitimate tank jobs in there), suggests the road to winning is not always paved by losing.

You've overstated the ease with which one can go from terrible to bad.
   74. PreservedFish Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:45 PM (#5636904)
I think the more important point is that even if tanking is smart and effective, it can be a bad thing for the league if too many teams do it.

I don't know if too many teams are really doing it today or not. There are half a dozen teams obviously tanking, a few teams emerging from epic tank jobs (Phillies, Braves), and half a dozen teams that suck just because they suck. There are also middle-of-the-road teams that aren't stretching to improve themselves as much as we might have expected, which is probably just as large a factor in the molasses FA market as any uptick in the number of teams that are overtly tanking. And then you have medium quality teams like the Giants and Brewers that are doing what McCoy and Rickey mentioned, taking advantage of the situation to try and win more so than they might have otherwise.

Again, I don't know if it's a real problem yet, but it's potentially a real problem.
   75. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:47 PM (#5636906)
Again, I have never claimed that tanking is the only way to win games. Where did I overstate the ease? The throwing out of a random %? Winning games is very hard. The examples I showed show that winning games is very hard. You had a number of teams that have tried to find and develop talent in a concentrated manner and they don't all take only 2 years to turn things around.

As I asked before who are the GM/Presidents that have tanked in the last 10 years to get better? Who succeeded who failed?
   76. SoSH U at work Posted: March 12, 2018 at 12:54 PM (#5636911)
Where did I overstate the ease?


When you said:

If you sacrifice the 20% chance of getting to 85 wins so that in 3 years you have a 50% chance of getting to 90 wins and have a good chance of being good for 5 years
   77. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 01:15 PM (#5636928)
Did you read the next sentence after the part you quoted?
   78. SoSH U at work Posted: March 12, 2018 at 01:26 PM (#5636941)
Did you read the next sentence after the part you quoted?


Do you mean in the next post, because there was no other sentence (there was another part to the same sentence, but it had nothing to do with the ease at which a team can go from terrible to good by tanking, so it's not relevant to the question at hand).

   79. Sleepless in Munich Posted: March 12, 2018 at 01:28 PM (#5636944)
I don't know if too many teams are really doing it today or not. There are half a dozen teams obviously tanking, a few teams emerging from epic tank jobs (Phillies, Braves), and half a dozen teams that suck just because they suck.

I just don't see these numbers. Looking at Fangraphs' team projections, there are only ten teams projected to win less than 78 games, including the Phillies and Braves. So there is a maximum of eight teams tanking or sucking: The Orioles, Royals, Tigers, White Sox, Marlins, Pirates, Reds and Padres.
   80. Nasty Nate Posted: March 12, 2018 at 01:41 PM (#5636957)
So there is a maximum of eight teams tanking or sucking: The Orioles, Royals, Tigers, White Sox, Marlins, Pirates, Reds and Padres.
I might add the Rays to that list.
   81. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 12, 2018 at 01:43 PM (#5636960)
Again, I have never claimed that tanking is the only way to win games.


The problem, such that it exists, is that tanking is the most *cost effective* way to win games (eventually.) You *can* win games by buying stars off the free agent market rather than developing your own, but that cuts dollars out of the owner's profit margins, and owners want to win games AND make money. Part of the players crying foul this year is because pretty much everyone in the league knows this now, and you're seeing fewer and fewer Cam Bonifay/David Littlefield types of front offices any more. The big boys in LA/NY/Chicago/Boston are still throwing mad cash at payrolls and free agents, but you see very few mid- to small-market teams trying to compete in that market. They've gotten too smart to throw massive dollars after second-tier players like Derek Bell (or Mike Moustaukas.)

I honestly believe we're getting too much worry about due in 2018 though. Mostly due to the fact that the smartening up of smaller front offices, combined with a poorly negotiated CBA last time around and a random year where multiple large market payrolls are holding serve to dump beneath the revenue sharing ceiling, makes this year's market far slower than last years, and probably next years.
   82. PreservedFish Posted: March 12, 2018 at 01:45 PM (#5636964)
I just don't see these numbers. Looking at Fangraphs' team projections, there are only ten teams projected to win less than 78 games, including the Phillies and Braves. So there is a maximum of eight teams tanking or sucking: The Orioles, Royals, Tigers, White Sox, Marlins, Pirates, Reds and Padres.

I was considering the Rays one of the tankers along with the Tigers, White Sox, Marlins, Pirates, Royals. But I got lazy and didn't actually count the teams that just suck. I was thinking mostly of the Orioles, Padres and Reds. So you got me. I exaggerated.
   83. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 12, 2018 at 01:48 PM (#5636969)
I might add the Rays to that list.


I'm not sure about that. They're moving in odd ways, but Fangraphs did a very interesting bit on their off-season moves, nothing that they seem to be applying the inverse of their long standing pitching philosophy (get guys who throw fastballs) to their hitters (get rid of guys who can't hit fastballs.) It may or may not be a real strategy (I think it is, from the limited evidence.) It may or may not be effective (I don't know that I buy into it fully yet.) But it's a strategy to compete, so I don't think we should call it tanking.

The Braves are coming out of a 3 year "tank" (which they sucked at; never managed to actually get the first pick in the draft,) as are the Philllies. The Padres just dropped like, 700 gazillion million dollars on Eric Hosmer for some reason, so I'm not sure we can throw them into the "tanking" bucket either. They may be "just not very good at this." The others I'm not as familiar with, except the Marlins. "The Marlins" are a special case #### show in MLB, and have been forever and a day. But they were kind of showing signs of life until their superstar ace up and killed himself.
   84. jmurph Posted: March 12, 2018 at 02:11 PM (#5636995)
I might add the Rays to that list.

As was discussed in another thread recently, BPro projects them to make the playoffs. While I think that is a bit crazy, they're clearly not trying to bottom out.
   85. Yonder Alonso in misguided trousers (cardinal) Posted: March 12, 2018 at 03:44 PM (#5637056)
Right now I'm at 17.48 million. If Alex Cobb signs for the same amount as Lynn that would take it to 17.5. Maybe Neil Walker, but hard to see him, at this point, getting more than Moustakas or Todd Frazier. Oh yeah, Greg Holland is still out there. But the calculation is mostly in the books right now.


Walker just signed with the Yankees for 1 year at $5 mill, per MLBTR, so presumably the QO amount won't be affected.
   86. Sleepy's not going to blame himself Posted: March 12, 2018 at 05:33 PM (#5637098)
The others I'm not as familiar with, except the Marlins. "The Marlins" are a special case #### show in MLB, and have been forever and a day. But they were kind of showing signs of life until their superstar ace up and killed himself.
He would have been a free agent after the 2018 season anyway, so they probably would have traded him either last year or this year.
   87. Walt Davis Posted: March 12, 2018 at 06:27 PM (#5637108)
Again, the Cubs and Astros are not great examples of the benefits of tanking.

For all those losses, the Cubs got Bryant (huge), Schwarber and Happ (solid but unspectacular so far). Losing a ton of games had next to nothing to do with Contreras, Rizzo, Baez, Russell, Zobrist, Fowler, Heyward, Almora) Lester, Arrieta, Hendricks, Lackey, Chapman, Davis, Rondon, Strop. Theo made a great bunch of trades, primarily of guys 1 season or less from FA, and did an excellent job of developing (Contreras, Baez, Almora, at least partial credit for Hendricks) and had some short-term FA success (Lester and one season of Zo) ... and made some questionable but short-term successful trades of prospects to help it along.

For the Astros, Springer, Altuve and Kuechel were already in the system. Their rewards for all those losses are Correa and Bregman. They got very little out of their vet trades -- Jake Marisnick and even he was indirect.

Without question, the 2016 Cubs with Bryant and the 2017 Astros without Correa have a much tougher road and quite possibly get knocked out in the playoffs. And those guys are going to be rewarding their teams for years to come. But neither team built a winner through the draft. It's extremely difficult to build a winning team through the draft.

Try to do it all through draft and international signings and you're lucky if you get to 2017 Marlins level with four good players in Stanton, Yelich, Ozuna and Realmuto and a bunch of near-replacement stuff. Those guys put up 13 WAA last year, the rest of the team -15, a below-replacement pitching staff. Even if you add back in Jose Fernandez, it's probably no better than a 500 team.

And the picks? The Marlins haven't had a successful first-rounder since Fernandez in 2011 and it was Yelich in 2010 then it's all the way back to Adrian Gonzalez in 2000. (Stanton was a 2nd rounder, #76 overall, in 2007 -- basically everybody had already passed over him twice. There were 64 "1st round" picks that year.)

It is fair enough to point out that obviously team success requires a good GM. Tank with a bad GM and you'll be losing for a long time. But of course don't tank with a declining team and a bad GM and you'll at best be an expensive mediocrity for a while followed by losing/tanking.

On the broader topic -- without question, "tanking" is hard to define and can be difficult to distinguish from a necessary trade. Trading one year of McCutchen is not strong evidence of tanking and then only if you think the 2018 Pirates have a reasonable shot at contending. It is more likely just a standard trade of a guy with 1 year left on his contract that you're not likely to re-sign so get what you can for him. The question with that type of trade is more whether it's better to do it in the offseason or at the deadline ... or maybe at last year's deadline/offseason when you had more years of control to trade.

Trading Christian Yelich, an excellent young player under team control for several years at a friendly price -- that's a clear move to make your current team as bad as possible or to savagely cut payroll or both. Pile on trades of Stanton (possibly financially justifiable, not remotely baseball justifiable) and Ozuna and there's really no other conclusion than the Marlins are not trying to win games in 2018 or anytime soon.

Similarly with the White Sox last year with trades of Sale, Eaton, Quintana, etc. At least they got highly-regarded return, now they wait to see if the gamble pays off but they're still going to have to do all the building around that or hope some of the guys they already had on hand turn into Springer, Altuve and Keuchel.

So sure, if your GM can turn Dempster into Hendricks, Feldman into Arrieta and Strop, Cashner into Rizzo, Shark into Russell, a minor-league IF into Contreras and sign Lester, Lackey, Fowler, Zobrist and Heyward then your tanking team can turn into the 2016 Cubs. But if your GM can do all that, your team doesn't need to lose 300 games over 3 years to become good again. And if your GM can't do stuff like that (or inherit then develop Springer, Altuve and Keuchel), then your tanking team is probably not gonna make it to 90 wins at the end even if they land a Correa.
   88. Sleepless in Munich Posted: March 12, 2018 at 06:56 PM (#5637115)
I would say that Russell is a direct result of the tanking strategy, even if it didn't require losing games.

The Cubs got Russell because they were willing to trade away two starters in early July when they were nine games under .500. At the same time, the Red Sox, who were also nine games under .500, where still holding onto Lester. As a direct result, the Cubs got Russell in early July while the Red Sox got a worse return from the A's when they finally traded Lester at the end of July.
The difference between the Red Sox wasn't their record or the quality of their trade chips, but the fact that the Cubs were willing to punt the current season for gain in the future.
   89. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 08:51 PM (#5637139)
Do you mean in the next post, because there was no other sentence (there was another part to the same sentence, but it had nothing to do with the ease at which a team can go from terrible to good by tanking, so it's not relevant to the question at hand).

This part
The throwing out of a random %?
   90. SoSH U at work Posted: March 12, 2018 at 09:52 PM (#5637155)
The throwing out of a random %?


Oh, that quote.

So, basically when you were overstating the ease, you knew were doing so at the time. You probably could have saved us both the time by admitting that much earlier, instead of doing your typical heel-digging.

Eh, Walt's 87 rebuts the whole tanking to win strategy pretty damn thoroughly.
   91. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 10:41 PM (#5637159)
Heel-digging? You actually wanted to quibble about made up percentages made up on the spot while also not providing any data or percentages? Ok

As for Walt, as usual Walt said I what I said far more eloquently. Walt and I have been involved in many discussions about the Cubs rebuild and we're pretty much in agreement and what Walt said does not rebut what I said in this thread. See post 65. As Walt mentioned part of the problem is that people are working off of different definitions of "tanking" to win.
   92. SoSH U at work Posted: March 12, 2018 at 10:56 PM (#5637161)
Yes, when you said "tanking was unquestionably good for the Cubs" and Walt said "Again, the Cubs and Astros are not great examples of the benefits of tanking" it was like reading the exact same post.

Someday I'll learn not to engage with you. Today wasn't that day.
   93. McCoy Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:02 PM (#5637165)
Did you read his whole post? Did you read the part where he said "tanking" is hard to define? Did you fail to read my post 65?
   94. SoSH U at work Posted: March 12, 2018 at 11:10 PM (#5637166)

Did you read his whole post? Did you read the part where he said "tanking" is hard to define? Did you fail to read my post 65?


I've read everything you've written in this thread. Have you?

But I'm out. Engaging with you in threads like this is totally not worth it.
   95. McCoy Posted: March 13, 2018 at 08:56 AM (#5637185)
Yes.

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