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   1. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 29, 2011 at 07:19 PM (#3945373)
Obviously there are various modified Redemption Plans out there - you could replace Papelbon with Bell, or you could let Papi walk, move Youks to DH and try out the kids at 3B, and so on - but I think they fall pretty clearly under the umbrella of Redemption.

One of the reasons I tend more toward Trader Theo is chemistry. You can't know how 25 extremely talented, mostly extremely egotistical, mostly extremely rich young men will interact, and you can't really predict chemistry. But bringing back most of the same roster that lost it in September feels to me like a risk I'm not terribly interested in taking. Once bad dynamics have developed among a group of people, it's going to be difficult to change them. This is one of the main reasons I support replacing the manager and the coaching staff - it's going to be a lot easier to replace them than to replace the players. But I don't know if replacing the manager or coaching staff is sufficient change.
   2. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: September 29, 2011 at 07:24 PM (#3945379)
Wouldn't average players be better than what Crawford and Lackey served up this year? Their replacements don't have to be All-Stars.
   3. The District Attorney Posted: September 29, 2011 at 07:27 PM (#3945382)
“He thinks he’s going to get Carl Crawford money,” Wilpon said, referring to the Red Sox’ signing of the former Tampa Bay player to a seven-year, $142-million contract. “He’s had everything wrong with him,” Wilpon said of Reyes. “He won’t get it.”
   4. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 29, 2011 at 07:28 PM (#3945384)
Wouldn't average players be better than what Crawford and Lackey served up this year? Their replacements don't have to be All-Stars.
I can see the case there, yeah. Imagine the Sox as a 99-win club, based on third-order expected wins, and you don't need to make any major additions to have a pennant competitor. Instead of major additions, you could focus on paring dead wood and filling the gaps with reasonably affordable averagish players (Josh Willingham, maybe?).

Call it Faith, Hope, and Blow it Up. That's a third option that doesn't really fit into either category.

EDIT: So, to modify the case in the post above, "blow it up" is sort of a plan. You need to be as confident in the club's third-order WP and the individual projections of almost all of the players as would be required for the Redemption Plan, but you also need to believe that the projections of Crawford or Lackey (or others) are just totally wrong. Then you ship those crappy players out and replace with affordable, complementary players.
   5. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 29, 2011 at 07:33 PM (#3945388)
I think Redemption Plus is the best bet to happen and the best move for the club. I think 2003 is probably an interesting model to look back on. That year they attempted a "Trader Theo" approach (Nomar/Manny for Mags/A-Rod) before going "Redemption Plus" with Schilling/Foulke augmenting an already very good team. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Sox explore something dramatic on the trade front but I think it's unlikely to happen. My sense is that a lot more teams have young talent tied up already.

One guy I think might be someone the Sox would target is Markakis. He is about to become expensive and there is reason to think he would be a bust. At the same time the contract and season he just had might make Baltimore feel that getting out from under him is the right call. I'll admit I'm a fanboy of Markakis so probably overvalue him but I think he is a guy who starts to look a lot better as a complimentary rather than "star" player.
   6. Dan Posted: September 29, 2011 at 07:41 PM (#3945394)
The problem with the idea of trading for Markakis is that as you say, he's more of a complementary piece than a star to build around, but Baltimore is going to value him as a star and expect the return you expect when you trade a star. That's a non-starter, I think.

If you don't buy into Reddick or Kalish as starters in RF (or at least the long side of the platoon with a guy like McDonald), then I think the path to upgrade RF is to sign Beltran.
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 29, 2011 at 07:54 PM (#3945408)
but you also need to believe that the projections of Crawford or Lackey (or others) are just totally wrong. Then you ship those crappy players out and replace with affordable, complementary players.

How are you going to move Lackey and Crawford? Eats tons of money, or do a bad contract for bad contract swap?

I think both could use a change of scenery after this disaster, but what team matches up?
   8. karlmagnus Posted: September 29, 2011 at 07:55 PM (#3945409)
I think there's a very good case for adding a fourth or fifth starter on a moderate contract (one more replaceable building block) and then going all-out for Pujols, using the Papi/Paps money to do it. Get rid of Papi makes you younger, get rid of Paps makes you smarter. With Pujols added to the current lineup, you'll batter everyone into submission with even moderate pitching. That's the Red Sox tradition!
   9. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 29, 2011 at 07:56 PM (#3945411)
How are you going to move Lackey and Crawford? Eats tons of money, or do a bad contract for bad contract swap?
I don't think guessing at trades is something we can do from the outside, as fans. You get whatever the best deal is, in that scenario. Maybe it's a bit of talent while you eat a lot of sunk cost, maybe it's as much money as you can get, in order to finance a free agent or trade acquisition. A healthy Lackey or a healthy Crawford will have value at some X% of their salaries to some teams, but I don't know which ones those are or where they place X.
   10. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: September 29, 2011 at 08:08 PM (#3945426)
Another option would be to look into trading Crawford and considering Pujols for the newly open LF slot, or to look into playing Pujols at 3B
While I see nothing wrong with asking, 1) I think the chance of Pujols playing any position other than 1B for anyone in 2012 is virtually nil, and 2) "Albert surely has the talent for it" is way too far into the realm of hand-waving away a pretty significant and uncommon issue for my taste.
   11. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 29, 2011 at 08:19 PM (#3945443)
One guy I think might be someone the Sox would target is Markakis.

Reportedly, Peter Angelos is quite tickled to have a fellow Greek-American on his team. While King Peter is supposedly less involved in baseball matters, I'm not sure McPhail would want to tell him he'd traded his favorite player.
   12. Paul D(uda) Posted: September 29, 2011 at 08:22 PM (#3945447)
Pujols is only going to sign somewhere to play first. Other scenarios are not realistic IMO.
   13. Mike Emeigh Posted: September 29, 2011 at 08:40 PM (#3945473)
While I see nothing wrong with asking, 1) I think the chance of Pujols playing any position other than 1B for anyone in 2012 is virtually nil, and 2) "Albert surely has the talent for it" is way too far into the realm of hand-waving away a pretty significant and uncommon issue for my taste.


I agree totally.

This is a case where the Red Sox could probably take a strict Moneyball-ish approach and look for players who are likely to be undervalued. Their stars are good enough to carry them to a pennant so that they don't need to overpay to add one, and they can concentrate on players who they can get on the cheap and who have a good chance to perform league average or better - they maybe can wait for the non-tender list and see if the Giants, for example, non-tender Jonathan Sanchez (I think that's unlikely but it's been kicked around as a possibility) or the Marlins non-tender someone like Chris Volstad. (And it could be interesting to see what the Angels do with Kendry Morales.) I'm also still inclined to think there's some bounce for Delmon Young, another potential non-tender candidate.

-- MWE
   14. cminsf Posted: September 29, 2011 at 08:45 PM (#3945478)
Which direction the team should go depends on what caused the collapse. If you think the problem was injuries to the starting pitchers that resulted in a collective ERA over 7 for the last month, then you keep the starting 9 pretty much intact but address the pitching by upgrading the back end of training staff or by finding a way to keep guys healthy (better fitness, replace the training staff, etc.).

If the problem was a lack of chemistry, you want to acquire guys players who are going to help build a better clubhouse. There's no reason to think the most able players are going to be the best leaders. The lack of chemistry could also be a result of poor management (Tito, the coaches), so that's another option if this is what you think went wrong.

Neither scenario calls for trading for Albert Pujols, especially on the off chance that he'll be willing and able to play a position other than 1B. The problem doesn't seem to be talent; adding talent therefore doesn't seem like it's the primary solution.
   15. The District Attorney Posted: September 29, 2011 at 08:52 PM (#3945487)
Reportedly, Peter Angelos is quite tickled to have a fellow Greek-American on his team. While King Peter is supposedly less involved in baseball matters, I'm not sure McPhail would want to tell him he'd traded his favorite player.
Pujols is only going to sign somewhere to play first. Other scenarios are not realistic IMO.
I understand both of these to be correct.

You could sign Pujols and trade Adrian, but I'm not sure all that many teams with large enough payrolls to afford him need a 1B, and anyway I think it's just asking for trouble... trading away a young, superstar player to whom you made a huge commitment just a few months ago, and who went on to have a great season? It's beyond horrible optics.

As the Red Sox (of whom I am not a fan), I think you go Redemption Plan. It is generally a well-constructed team that tore the doors off for four months and fell one game short. If next year brings a Crawford and a back end of the rotation that is less utterly horrendous, you're fine. Lavarnway replaces Varitek as the guy splitting time with Salty, Papi back unless his demand is ridiculous, Reddick RF. If you can sign Reyes or CC, great; if not, don't worry about it. Don't give big money to a non-star. Another OF body (Abreu? Willingham?) would be nice, but only if it's a good buy. Naturally, be Moneyballers* and try to identify some guys underrated by their current organizations who can help. (Logan Morrison?)

4th starter is Lackey, because you can't help it**. 5th starter is... somebody. Who? I have no clue. Get him off the scrap heap. The Yankees do it constantly, you guys can do it once. Wakefield gone.

Fire Francona and replace him with... who? I have no clue. Some young, driven guy who gives the right answers in the interview and seems to have his #### together.

(It is interesting to note, however, that according to Chris Jaffe, if Francona is fired, he'd be the first "collapse" manager immediately fired ever. Ever ever? Ever ever. But I'd still do it, and I'm getting the impression Theo will too.)

* Not trying to rip off Emeigh here; I was writing as he posted. BTW, don't sign Delmon Young.

** I don't think you can say both "I think we can trade this guy somewhere" and "we're not in a position to say whether or not anyone will want him." The latter is correct, we're not in a position to know... and I think the logical place to go from there is what we've surely all noted as fans over the years, which is that guys like this very rarely find takers. Before you even say it, four years of Vernon Wells looked a lot better last offseason than Lackey or Crawford's contracts do right now. In any event, it's real rare, and that's my point.
   16. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 29, 2011 at 08:55 PM (#3945489)
I think the Redemption Plan might indeed yield the best results on the field next year, but I think it's unlikely.

The RP would be a serious risk - if it goes badly again, Theo and the Boyz are gone. GONE. In addition would be the PR problem of selling the "despite what you've seen, this team is good enough to win" perception.

I know this is a completely unique situation, but I can't think of a single non-playoff team that has essentially got the band back together the following year. Maybe one of you can.
   17. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: September 29, 2011 at 08:59 PM (#3945492)
OT, but how is Albert Pujols the greatest player in the game when he’s definitely not the best 1B in the game (Votto) and maybe not even the 2nd best (Miggy). Forgive me if my memory proves wrong on the numbers.
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 29, 2011 at 09:05 PM (#3945497)
The RP would be a serious risk - if it goes badly again, Theo and the Boyz are gone. GONE.

No incremental risk. If they don't make the playoffs and play well, Theo and the boys are GONE, regardless of the strategy.

Ih he signs Pujols to play 3B, Fielder to DH and trades Youkilis for Cliff Lee, if they don't make the playoffs and probably advance to the ALCS, he's gone.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 29, 2011 at 09:19 PM (#3945506)
OT, but how is Albert Pujols the greatest player in the game when he’s definitely not the best 1B in the game (Votto) and maybe not even the 2nd best (Miggy). Forgive me if my memory proves wrong on the numbers.

Concur.
   20. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 29, 2011 at 09:24 PM (#3945512)
OT, but how is Albert Pujols the greatest player in the game when he’s definitely not the best 1B in the game (Votto) and maybe not even the 2nd best (Miggy). Forgive me if my memory proves wrong on the numbers.
All depends on how much weight you put on Pujols' 2011 decline. He was clearly the superior player heading into 2011. I tend to look at Pujols' 2011 as mostly a babip fluke with a little bit of injury. I am not going to bet against Albert Pujols.

And Adrian Gonzalez is better than Miguel Cabrera.
   21. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 29, 2011 at 09:28 PM (#3945519)
The RP would be a serious risk - if it goes badly again, Theo and the Boyz are gone.
I understood your point before you switched to all caps.

I don't see how this is a larger risk than any other plan. Whatever Theo does, if the team falls short again, he's gone. Gone? gone. GONE? Yup, gone.
   22. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 29, 2011 at 09:36 PM (#3945527)
If they essentially put this team on the field in 2012 and start slowly - not even disastrously - it will be hard to resist calls from the fanbase to get new leadership in there. Sample size is one thing, but I think paying customers have a right to impatience: "These bums crumbled when it counted last year, and now they are showing the same issues through the first twenty games."
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 29, 2011 at 09:38 PM (#3945532)
All depends on how much weight you put on Pujols' 2011 decline. He was clearly the superior player heading into 2011. I tend to look at Pujols' 2011 as mostly a babip fluke with a little bit of injury. I am not going to bet against Albert Pujols.

Well, it's three seasons now. He was in the 9 WAR range, then down to 7, and now 5.5.

I would think ARod decline would loom large as an example of the huge risk in giving Pujols 8/250 or something like it.
   24. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 29, 2011 at 09:39 PM (#3945537)
Well, it's three seasons now. He was in the 9 WAR range, then down to 7, and now 5.5.
Right, and Votto and Cabrera and Gonzalez are barely in the 7 range. Pujols was way, way better than those guys at his best. He can fall quite a bit and still be the best.

Pujols is obviously a risk. I'm not advocating his acquisition if they don't have a positive evaluation of his future. I think it's easy to imagine what a positive evaluation of his future might look like, though.
   25. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: September 29, 2011 at 09:45 PM (#3945543)
From '09-'11

Pujols (31): 9.0-7.5-5.2
Gonzalez (29): 6.2-5.2-6.4
Miggy (28): 5.3-6.3-7.3
Votto (28): 4.7-7.3-6.8

I would say it's Votto-Miggy-Pujols-Gonzalez

EDIT: Numbers are from fangraphs

EDIT 2: Whatever, my vote for greatest is probably Longoria or Bautista.
   26. Jim Furtado Posted: September 29, 2011 at 09:50 PM (#3945551)
Patience is key. The difficulty is sticking with a solid plan while also placating the rabid ticket buying fans.

As bad as this loss was, it shouldn't be the cause of a major overhaul of the Sox 40-Man. The team needs to work out the back end of the rotation, get a couple of bullpen arms, add a decent right-handed platoon outfielder, and add a decent shortstop option (a cheap Scutaro resigning would work). If they can get Ortiz resigned to a reasonable contract, do it; otherwise move on. Ultimately, those aren't huge holes to fill.

Of course, Red Sox Nation will demand a sacrifice. As painful as it may be they should eat most of Lackey's contract and try to get something usable for him. As much as I love Terry Francona, I can't see how the team weathers this mess without him losing his head.
   27. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 29, 2011 at 09:53 PM (#3945554)
Using a simple 5-4-3 weighted average on those numbers:

6.9 Pujols
6.5 Miggy
6.4 Votto
6.0 Gonzalez

Same for B-Ref WAR:

6.9 Pujols
6.6 Gonzalez
6.5 Miggy
5.8 Votto

And the average of the two:

6.9 Pujols
6.5 Miggy
6.3 Gonzalez
6.1 Votto

You can make various age discounts, but if you discount Pujols' 2011 much at all, he still leads the pack, I think.
Whatever, my vote for greatest is probably Longoria or Bautista.
Those are both probably better candidates than Pujols, though Longoria too needs a bit of a babip adjustment.
   28. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 29, 2011 at 09:57 PM (#3945556)
As bad as this loss was, it shouldn't be the cause of a major overhaul of the Sox 40-Man. The team needs to work out the back end of the rotation, get a couple of bullpen arms, add a decent right-handed platoon outfielder, and add a decent shortstop option (a cheap Scutaro resigning would work). If they can get Ortiz resigned to a reasonable contract, do it; otherwise move on. Ultimately, those aren't huge holes to fill.
The Sox have a $6M option on Scutaro - I'm assuming they pick it up if they're not doing something more drastic.

I'll count you in for the Redemption Plan. My fear about that is a bit inchoate - something went really, really wrong in this clubhouse, as confirmed today by Tito and Theo, and I worry whether it's a risk to bring back basically the same players with the same interpersonal dynamics. Maybe new management would be enough of a change, but I don't know.
   29. Darren Posted: September 29, 2011 at 10:09 PM (#3945564)
One guy I think might be someone the Sox would target is Markakis. He is about to become expensive and there is reason to think he would be a bust.


He sounds like our kind of player!
   30. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: September 29, 2011 at 10:58 PM (#3945593)
Of course, Red Sox Nation will demand a sacrifice.


I will take Jason Varitek's legacy as my sacrifice. How is he escaping being excremented on during all of this? He couldn't hit anything this season, my fat lumbering ass could have stolen a base on him, and how about "the captain" taking some responsibility for the locker room cacophany?
   31. booond Posted: September 29, 2011 at 11:00 PM (#3945594)
Pujols season-to-season numbers are heading in the wrong direction, as is his age. Signing him makes little sense. Plus, Youk is not going to last over at 3b. Sox have three players (Youk,AGon and Papi) for two positions (1B/DH) they don't need another.
   32. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: September 29, 2011 at 11:03 PM (#3945595)
Anybody have any opinions on Bobby Jenks? We've still got 6 million invested in him and his porn beard, anybody think he can pitch 50 reasonable innings, or will he still stink?
   33. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: September 29, 2011 at 11:06 PM (#3945598)
Jenks was having issues before the Red Sox signed him. He might be as toasty as Lackey.
   34. Darren Posted: September 29, 2011 at 11:19 PM (#3945603)

Pujols season-to-season numbers are heading in the wrong direction, as is his age.


I agree. We need to find one of those guys whose age is going down.
   35. TDF, situational idiot Posted: September 29, 2011 at 11:31 PM (#3945610)
Even this
Albert Pujols seems like the obvious target, given his status as by far the greatest player of his generation
is quite a bit of hyperbole, I think.

ARod became a full-time player in '96; since then, fangraphs says he's accumulated 112.9 WAR. Pujols was a full-timer immediately in '01; he has 87.9 fWAR - if he's now a 5 WAR player, that would make them equal. BBRef has the difference at just 105.6-89.1, or a little over 3 WAR for each of those extra seasons.

Is someone only 4 years older, who's played 5 more seasons, of a different baseball "generation"?
   36. ray james Posted: September 29, 2011 at 11:46 PM (#3945614)
I'm going to take a different tack.

I think the problem with the approach the Red Sox have taken the last few years is that they forgot what has made them a contender in the first place. The most valuable commodities in baseball are the really good pre-arbitration players. In the mid to late aught's, the Sox did a really good job of developing these types: Pedroia, Ellsbury. Lester, Papelbon, Youkilis etc.

But I think the front office got kind of jumpy and wanted instant gratification and started signing costly free agents and traded for established stars with promising young players. I wonder where they would be now if they still had Masterson, for instance? And signing these free agents is costing them draft picks, so the farm system isn't in particularly good shape right now. it kind of reminds me of Duquette's last year. It's goiing to be tough to turn things around with the millstone contracts the underperformers have.
   37. Darren Posted: September 30, 2011 at 12:22 AM (#3945627)
But Masterson got them VMart and VMart, after very good 1.5 years, got them the #19 and #40 picks in the 11 draft.

Your overall point may have some merit, though. The Crawford and Lackey signings seemed kind of uninspired.
   38. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: September 30, 2011 at 12:32 AM (#3945632)
I think the problem with the approach the Red Sox have taken the last few years is that they forgot what has made them a contender in the first place.


A league commissioner fully focused on hindering the Yankees?
   39. Famous Original Joe C Posted: September 30, 2011 at 01:01 AM (#3945642)

A league commissioner fully focused on hindering the Yankees?


What are you doing here? This is Sox Therapy; you're welcome, always, to make a contribution to the conversation. What you don't need to do is troll around and make unfunny jokes.
   40. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: September 30, 2011 at 01:11 AM (#3945646)
I will take Jason Varitek's legacy as my sacrifice. How is he escaping being excremented on during all of this? He couldn't hit anything this season, my fat lumbering ass could have stolen a base on him, and how about "the captain" taking some responsibility for the locker room cacophany?


I have to say I kind of agree with this, although Varitek actually hit ok for a backup. What's the point of having a captain? They should have had a formal "de-captainization" ceremony at the end of the game where that stupid 'C' was ripped off of Varitek's uniform and stomped on the floor.
   41. ray james Posted: September 30, 2011 at 01:11 AM (#3945647)
I kind of like the Crawford signing when it happened, mostly because there was a lot of uncertainty about Ellsbury last winter but I remember being rather dismayed they gave so much money and so many years to Lackey. His stuff wasn't all that great and if he declined any, which would inevitably happen, he'd really get knocked around because he likes to pitch up in the zone.
   42. ray james Posted: September 30, 2011 at 01:13 AM (#3945648)
Varitek was a bench player, and it's silly to blame a bench player who starts twice a week on the failure of the entire team. Besides, while his throwing is horrid now, and still hit fairly well for a backup catcher.

This year will give the Sox an excuse to not bring him back though, if they want one. Lavarnway looks like he might be a player.
   43. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 30, 2011 at 01:31 AM (#3945662)
My guess is that Varitek will be one of the main guys who comes out of the "Fenway Zoo" reporting looking like a huge jackass.

(If I had to speculate, I would guess that Varitek, Papi, and Lackey will be the three guys who come out of this story looking the worst.)
   44. Textbook Editor Posted: September 30, 2011 at 01:47 AM (#3945670)
Just finished watching the replay of the press conference.

Wow.

Although I can see how--on the surface--the answers seem innocuous enough, if you're used to flat, stock responses Tito and Theo normally give to questions... this was about 165 degrees from their usual approach.

Theo, in reference to the clubhouse: "I respect almost everyone down there..."

This speaks volumes. A purge is coming. Now it may not be a purge in a public sense (it could be guys are just let go who are FA, or not offered arb, etc... and so the reasons will never be made clear), but I do think if Theo/Tito remain at the helm there will be a purging of the 40-man to root out the clubhouse cancers alluded to today.

Honestly, I cannot ever recall either guy saying the sort of stuff they were saying today--not even in 2005, not in 2006, not in 2010... There's got to be something horribly rotten in there that they feel has to be purged to answer questions the way they did today.

I don't think there'll be any Redemption Plan. I think there will be blood in the streets.

Now, also, by the sound of it--unless it was all spin, and perhaps it was--I'd say they have no plans to trade/dump Lackey/Crawford. But this may just be because they no there is zero market for either of them unless you get even worse contracts/players back in return for a dump.

The only thing that somewhat heartened me--but also really frustrated me--is that I think to some extent Theo and Tito have identified problem areas in the clubhouse... but (probably because of how late in the season they figured it out) could do nothing to fix it. At least they may have a plan--or at least know who they'll dump. That's a start.

Did anyone else find the press conference remarkable? I can't ever recall Francona speaking out about anything of consequence like he did today. Of course this may just mean it's his parting shot before stepping aside...
   45. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: September 30, 2011 at 01:47 AM (#3945672)
Yeah, I kind of wonder about Papi too. He seemed particularly testy this year.
   46. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: September 30, 2011 at 02:00 AM (#3945678)
Krusty's sensible BoSox rebuilding plan:

1.Let Papi/Papelbon/Scutaro/Drew walk.
2. Move Lackey to bullpen, attempting to salvage value.
3. Sign Prince & Reyes/Rollins The money works out to be around the same. I'm penciling Prince in around 21M, Reyes at 17, and Rollins around 10. That's 31M or 38M. Papelbon made 12M, Drew made 14M, Scutaro made 6M, and Papi made 13M. The Red Sox have 45M coming off the books. This leaves 7M or 14M to spend on spare parts, or for the midseason upgrade fund.

But, Krusty! What about the staff? Bard moves to closer, and.... you still have Beckett-Lester-Bucholz at the front of the rotation. That's plenty good enough, especially in the first half, and allowing for some Garcia/Colon/Capuano style experimentation. Dice-K falls off the books after next season, and I'm certain insurance picks up a part of his tab. Come midseason, there will likely be an upgrade worth getting. In the meantime, this sets the lineup for the foreseeable future, and Prince slots in nicely as a younger, better Papi.

/had a little wine tonight.
   47. Textbook Editor Posted: September 30, 2011 at 02:06 AM (#3945680)
If it's between the two, I'll pay the extra $7 million for Reyes and roll the dice. Rollins plate discipline is non-existent, and he fancies himself a leadoff hitter. Pass. Pass. A thousand times pass. I do not want Rollins on any team I root for. Scutaro for $6 million is a far better buy that Rollins for $10 million (and Rollins won't sign for $10 million a year, BTW--he wants the big money).
   48. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: September 30, 2011 at 02:11 AM (#3945682)
Scutaro for $6 million is a far better buy that Rollins for $10 million (and Rollins won't sign for $10 million a year, BTW--he wants the big money).


I think Rollins is headed into a situation not unlike what Johnny Damon faced in 2009. I just don't see anybody offering him more than something like 3/30ish.
   49. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 30, 2011 at 02:21 AM (#3945688)
1.Let Papi/Papelbon/Scutaro/Drew walk.
2. Move Lackey to bullpen, attempting to salvage value.
3. Sign Prince & Reyes/Rollins The money works out to be around the same. I'm penciling Prince in around 21M, Reyes at 17, and Rollins around 10. That's 31M or 38M. Papelbon made 12M, Drew made 14M, Scutaro made 6M, and Papi made 13M. The Red Sox have 45M coming off the books. This leaves 7M or 14M to spend on spare parts, or for the midseason upgrade fund.


A $15M RP has very little value, unless he's an elite closer. Lackey's value lies in rebounding to be a league average innings eater.

Is Rollins any better than Scutaro at this point? Not enough that I'd give him a multi-year deal rather than pay 1/6 for Scutaro.

Is Fielder really going to want to be a full time DH at his age? Is he really enough of an upgrade over Ortiz to spend the extra $100M?

As a Yankee fan, I fully endorse your strategy for the Red Sox. It should leave them financially crippled and w/o the pitching to compete for the division for 3 or 4 years.
   50. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 30, 2011 at 02:22 AM (#3945689)
I think Rollins is headed into a situation not unlike what Johnny Damon faced in 2009. I just don't see anybody offering him more than something like 3/30ish.
Damon got 1/8, a pretty far cry from 3/30. If Rollins is available at 1/8 and Scutaro at 1/6, then there's a good case to be made for Rollins. At 3/30, no way.
   51. Textbook Editor Posted: September 30, 2011 at 02:56 AM (#3945712)
Rollins won't be available for 1/$8 or 3/$30--if those are the offers, the Phillies surely will match them (perhaps with a bit more) and Rollins will stay in Philly... In other words, if a cut-rate deal is all he'll get elsewhere, I strongly suspect he'll take a slightly above cut-rate deal (which I think is the only deal Philly would offer) to stay in Philly instead of going elsewhere.
   52. Hugh Jorgan Posted: September 30, 2011 at 02:59 AM (#3945714)
As a Yankee fan, I fully endorse your strategy for the Red Sox. It should leave them financially crippled and w/o the pitching to compete for the division for 3 or 4 years.

This. Except for your Yankee fandom, everything here is good.

Last time I checked pitching was the key requirement. Not sure where it's coming from, but they need to find some decent pitching and hopefully get value out of Lackey as an innings eater. I don't think Crawford is this bad. But then again he should've caught that ball yesterday...easily.
   53. Dale Sams Posted: September 30, 2011 at 03:29 AM (#3945739)
My guess is that Varitek will be one of the main guys who comes out of the "Fenway Zoo" reporting looking like a huge jackass.



Really???

My take on Tek was that he's like the Queen of England. Passive with no real power. Captain in name only.
   54. Dan Posted: September 30, 2011 at 03:42 AM (#3945747)
I still think they should think about moving Bard into the rotation. There really aren't any good answers for SP on the free agent market. Wilson is going to get a king's ransom for a guy with such a short record of performance, and he's really not that young either. Edwin Jackson just isn't very good, and someone is going to pay him $14-15M a year. Darvish is an interesting option, but I don't think you can count on winning the posting, and he's also somewhat of a wild card. He could translate as an ace, or some of his pitches won't work here and like Daisuke he's downgraded to a 3rd or 4th starter. After the Daisuke experience, I'd be pretty hesitant to go in big on Darvish, and I imagine the Sox FO feels the same way. I realize Darvish is a cut above Matsuzaka, but I'd still be concerned. I do prefer going after Darvish to paying big money to CJ Wilson or Edwin Jackson though.

I think the only possible way you could move Crawford would be a challenge trade with the Nationals for Werth. The Sox would probably have to kick in the money to cover the salary difference, but it would be an interesting "your disappointment for our disappointment" move. I'm not sure it would be a good idea, but I think it's about the only reasonable way that he's going anywhere.
   55. booond Posted: September 30, 2011 at 03:55 AM (#3945757)
Bard in the rotation won't get through the lineup once.

CJ Wilson had a great year. He's pitched a lot this year and is going to pitch even more. I'd be concerned that we pay for day-old goods.

Edwin Jackson's been passed around more than a bong at Bonnaroo; there's something not right.

Beckett, Lester, Buchh, Bedard and Lackey might be enough.
   56. Dale Sams Posted: September 30, 2011 at 04:11 AM (#3945764)
Beckett, Lester, Buchh, Bedard and Lackey might be enough.


eff no.

Fat ass and injury-prone
Fine
Fine
Mr. Glass
And the worst pitcher in baseball.

Get Jackson and Wang*, stick Lackey in the BP...if Bedard can make it through ST, then have whoever is the least healthy of Wang/Jackson/Bedard in the pen.

Sox don't need aces, the need 100 ERA+ pitchers.
   57. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: September 30, 2011 at 04:55 AM (#3945796)
Trying to make a major roster shakeup via trade is liable to be too expensive for the return involved. Theo might be able to pull off something significant that would amaze and surprise me, but I won't bet on it. The moves that make the most sense start with not resigning Paps and Papi. Use the money elsewhere.

That said, I like the Crawford for Werth idea.
   58. Textbook Editor Posted: September 30, 2011 at 05:20 AM (#3945802)
That said, I like the Crawford for Werth idea.


It's an interesting one. Just eyeballing it, Crawford's BA collapse seems almost solely due to regression on BABIP--in 2009 and 2010 it was .342 and in 2011 it was .299. It was higher in some of his earlier years too, so perhaps his natural level is a bit higher than league average, but still, you'd think .342 isn't a level he's like to sustain going forward (but maybe .310 might be?)...

All of which is to say that I'm now rather worried with a league-average BABIP Crawford's a pretty average guy unless he's running wild and playing great defense--both of which we basically didn't see in 2011 so who knows if it'll be in there for 2012 & beyond.

Werth, on the other hand, has generally not ever strayed too far above league average with his BABIP, and retained a great walk rate. Even with his foibles, he still had a 97 OPS+ (Crawford's was 85).

Werth is also a bit cheaper the next couple of years, so while the time horizon is the same the $ in the short run is a bit lower.

Look I wanted them to sign Werth over Crawford last year. He's basically an older JD Drew, I guess, with perhaps a bit more power and a bit less fluid afield. But he fits more with a workmanlike attitude and from what I can tell was a good clubhouse guy in Philly.

I'd lean towards "yes" to the trade... But I wonder if the Nats would even entertain the offer...
   59. ColonelTom Posted: September 30, 2011 at 01:50 PM (#3945943)
Came here to suggest Crawford for Werth. :) Washington wouldn't take that straight up, but if Theo threw in a prospect (Doubront or Kolbrin Vitek would interest the Nats), maybe it would fly.
   60. karlmagnus Posted: September 30, 2011 at 02:25 PM (#3945996)
What about going for Matt Kemp? The Dodgers may well blow the negotiations, and if I'm Kemp I don't trust a long-term deal with them (they are, after all, in bankruptcy). Being an OF rather than a 1B we have room for him and he's only 27. Signing off a MVP year, but that's what money's for -- and Crawford/Ellsbury/Kemp is a hell of an OF.
   61. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 30, 2011 at 02:32 PM (#3946002)
Kemp is still arbitration eligible. How can the Dodgers "blow" those negotiations?
   62. booond Posted: September 30, 2011 at 02:37 PM (#3946010)
I like Werth as a fit but he's 33 this year. Chances of getting something close to his 2010 performance going forward are slipping away. How will his contract play out in a few years when he's playing 120 games?

That said, I wouldn't pass on a reasonable deal to move Crawford. He looked like there was something mentally wrong with him. There are 10,000 people in the country who would've turned Andino's hit into an out. It was not a difficult play.
   63. ColonelTom Posted: September 30, 2011 at 02:37 PM (#3946011)
They'd have to give up Gonzalez to get Kemp. Of course, that would open up a slot for Pujols or Fielder.
   64. karlmagnus Posted: September 30, 2011 at 02:38 PM (#3946014)
He's got 6 years in the majors, although the first was only 52 games, and his agent is comparing his deal to Crawford and Soriano, both of whom were FA. Are you sure?
   65. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 30, 2011 at 02:40 PM (#3946022)
He's got 6 years in the majors, although the first was only 52 games, and his agent is comparing his deal to Crawford and Soriano, both of whom were FA. Are you sure?
Yes. You need six full years of service time to qualify for free agency, and Kemp has only 5 years and 59 days.

The rules of arbitration are that players in their final year of team control can use FA contracts as comparison.
   66. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: September 30, 2011 at 02:44 PM (#3946027)
If I was an agent, I wouldn't be using my client's name and "Carl Crawford" in the same sentence. If Crawford doesn't get it together, he's going to be used as an example of why teams will hesitate to pay $20m for anybody who isn't Adrian Gonzalez or CC Sabathia...
   67. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 30, 2011 at 02:44 PM (#3946028)
He's got 6 years in the majors, although the first was only 52 games, and his agent is comparing his deal to Crawford and Soriano, both of whom were FA. Are you sure?

Yes, as per COTs he's at 5 years 49 days service time. He had 3 years pre-arb, and his current contract bought out 2 arb years. 2012 is his final arb year.
   68. Guapo Posted: September 30, 2011 at 03:01 PM (#3946047)
The Nats aren't going to trade Werth, at least not at the current time- putting aside his mediocre season and questionable future value. He's perceived (at least by management) as important toward transforming the culture of losing in the clubhouse.

Crawford is about as untradeable as a player can be, which is perversely probably a good thing for the Red Sox, because you never want to trade a guy when his value is at its lowest.
   69. bunyon Posted: September 30, 2011 at 03:20 PM (#3946071)
Crawford and Gonzalez and cash to LA. Kemp to Boston, with an extension signed. Then the Sox sign Pujols.

Crawford and Gonzalez get to leave the failed experiment behind and forge a sunny new start. Kemp gets his deal a year early.

LA gets a Mexican hero for marketing and, if the deal is done right, a player with some potential to rebound fairly cheap.
   70. bunyon Posted: September 30, 2011 at 03:21 PM (#3946073)
If the Sox do end up keeping Crawford (as seems all but certain, barring DFA), they should probably get the guy to a shrink. He looked terrible this year. Not performance terrible - though there was that - but just, unhappy I guess. He looked down. I didn't watch him a lot in Tampa but always had the impression he was more of an upbeat happy kind of guy. Was I just mistaken on that one?
   71. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 30, 2011 at 03:25 PM (#3946080)
Crawford and Gonzalez and cash to LA. Kemp to Boston, with an extension signed. Then the Sox sign Pujols.

Crawford and Gonzalez get to leave the failed experiment behind and forge a sunny new start. Kemp gets his deal a year early.

LA gets a Mexican hero for marketing and, if the deal is done right, a player with some potential to rebound fairly cheap.


How much cash? $150M? Because that's probably the salary difference over the next 6 years.

Colletti should be shot if he accepted that.
   72. booond Posted: September 30, 2011 at 03:28 PM (#3946084)
Not to throw water on the wish list but Kemp did have plenty of issues in 2010. We'd be buying high again.
   73. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: September 30, 2011 at 03:48 PM (#3946117)
Look I wanted them to sign Werth over Crawford last year. He's basically an older JD Drew, I guess, with perhaps a bit more power and a bit less fluid afield. But he fits more with a workmanlike attitude and from what I can tell was a good clubhouse guy in Philly.

Not sure about that last part. There were rumors of him sleeping with Utley's wife. Who knows if that was true and if so, what kind of effect it had on the clubhouse but if "chemistry" is a concern for the Sox, this is definitely something they would want to learn more about.
   74. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 30, 2011 at 03:57 PM (#3946128)
Not sure about that last part. There were rumors of him sleeping with Utley's wife. Who knows if that was true and if so, what kind of effect it had on the clubhouse but if "chemistry" is a concern for the Sox, this is definitely something they would want to learn more about.

Well, as long as they don't trade for Utley, should be OK. Right?
   75. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: September 30, 2011 at 04:05 PM (#3946139)

Well, as long as they don't trade for Utley, should be OK. Right?


Utley would make a fine Roger Dorn (or Ryno)
---

@49 Snapper:


I guess it comes down to your opinion of Lackey. Frankly, I think he desperately needs a change of scenery and since that's not going to happen, it could well be worth it to see if he can reinvent himself as a high end bullpen piece. A different role will be the closest to a fresh start Lackey is going to come by, unless the Red Sox can dump him off in a challenge trade.

I think Fielder would probably become a full time DH provided the money was there, and something like 6/126 or 7/147 would probably be more than enough to persuade him. One thing I'd forgotten about was Youkilis: he may not be capable of playing 3B full time anymore. If that's the case, then this is moot and the Red Sox might be better served moving him to DH. Or just trading him.

Rollins is still a better player than Scutaro. 24M better? No. 2M better? Definitely. However, as someone said above, it's like the Phillies bring him back unless someone overpays.

---

WRT to a potential rotation of Beckett-Lester-Bucholz-4?/5?, well, the Yankees did just fine with a ton of bats and something weaker than that this year. So, that's basically where I was coming from. Embrace your Yankee-hood, Boston. Just get a Murderer's Row together (and no doubt, Gonzo/Fielder/Ellsbury/Pedroia/Youk qualifies even without a Crawford bounce back.)
   76. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: September 30, 2011 at 04:15 PM (#3946151)
Well, as long as they don't trade for Utley, should be OK. Right?

Yes. They should also not trade for other players with slutty wives.
   77. bunyon Posted: September 30, 2011 at 04:20 PM (#3946158)
Yes. They should also not trade for other players with slutty wives.

I understand Cashman is on the phone to the Phillies as we type.
   78. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 30, 2011 at 06:04 PM (#3946276)
@49 Snapper:


I guess it comes down to your opinion of Lackey. Frankly, I think he desperately needs a change of scenery and since that's not going to happen, it could well be worth it to see if he can reinvent himself as a high end bullpen piece. A different role will be the closest to a fresh start Lackey is going to come by, unless the Red Sox can dump him off in a challenge trade.

I think Fielder would probably become a full time DH provided the money was there, and something like 6/126 or 7/147 would probably be more than enough to persuade him. One thing I'd forgotten about was Youkilis: he may not be capable of playing 3B full time anymore. If that's the case, then this is moot and the Red Sox might be better served moving him to DH. Or just trading him.

Rollins is still a better player than Scutaro. 24M better? No. 2M better? Definitely. However, as someone said above, it's like the Phillies bring him back unless someone overpays.


If you really believe that, then you trade Lackey. Kick in enough cash, or trade for another bad contract.

The Adam Dunn experience (following the Pat Burrell experience) should warn everybody off signing a big contract and converting a player to a full-time DH. Lot's of players don't adjust well to DHing.
   79. ColonelTom Posted: September 30, 2011 at 06:33 PM (#3946316)
Kemp only makes sense if you swap his salary for Gonzalez's, then sign Fielder or Pujols. Otherwise they're better off keeping Gonzalez, who is more likely to produce consistently at a high level than Kemp (.385 BABIP this year), and letting Reddick and/or Kalish have the RF job.
   80. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 30, 2011 at 06:56 PM (#3946335)
Kemp only makes sense if you swap his salary for Gonzalez's, then sign Fielder or Pujols. Otherwise they're better off keeping Gonzalez, who is more likely to produce consistently at a high level than Kemp (.385 BABIP this year), and letting Reddick and/or Kalish have the RF job.

Why wouldn't LA just sign Fielder or Pujols directly?
   81. karlmagnus Posted: September 30, 2011 at 07:32 PM (#3946377)
If Gonzo doesn't have a no-trade, the Sox can trade him to LA and make him live with LA's credit risk. Fielder/Pujols would probably not take an offer from LA directly, given that factor.
   82. Mayor Blomberg Posted: September 30, 2011 at 07:40 PM (#3946385)
Gonzo has partial no-trade per Cot's, but the Sox might want to rethink this deal:

no-trade protection:

Crawford may block deals to two clubs
if traded, club acquiring Crawford may not subsequently trade him to NY Yankees
   83. Guapo Posted: September 30, 2011 at 07:51 PM (#3946396)
if traded, club acquiring Crawford may not subsequently trade him to NY Yankees

Nice of the Red Sox to look out for the Yankees' interests like that.
   84. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 30, 2011 at 08:02 PM (#3946400)
There were rumors of him sleeping with Utley's wife.

Is that like the BBTF Lackey-Wakefield 3-way rumor, or is this National Inquirer level solid?
   85. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 30, 2011 at 08:22 PM (#3946426)
If Gonzo doesn't have a no-trade, the Sox can trade him to LA and make him live with LA's credit risk. Fielder/Pujols would probably not take an offer from LA directly, given that factor.

An MLB team's credit is rock solid. MLB stands behind the players' contracts.
   86. Nasty Nate Posted: September 30, 2011 at 09:11 PM (#3946496)
there's no harm in idle speculation or fanciful trade ideas, but does anyone even think there is a glimmer of a chance of a hint of a possibility that the Red Sox trade Adrian Gonzalez this offseason? I say it is a virtual certainty that he is on the team next year.
   87. Mayor Blomberg Posted: September 30, 2011 at 09:24 PM (#3946516)
Depends on how many Sundays the Sox are scheduled for ESPN. He complained about that?
   88. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: September 30, 2011 at 09:58 PM (#3946601)
Is that like the BBTF Lackey-Wakefield 3-way rumor, or is this National Inquirer level solid?

It is a googleable enough rumor.
   89. The District Attorney Posted: October 01, 2011 at 07:50 PM (#3947538)
if traded, club acquiring Crawford may not subsequently trade him to NY Yankees
We discussed this a bit when word leaked out. I can't imagine it is enforceable. Anyway.

After hearing about all this clubhouse nonsense, I don't think I would be quite as conservative as I described earlier. Papi and Paps should go. Not that either of them is primarily responsible for the bad vibes (although I'm thinking Papi didn't help...), but because change is needed, and luckily both play positions that are easy to replace.

If Papi is leaving, I think the obvious new DH is Youkilis; asking him to play another 150 games at 3B would seem mighty risky. So, how about Aramis Ramirez? He's getting up there, so you wouldn't want to give him too many years, but he should be able to provide a couple big-hitting seasons in Fenway.

You could sign H. Bell, K-Rod, or Madson to close. Or, you could go with Bard. Personally, I'd do the latter, although I do like Madson a lot. If you do go Bard, you probably want to sign a setup man... could be a career setup guy like Joel Peralta, or an ex-closer like Frank Francisco, Joe Nathan or Jonathan Broxton. Or maybe you don't want to have anyone looking over Bard's shoulder like that... not sure.

In any event, freeing up Papi/Paps money gives you a lot of options. First you try to go all-in on Sabathia or Reyes, in which case you go cheap at closer and 3B. (The obvious cheap 3B would be Lowrie, especially if it's Reyes.) If and when the two big guns sign elsewhere, you should be able to replace the 3B/closer and still have money left over to add someone like Abreu or Willingham for depth.
   90. caprules Posted: October 02, 2011 at 01:30 PM (#3948335)
I wonder if Macha will be considered for the manager job. He managed the A's for 4 years under Beane. He's not a redass, but he's definitely not a players manager.

I'm not advocating for him, just thinking he has qualities the front office may be looking for.
   91. ColonelTom Posted: October 02, 2011 at 02:40 PM (#3948363)
Pujols would probably object more to DH than LF, which probably kills Boston's chances to land him (he'll see DH as his future in Boston even if he starts in LF).

The truth is that on talent this team should still be playing. They don't need a reboot or big FA signings; they need a change in attitude. If they don't grab one of the marquee guys off the market, I'd expect to see a few "character" signings. Varitek's gone, so they'll want a veteran clubhouse leader. Casey Blake might be a good fit - good reputation in the clubhouse, can give Youkilis days off at 3B and get ABs in LF/RF against LHP.

I wonder if Ryne Sandberg will get a look as manager.
   92. Dan Posted: October 02, 2011 at 05:07 PM (#3948477)
I would be very disappointed if Macha is seriously considered. Sandberg is somewhat interesting, although he fancies himself an "old school guy", so I don't know how receptive his is to data analysis and advanced statistics and such.
   93. Steve M. Posted: October 02, 2011 at 08:32 PM (#3948673)
I honestly can't believe Pujols' name is being brought up here.

Anyway, Crawford isn't going anywhere; he can't possibly be as bad next year. The team is pretty much also locked in with Gonzalez-Pedroia-Youkilis-Ellsbury-Salty. I would be fine letting Ortiz walk, but I imagine he'll be re-signed (Papelbon won't). For me, the question is what can be done at SS and RF? If they decline Scutaro's option, he's walking... it's a $4.5 million decision, so I'm not sure how they decline. It isn't as if having Scutaro in the fold would impede them in finding a longer-term option (2012-?). I have zero confidence that Reddick can produce enough to play RF full-time, so where do they look?

A rotation fronted by Beckett, Buchholz, and Lester has a leg up on just about any team outside of Philly; some combination of Lackey, Doubront,Weiland and one FA acquisition will fill out the rest.

It would be a lot more fun to blow things up, but, really, this team has an excellent core, plus a couple of bad contracts that are more or less immovable. A few minor FA acquisitions, a few internal promotions (Lavarnway, Alex Wilson), and it's a 92-94 win team with upside. Boo-who.
   94. Dale Sams Posted: October 02, 2011 at 09:06 PM (#3948737)
Will this be the first team that got booed on Opening Day before a pitch was thrown?
   95. Jim Furtado Posted: October 02, 2011 at 09:15 PM (#3948758)
there's no harm in idle speculation or fanciful trade ideas, but does anyone even think there is a glimmer of a chance of a hint of a possibility that the Red Sox trade Adrian Gonzalez this offseason? I say it is a virtual certainty that he is on the team next year.

I don't think I am on a limb here...Gonzalez is not going anywhere; Crawford is staying; Pujols won't be coming to Boston.
   96. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: October 02, 2011 at 09:36 PM (#3948800)
If only Crawford had ever played CF full time, we could trade him to the Angels for like Erwin Santana.
   97. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: October 03, 2011 at 01:00 PM (#3949370)
Has Ray (its over) DiPerna put in an appearance since the Fall?
   98. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 03, 2011 at 01:04 PM (#3949373)
According to someone (don't remember who, maybe snapper) Ray has had some personal stuff going on. I don't know what it is but hopefully it gets worked out.
   99. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 03, 2011 at 01:08 PM (#3949375)
According to someone (don't remember who, maybe snapper) Ray has had some personal stuff going on. I don't know what it is but hopefully it gets worked out.

Yup. He's OK, but otherwise occupied.
   100. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: October 03, 2011 at 04:37 PM (#3949563)
Well, if you are going to be so secrative about it, I'm going to assume it's gender reassignment surgery.
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