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Sunday, January 10, 2021

Former Boston Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo signs with Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of NPB

Former Boston Red Sox outfielder Rusney Castillo is headed to play professional baseball in Japan.

The 33-year-old right-handed hitter has signed a contract with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball. The team officially announced the signing Friday evening.

Castillo became a free agent after the 2020 MLB season.

He initially signed a seven-year, $72.5-million deal with the Boston Red Sox on Aug. 23, 2014, but he spent most of his career at Triple-A Pawtucket.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 10, 2021 at 10:52 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: japan, rusney castillo

Saturday, January 09, 2021

Nationals sign ex-Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber to one-year contract, per report

The Washington Nationals have made another addition to their lineup. The club signed outfielder Kyle Schwarber to a one-year contract on Saturday, reports Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. The deal is worth $10 million, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. The Nationals have not yet confirmed the signing.

Schwarber, 28 in March, was non-tendered by the Cubs last month. He was projected to make approximately $8 million through arbitration in 2021. Schwarber had a down 2020 season, hitting .188/.308/.393 with 11 home runs in 59 games. He is expected to step into left field with Juan Soto moving over to right.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 09, 2021 at 11:07 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: kyle schwarber, nationals

Friday, January 08, 2021

Latest Report of MLB’s Reduced ESPN Deal May Not Tell Whole Story

A Friday report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic stated rather ominously that Major League Baseball is “bracing for a reduction in TV rights fees in pending ESPN deal,” but I think the rest of the story might be missing. Let’s first take a look at what Rosenthal wrote.

MLB’s previous deal with ESPN was an eight-year, $5.6 billion contract worth $700 million per year. The agreement under discussion would be for seven years and approximately $3.85 billion, reducing the average annual value to about $550 million per year, sources said.

Seems like a lot when you consider the $1.75 billion drop, though that figure loses some of its bite when you realize it’s just $150 million annually or $5 million per team per season. The ...

Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 08, 2021 at 03:32 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: tv deals

Dodgers legend Tommy Lasorda dies at 93

Tommy Lasorda, the son of Italian immigrants and a professional pitcher who became a legendary Dodgers manager, global baseball ambassador and national treasure, has died. He was 93….

Lasorda was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997 on the strength of 20-plus seasons managing the Dodgers (1976-96). He is one of only four managers in big league history to manage the same team for 20 years or more—the others being Connie Mack, John McGraw and Lasorda’s predecessor, Walter Alston.

Lasorda retired as manager after suffering a heart attack in 1996, having won the World Series in 1981 and ‘88, plus four National League pennants and eight division titles. He was 3-1 as an All-Star manager. His 1,599 wins rank 22nd all time. ...Read More...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 08, 2021 at 11:51 AM | 75 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, tommy lasorda

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-8-2021

Toledo News-Bee, January 8, 1921:

Babe Ruth, the demon home-run king of professional baseball, who was razzed out of the game last Sunday night when his all-star team played the Celtics, will seek revenge tomorrow night on the basketball court of the Twenty-second Regiment Armory, when his All-Stars line up against the New York Whirlwinds.
...
Babe had 24 shots at the basket last week and missed—24 of them. He promises to do better tomorrow.

I looked it up because I was curious: Hall of Famer Joe Fulks owns the NBA record with 42 missed shots in one game. I guess it makes sense that they don’t let bad players miss 42 shots.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 08, 2021 at 11:44 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, January 07, 2021

Fired Angels employee Bubba Harkins names Cole, others he says used his illegal product

The text message from then-Houston Astros star Gerrit Cole to former Angels visiting clubhouse manager Brian “Bubba” Harkins was sent Jan. 17, 2019, at 11:39 a.m.

“Hey Bubba, it’s Gerrit Cole, I was wondering if you could help me out with this sticky situation,” the pitcher wrote, adding a wink emoji. “We don’t see you until May, but we have some road games in April that are in cold weather places. The stuff I had last year seizes up when it gets cold.”

The exchange between Cole, now the New York Yankees ace, and Harkins, who was fired last March for providing illegal ball-doctoring substances to visiting pitchers, was submitted in Orange County Superior Court as evidence Thursday by an attorney claiming Harkins was made ...

Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 07, 2021 at 11:57 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: foreign substances, gerrit cole

Astros, pitcher Ryne Stanek agree to one-year deal

The Astros are in agreement with free agent righthander Ryne Stanek on a one-year deal for $1.1 million, a person with knowledge of the deal said on Wednesday, reuniting the former Rays reliever with general manager James Click.

Stanek spent parts of three seasons in Tampa Bay after the team selected him in the first round of the 2013 draft. He was traded to the Miami Marlins in July 2019, beginning a precipitous decline. Stanek had a 6.03 ERA and allowed seven home runs in 31 ⅓ innings with the Marlins.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 07, 2021 at 06:24 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, ryne stanek

Right-hander Tomoyuki Sugano does not reach deal with an MLB team before deadline

Pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano did not come to an agreement on a contract with a major league team before his posting window expired and will return to Nippon Professional Baseball for 2021.

Sugano will be eligible to come to MLB as a free agent before the 2022 season. The bidding for his services started Dec. 8 and ran through 5 p.m. ET on Thursday.


A right-hander who turned 31 on Oct. 11, Sugano was 14-2 with a 1.97 ERA and three shutouts in 20 games last season, striking out 131 and walking 25 in 137 1/3 innings while allowing 97 hits. He is 101-49 with a 2.32 ERA over eight seasons in Japan.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 07, 2021 at 05:33 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese free agents

Mets To Acquire Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco

The Mets and Indians have agreed to a deal that will see New York acquire shortstop Francisco Lindor and right-hander Carlos Carrasco.  ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan (Twitter links) was the first to report that the two teams were “deep in talks” about a Lindor deal, and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported Carrasco’s involvement in the swap.  According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the two sides have agreed to the trade.

For moving their star shortstop, Cleveland will receive two prominent young infielders.  MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo reports that Amed Rosario is part of the trade package, while Passan adds that Andres Gimenez is also going to Cleveland.  The Mets will also move two prospects — right-hander Josh Wolf (via The ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 07, 2021 at 12:53 PM | 67 comment(s)
  Beats: carlos carrasco, francisco lindor, indians, mets

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Yankees trade for speedy outfielder Greg Allen in deal with Padres

The Yankees added some outfield depth by trading for outfielder Greg Allen, a source confirmed.

The speedy Allen, a switch-hitter, was designated for assignment by the Padres earlier in the week. The Yankees sent 27-year-old left-hander James Reeves to San Diego in the deal.

Reeves, a 10th-round pick by the Yankees in 2015, reached Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2018.

Allen, also 27, was DFA’d by the Padres to make room on their 40-man roster for Ha-Seong Kim, an infielder from South Korea signed by the Padres.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 06, 2021 at 11:36 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: greg allen, yankees

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-6-2021

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, January 6, 1921:

The New York Giants [yesterday] bottled up the baseball situation on Manhattan Island. If the newly organized Colonial [sic] League or the American League desires to get playing grounds on the island, they will have to see Messrs. Stoneham, McGraw, and Judge McQuade of the National Exhibition Company.

The formal transfer yesterday of two lots in the block on the north side of One Hundred and Fifty-fifth street, 225 feet east of Eighth avenue, between the Polo Grounds Manhattan Field tract controlled by the Giants, and the Harlem River, blocks the last chance of a baseball club to find grounds on the island unless on the site of the Highlanders park.

This land is essentially right across the ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 06, 2021 at 10:25 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Dodgers Re-Sign Blake Treinen

The Dodgers have re-signed right-handed reliever Blake Treinen to a two-year, $17MM guarantee that includes an $8MM club option or a $1MM buyout for 2023, Bob Nightengale of USA Today was among those to report. Treinen is a client of Apex Baseball.

Treinen was something of a buy-low pickup for the Dodgers last season, though they did have to guarantee the former Athletics standout $10MM. The move paid off handsomely for the World Series-winning Dodgers, who got 25 2/3 innings of 3.86 ERA ball with a 20.6 percent strikeout rate, 7.5 percent walk rate, and a tremendous percent 64 percent groundball rate from Treinen. The 32-year-old continued to average upward of 97 mph on his fastball along the way.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 05, 2021 at 09:40 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: blake treinen, dodgers

BA: Start of Minor League Season At Double-A And Class A To Be Delayed [$]

Major League Baseball sent a memo to minor league teams on Monday informing them that the 2021 minor league season at Double-A and the Class A levels will be delayed.

MLB told minor league teams that spring training for Double-A and Class A players will not begin until MLB and Triple-A players have departed from spring training. The delay will allow for more social distancing during a time when the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the world.

Even if MLB spring training begins on time, many minor leaguers would not report to spring training until late March or early April.

Because minor league players usually spend three or four weeks at spring training, the delay would push the start of those leagues to May if MLB spring ...

Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 05, 2021 at 06:16 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues

Tigers agree to two-year, $10 million deal with outfielder Robbie Grossman

It may not be the name fans were hoping for, but with the signing of 31-year-old, switch-hitting outfielder Robbie Grossman, the Tigers got the kind of proficient bat they’ve lacked in recent years.

The Tigers and the former Oakland Athletic Grossman reached an agreement Tuesday on a two-year, $10 million contract, sources confirmed to The Detroit News. The Tigers have yet to announce the signing, presumably waiting for the results of medical examinations.

The stat line might not wow you — .252/.350/.380 with a 101 OPS-plus over eight big-league seasons – but look closer. His career .350 on-base average is impressive enough, certainly. The only Tigers who came close to that on-base proficiency last season were Willi Castro and ...

Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 05, 2021 at 05:07 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: robbie grossman, tigers

MLB threatens harsh discipline for teams violating facility access protocols before spring training

Major League Baseball sent a detailed memo to its 30 teams Monday restricting access to their facilities and limiting voluntary workouts before the start of spring training, according to a copy of the document obtained by USA TODAY Sports.

While Cleveland and several major league teams planned to open their spring-training facilities this week to their players and staff for voluntary workouts, MLB sent the memo to every team’s front office with strict regulations, threatening harsh disciplinary measures to any team violating the procedures.

“We have been informed that some clubs intend to increase the number of players at their Spring Training facilities in January and February prior to the commencement of spring training,’’ the ...

Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 05, 2021 at 03:54 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-5-2021

Wheeling Intelligencer, January 5, 1921:

The Continental Baseball League, Incorporated, which its promoters say will put baseball teams into several major league cities, held its first meeting [yesterday] and elected Andrew F. Lawson, of [Boston], as president.

Franchises were assigned by states as follows:
Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and possibly the Province of Ontario, with a team at Toronto.

Mr. Lawson announced that it has been agreed to have no salary limit, and that “in the event of the Red Sox not accepting the offer to sell, a park would be built in Boston.”

The franchise for the Boston team was awarded to Fred Lundy as agent for certain interests. The Indiana franchise was awarded to ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 05, 2021 at 10:47 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, January 04, 2021

Here’s the actual situation with the Mets and George Springer

The rumored deal between Springer and the Mets that popped up in several places over the holiday was five years, $125 million. In reality, Springer is expected to sign for much more than that. Two league sources said that he was still asking for well over $150 million. Springer’s representatives at Excel Sports Management did not respond to messages seeking comment.

The Mets might be willing to approach $150 million for Springer, but the sides haven’t found sufficient common ground to even get near a deal.

As SNY reported earlier in the offseason, Springer is a more likely target for the Mets than free agent starter Trevor Bauer. There has been no evidence of a serious pursuit of Bauer to date.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 04, 2021 at 06:17 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, george springer, mets

Did Payroll Matter in 2020?

When it came to winning baseball games last year, payroll was not a significant factor. It’s worth noting that if we used BaseRuns standings, the correlation coefficient (r) moves up to .3, which is in line with what it was for actual wins and payroll for most of the last decade. Here’s a year-by-year look at wins and payrolls over the years….

On its face, last year’s correlation is the lowest since before baseball’s strike. As with much of 2020, the lack of a full season tends to distort the numbers and our ability to get value from them. Would the Marlins and Astros have maintained their roughly .500 trajectories, or would they have moved more toward their projected status? Looking at BaseRuns shows a significantly higher ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 04, 2021 at 06:14 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: payroll

Marquee Sports Network hires Jon ‘Boog’ Sciambi as play-by-play announcer

Marquee Sports Network had to get this hire right after Len Kasper, the popular Cubs play-by-play TV voice, left for White Sox radio.

With the announcement of the hire of Jon ‘Boog’ Sciambi of ESPN as the new Cubs PBP announcer Monday, they hit a home run.

During his time at ESPN, Sciambi has contributed to ESPN Radio’s MLB World Series coverage as an on-site studio host, while providing post-game, on-field interviews for ESPN’s SportsCenter. He also has held play-by-play duties for both the College and Little League World Series. His time at the network dates to 2005, when he began doing play-by-play for select college basketball and MLB games, and he has continued in play-by-play for both sports during his tenure at ESPN.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 04, 2021 at 12:04 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jon sciambi, marquee network

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 1-4-2021

Pittsburgh Press, January 4, 1921:

[Babe] Ruth took on some weight during his trip to Cuba. He accumulated quite a girth, in fact, and he wants to remove it though he says he is not worried about the weight he has picked up.

“I don’t believe in being at my lowest weight when the season starts,” said Ruth. “A few extra pounds gives a fellow a reserve that guards against staleness later on in the season.”

You don’t see a lot of “worst shape of his life” stories as Spring Training approaches.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: January 04, 2021 at 11:31 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Sunday, January 03, 2021

Phil Hughes Announces Retirement

Phil Hughes officially announced his retirement from baseball today via Twitter. Hughes last pitched in the Majors in 2018 as a member of the San Diego Padres. While his final 16 appearances came out of the Padres bullpen, the No. 23 overall pick of the 2004 draft spent most of his 12-year career split between the Yankees and Twins.

In his own words, Hughes begins his announcement by saying, “While it’s been fairly apparent to most over these last couple years, I’d like to officially announce my retirement from baseball. Through many ups and downs over 12 years, I look back and am incredibly proud of what I was able to accomplish.”

Hughes took some time finding his way, and he ultimately leaves the game as an underrated hurler. ...

Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 03, 2021 at 09:56 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: phil hughes

Friday, January 01, 2021

Boston Red Sox hire Bianca Smith as minor-league coach, making her first Black female coach in pro baseball history

The Red Sox have made a historic hire. According to Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe, the Red Sox have hired Bianca Smith as a minor-league coach, making her the first Black woman to serve as a coach in the history of professional baseball.

Smith, who is currently an assistant coach and assistant athletic director at Carroll University in Wisconsin, will work with minor-leaguers at Boston’s spring training complex in Fort Myers. She’ll mainly work with position players, according to McWilliams.

Smith played softball at Dartmouth in 2011 and 2012, has interned with the Rangers and Reds and received a dual Master’s degree in sports law and sports management from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. In Aug. 2019, she ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 01, 2021 at 04:11 PM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: african-americans

Thursday, December 31, 2020

MLB says players will receive COVID-19 vaccine when ‘public health officials deem it appropriate’

Here’s the statement MLB gave Drellich:

“Like the NBA, Major League Baseball and its clubs will work with public health authorities on issues related to the availability and timing of vaccinations for players and other employees,” MLB said in a statement to The Athletic. “Vaccinations will only be made available to players when public health officials deem it appropriate.”

Earlier this month the National Basketball Association advised teams vaccinations will be “consistent with the timing and prioritization set by applicable public health guidelines.” It was recently reported the National Hockey League was planning to privately purchase the vaccine prior to their upcoming season, though that report was shot down soon thereafter.

...Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 31, 2020 at 10:47 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-31-2020

Ogden Standard-Examiner, December 31, 1920:

Swede Risberg…one of the indicted players on the Chicago White Sox team, sends word from the Pacific coast that he will be back in the American league during the 1921 season.

Narrator: “He wasn’t.”

Risberg spent the next 10-15 years making a living playing in outlaw and semipro leagues.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 31, 2020 at 10:37 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Eric Thames To Sign With NPB’s Yomiuri Giants

Slugger Eric Thames is in agreement on a one-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, as first reported by Sports Hochi. Reports out of Japan have pegged the one-year contract’s value in the vicinity of $1.2MM, though the precise number remains unclear. Thames is repped by Apex Baseball.

Thames becomes the second former Brewers first baseman to join the Giants in as many days, as Justin Smoak is also reported to be wrapping up a deal to join the Giants. That could mean that one or both will spend ample time at designated hitter, and Thames of course has plenty of experience playing the outfield corners as well.

The 2020 season was a tough one for Thames, who inked a one-year pact with the Nationals ...

Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 30, 2020 at 04:49 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: eric thames, japanese baseball

Baseball Lost A Team Of Legends This Year

In the span of just a few weeks, not just one but two iconic St. Louis Cardinals died: Bob Gibson and Lou Brock. These were defining members of many Cardinals championship teams as players who stayed within the St. Louis family for decades after their careers ended. They were routinely included in opening day festivities at Busch Stadium, wearing their red jackets.

We lost Tom Seaver, the defining Met. Joe Morgan, perhaps the best second baseman to ever play the game, with the Cincinnati Reds and numerous other teams. Whitey Ford, big game pitcher par excellence for the New York Yankees. Al Kaline: Mr. Tiger. And just Saturday, we lost Phil Neikro, the master of the knuckleball.

That’s seven Hall of Fame players. To put it in ...

Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 30, 2020 at 01:37 PM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, obituaries

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-30-2020

New York Tribune, December 30, 1920:

Samuel Breadon, president of the St. Louis National League Club, gave New York its prize laugh of the season yesterday afternoon…To an offer of $200,000 and four players for Rogers Hornsby, the heavy hitting infielder of the Cardinals, Breadon flashed [the Giants front office] this laconic wire in reply.

“If you will throw in Frisch for good measure I shall be pleased to call Manager Branch Rickey’s attention to your offer.”

Rogers Hornsby was really, really, really good. Unless you’re dealing with Harry Frazee, you just don’t get players like that without giving up a ton.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 30, 2020 at 11:07 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

The Forest Gump of baseball? How Clyde Sukeforth played a pivotal role in baseball’s biggest moments

Baseball is full of improbable stories, but there are few as unlikely and lovely as Sukeforth’s. Who could make this up? He was a small catcher (5-foot-10, 155 pounds) from Washington (pop. 800) in Lincoln County, Maine, who found his way to the majors by chance and ended up batting .354 for the Reds in 1929. He overcame a hunting accident that left him with diminished vision in his right eye, and he suffered a personal tragedy that he took with him to his grave.

In 1945, when he was a 43-year-old Dodgers coach and the team was hurting for players because of the war, he strapped on his gear once again ... and hit .294 in 18 games. It was later that very summer when Rickey sent Sukeforth on his top-secret mission.

What else? He could ...

Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 30, 2020 at 10:56 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: clyde sukeforth, dodgers

Philadelphia Phillies get Jose Alvarado in 3-team trade with Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers

The Philadelphia Phillies acquired left-handed reliever Jose Alvarado in a three-team trade with the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday.

In the deal, Tampa Bay sent Alvarado to Philadelphia, the Phillies sent left-hander Garrett Cleavinger to the Los Angeles and the Dodgers sent infielder Dillon Paulson and a player to be named later to Tampa Bay.

Alvarado, 25, has a career ERA of 3.46 in 149 appearances over four seasons with the Rays. He pitched in nine games during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and had a 6.00 ERA. His best season was in 2018, when he appeared in a career-high 70 games and had a 2.39 ERA. He is 2-15 in his career with 15 saves.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 30, 2020 at 10:16 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, jose alvarado, phillies, rays

Justin Smoak finalizing deal with Japan’s Yomiuri Giants

Veteran first baseman Justin Smoak is finalizing a deal with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

The deal will guarantee him somewhere in the $6-7 million range, sources said.

Smoak, 34, will join a Giants team that won the Central League but lost in the Japan Series this past season. The Tokyo-based Giants are Japan’s oldest professional team.

Smoak, a longtime major league first baseman/designated hitter, spent last season with the Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants, with five home runs and just a .176 average between the two.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 30, 2020 at 10:15 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball, justin smoak

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