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The series thread has taken a bit of a U-turn so I am setting up a fresh thread for tonight's game for those who want to discuss the action on the field.

Tonight JA (Happy) Happ faces Jason Vargas. Vargas can be hard on the Jays when he is "on". The kids, Urena and Teoscar gets starts tonight. After tonight the Jays finish with the Red Sox and Yankees where Gibbons will feel the need to put his best lineup, aka veterans, on the field.
Royals at Blue Jays - Sept 21 | 100 comments | Create New Account
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Alex Obal - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 05:20 PM EDT (#349260) #
Things I liked so far from this series: Stroman's metagame on Tuesday night, throwing about 20 backdoor sliders against the Royals' lefties, as an experiment or an attempt to bloody up the scouting report or whatever. Fun and surprisingly effective. Osuna changing his entrance music to something that isn't Big Sean. Hard to go wrong there. Also, Moustakas passing Steve Balboni to claim the most sacred home run record in baseball. I was there, man. All zero of my Royals fan friends are going to envy me forever.

Things I didn't like: Ramirez losing the streak, and Anderson getting Royals'd. They swung at everything and it worked. Is it that easy?
John Northey - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 05:20 PM EDT (#349261) #
Looking forward to seeing what the Jays do about 2018 and beyond. Great seeing Teoscar Hernandez (wow, got it spelled right on the first try) and Richard Urena getting full shots this September. LF/RF/backup IF are key spots for 2018 to be filled and those 2 are serious candidates for 2 of those 3 slots.

As to the rotation, there is 1 slot wide open (#5 starter) and losers for it go into the 6-9 slots. Does Biagini have options left? Is Chris Rowley a serious candidate for #5? Do you offer arbitration to Tom Koehler (it'll cost around $6 mil)? Do you chase Alex Cobb or any other free agents? If so how far do you go?

I'm expecting a free agent signing to fill that slot, probably someone like Happ was 2 years ago - potentially good but not 100% sure due to various issues thus $30-50 mil over 3 years.
China fan - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 05:27 PM EDT (#349262) #
Richard Urena has only 2 hits in his last 23 plate appearances, but the Jays keep running him out there. They obviously like him and believe he has potential for next season. And middle infield is clearly an area of need, so it makes for the Jays to figure out what Urena can do, and to perhaps accelerate his development by giving him lots of major-league time.

It's true that he might end up as a utility back-up player, rather than a regular. It's true that his poor performance over the past 23 plate appearances is worrisome. It's true that pitchers may have realized that he has difficulties with off-speed stuff, and he'll now be tested to see if he can adjust. But the Jays are still giving him a lot of playing time, which tells me that they evaluate him very highly. And he's still just 21.

The question about Tom Koehler is an interesting one. I think the Jays want him on the roster next season, and I think they will try to negotiate with him to get a cheaper salary than he might get in arbitration. If they can get him for the right place, he could be useful as a one-inning reliever and a potential emergency starter if several of the regulars get injured.
China fan - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 05:28 PM EDT (#349263) #
* should read: ...makes sense for the Jays to figure out what Urena can do...
China fan - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 05:30 PM EDT (#349264) #
Geez. So many typos in that post. About Koehler, I meant to write: "....If they can get him for the right price...."
greenfrog - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 05:43 PM EDT (#349266) #
I'm hoping Shapiro works some magic and reels in Otani, with Estrada playing the role of overqualified #5 starter.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 05:44 PM EDT (#349267) #
Does Richard Urena make the Roster (Bench) next season? Itís as if heís facing some of the best pitching available and doing well anyway. I donít know Iíd send him down if I was taking a lesser player North,

How much does Jose Bautista play once they are back on the road? I think Teoscar Hernandez should get regular ABs verses New York and Boston. I donít think heís facing lesser pitching in any series remaining.
Richard S.S. - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 06:02 PM EDT (#349268) #
September call ups that get a good look are being highlighted as an asset or are a definite consideration for the lineup. How good they are is determined by how well they deal with failure. If the Jays are prefering someone else as Tuloís successor, Richard could get traded in a package or might make the Bench anyway.
dan gordon - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 06:07 PM EDT (#349269) #
Urena is a 21 year old who struggled to hit in AA this year. I think there is very little chance he opens the season in Toronto next year. The question is whether he starts in AA or AAA. I would think the right way to go is start him in AA and if he shows he has turned things around with the bat, move him up to AAA after a couple of months.

No way is Koehler getting arb from the Jays. They might try to work out a cheaper contract with him. The bad start by Anderson yesterday was disappointing, but I think they probably still have interest in him for next year.

I expect an OF to be brought in during the offseason. Then you have the internal candidates Carrera, Pompey, Alford and Hernandez fight for the 3rd and 4th OF spots.
PeterG - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 06:23 PM EDT (#349270) #
Replying to a couple of John's unanswered questions:

- Biagini has 2 remaining option years

- I don't think Rowley is a serious candidate for the 5th starter. He may not make the off season 40 man as is one of several on the bubble.
jerjapan - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 06:24 PM EDT (#349271) #
Otani would be beyond amazing, but he's likely going to the NL so he can hit, no?  I've long wondered why we haven't targeted Japanese FAs.  I lived in Tokyo for years and could see a variety of reasons for a Japanese athlete to view Toronto as an appealing destination. 

Biagini has two options remaining, but I'm still firmly of the opinion that he belongs in the bigs. 

There's no way I would tender Koehler after his dreadful season, but he has looked good out of the pen.  If he's willing to take a reduced salary, he seems like a good roll of the dice.  Does the org view him exclusively as a reliever?  Atkins has said he wants to have 8 or 9 viable major league starting candidates in camp next Spring - Koehler and Anderson would bring the total to 7, 8 if Borcuki or Pannone count but I'm reading that comment as meaning veterans. 

I'd be plenty happy to roll with the existing OF candidates rather than signing a stopgap.  If everyone drops the ball, we could trade for someone cheaply at the deadline assuming guys like Bruce and Martinez are priced the same way. 

I agree with Dan Gordon on Urena.  While I keep talking up Cozart for the IF, Jed Lowrie is appealing as well.  To me, a versatile middle IF and a lefty reliever are the two biggest needs for next year.

jerjapan - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 06:35 PM EDT (#349272) #
The team has fired Vancouver manager Rich Miller - seems an odd move to me, given the teams successful season. 

http://theprovince.com/sports/baseball/cs-manager-rich-miller-surprised-to-be-fired-by-blue-jays-so-soon-after-winning-title

greenfrog - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 06:36 PM EDT (#349273) #
Hmm...a poster with the handle "Richard SS" suggests that Richard Urena, SS, should be receiving more playing time in the majors. Coincidence?
hypobole - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 07:20 PM EDT (#349274) #
Well, Muni came here, but when AA tried to trade for Koji Uehara, he nixed the deal. From MLBTR:

"Rangers reliever Koji Uehara has invoked his no-trade clause to reject a trade to the Blue Jays, reports Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas. The right-hander's limited no-trade clause allows him to block trades to six teams, and Toronto is one of those six."

Side note - Actually starting to think contracts with no-trade clauses come with "Toronto Blue Jays" pre-printed on them.
greenfrog - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 08:43 PM EDT (#349275) #
On an unrelated note, it's very disappointing that teams (no doubt thinking avaricious thoughts about protecting their profit margins) have been so slow to extend the protective netting in baseball stadiums. It's awful to think about that toddler in the lower level seats in Yankees Stadium who was hit in the face by a line-drive foul ball. (One might also question why her parents brought her to the game when she would be seated so close to the field. And why didn't someone bring a baseball glove to protect her?)
hypobole - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 08:54 PM EDT (#349276) #
One might also question teams allowing small children to be seated so close.

Where they were sitting, highly doubt a glove would help much for the average fan when it's a 105 mph rocket.
scottt - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 09:15 PM EDT (#349277) #
I like Urena's arm and speed, but he's getting full playing time in the minors at least until someone hits the DL.

Koehler should get stretched and contend for a starting spot in the spring.
With Anderson, I'm only concerned about how division rivals fare against him.
Although, some of those Royals could end up in the division.

John Northey - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 09:31 PM EDT (#349282) #
Urena catches me as a Manny Lee type - good glove, decent baserunner, no bat but enough of one to be useful (ie: OPS in the 600s). He is great to have in AAA until someone is hurt. Goins or Barney are good backups but just one of them ideally (back in the day of 15 hitters / 10 pitchers Goins/Barney would've been fine but with 12 hitters/13 pitchers it doesn't work).

Free agents: Montero (bye bye), Brett Anderson (likely gone), Darwin Barney (gone I expect), Bautista ($500k buyout and gone). Not bad just 3 spare parts who no one will miss plus Bautista.

Arbitration: 4th year: Donaldson;
3rd: Koehler, Loup;
2nd: Stroman, Carrera;
1st: Pillar, Osuna, Goins, Travis, Sanchez;

Obviously Donaldson is a $20+ mil one year or long term for over $20. Koehler is a likely no offer or signs for less, Loup will be under $3 mil, Stroman will be $5-10 mil; None of the others should be over $2 mil. So net of $40 mil roughly.

Already signed is $89 mil so combined = $129 mil roughly (very roughly) leaving $34 mil to reach this years payroll or more than enough to sign a high end starter plus others.

I really hope the Jays do a full push on getting Shohei Otani as he'd fill LF and #5 starter quite nicely. MLB Trade Rumours says the Jays are willing to let him hit and pitch plus he has been working out with Munenori Kawasaki who only has great things to say about Toronto. It'd be nice to win a battle for a player where the money is secondary (there is a hard cap on how much he can get) and it comes down to where he wants to play. In theory the Jays could afford him plus Alex Cobb thus creating a solid 6 man rotation. Guess we will see what happens.
Shoeless Joe - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 09:44 PM EDT (#349283) #
The Jays apparently have a good reputation for allowing developing players a chance to be their selves according to Bo Bichette. That might help for Shohei Omani.

I mentioned it in the other thread, but I want Mike Minor on the Jays next season. I'd give him a chance to start with the fall back of being an elite set-up man and fill in closer.
scottt - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 10:01 PM EDT (#349285) #
I'd give 6M to Koehler before I'd give 3M to Loup.
They are both on their last years of arbitration, one guy has 1 down year, the other has 3.

There will be no 6 man rotation. Stroman wants to pitch 200 innings. Estrada hates pitching on long rest.

Otani sounds like a pipe dream and the risk is pretty high.

I think they either move fast or wait out and scoop unsigned players after the holidays.

John Northey - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 10:48 PM EDT (#349286) #
Scottt: "I think they either move fast or wait out and scoop unsigned players after the holidays."

That is the big question, which way will they go? Will last winters mid-read lead to them waiting and risking having nothing or will they be aggressive again? I'd vote aggressive - go for who you want and don't be caught with your pants down at the end of February like a few years ago when the Jays tried signing a pitcher by getting players to defer money a year or two then failed to sign the guy anyways (forget the guys name, I think he ended up in Atlanta).
hypobole - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 10:52 PM EDT (#349287) #
Ervin Santana. One of the finest days in Rogers ownership history.
Nigel - Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 11:28 PM EDT (#349288) #
I honestly have no idea why Miller was fired in Vancouver but you do need to understand that winning in Vancouver bears zero correlation to what is in the Jays long term best interests. By that I mean, Vancouver won this year because of the quality of their mid round college picks, almost all of whom, if not all of whom, aren't prospects at all in the long term sense. It is that way in almost every year in the Northwest League. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say Miller was fired because the actual prospects that were in Vancouver didn't play, or develop, all that well outside of this year's high college picks. However, I would argue that outside of this year's high college draft picks (Warmoth, Pearson and Riley) there really weren't any interesting prospects anyway. Of course, there are many other possible reasons for the firing.
uglyone - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 01:06 AM EDT (#349289) #
urena has an excellent hitting track record.

remember that his current age appropriate level is A+. not AA. not AAA. not MLB. But A+.
dan gordon - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 02:43 AM EDT (#349291) #
Age compared to level is very important in evaluating a prospect. So is the progress from year to year, and the overall developmental progress a player is making. Urena was making excellent progress until this year. His pattern was that he would hit very well for a large stretch, get a promotion and struggle at the higher level in a smallish sample. This is what happened in 2016, he hit very well in A+, and then dropped off substantially in 124 AB's in AA. You'd have liked to see him make good progress with AA in 2017, and possibly get a deserved promotion to AAA, but his OPS at AA this year actually dropped by 33 points. He needs to turn that around, and show that he can handle AA pitching.
Glevin - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 04:21 AM EDT (#349292) #
In the off-season, I see them generally not making any moves that will hamper them long term or leave tons of long-term dead money. I see them going after a starting pitcher or two because if the team is thinking long-term, Estrada and Happ are free agents after 2018 and the Jays aren't exactly replete with arms knocking on the major league door so you need to be looking to fill the rotation for 2019 and maybe 2020 as well. The issue is that pitching is scarce and likely to be extremely expensive. I'd be very interested in Alex Cobb but so would a lot of teams. I can see guys like Hellickson, Ross, and Tillman being legitimate options to give the Jays some innings at the back of the rotation. I also see a one or two year deal for a LFer. Someone like Maybin or Granderson. I know this FO seems to like Bruce a lot and I'd be fine with him on a short-term deal if his asking price isn't too high. People are focusing on the OF defense but their OF D was actually not as bad as their OF hitting was. The Jays also need a middle infielder but the FA class is very weak and I think a trade for someone like Jed Lowrie would be ideal (not too expensive to get from a rebuilding team, short-term commitment, can cover all over the IF). I'd be fine with starting with Maile as the backup C for a month or two and then bringing up Jansen or McGuire whichever the organization deems as more ready or even starting with one of those guys in the majors.

The Jays do something like that and they'll be in the hunt for the second wild card without sacrificing anything for the future. The top teams in the AL (Bos, NYY, Cle, Hou) are very well setup for the future but there still isn't a very good fifth team so that is definitely up for grabs. If they are in good position at the deadline, they have the prospect capital now to add players, if they aren't, they can trade for more prospects.

Urena is not starting in the majors next year. Personally, I'd start him back in AA. You want to see hitters "defeat" a level a before moving up. He is young so it's important to take that into consideration but as Dan said, he actually got worse repeating AA which is not what you want to see. I'm pretty agnostic on Urena as he has a very wide range of outcomes right now but how he performs this year will say a lot.
China fan - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 07:08 AM EDT (#349294) #
When I said that the Jays see Urena as having "potential for next year," I wasn't trying to suggest that he will be in the starting lineup at the beginning of the season. I meant only that we're likely to see him in a Jays uniform at some point again next season, if only as an injury replacement. He clearly needs another season in the minors. But I wouldn't be surprised if he comes up for a couple weeks at some point next season. He could be up-and-down over the next couple seasons, especially considering the uncertain health of Travis. My point is that the Jays regard him as being close to ready, especially defensively.

Where will he start next season? I would predict Buffalo, but I can see the argument for leaving him at the AA level for a month or two to begin the season.
whiterasta80 - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 07:35 AM EDT (#349295) #
Unless baseball suddenly changes it's rules to allow us to pro-rated production while players are injured I want no part of Jed Lowrie. We can't accumulate every injury prone MI and then lament our bad luck when Urena plays 120 games next year.

Eduardo Nunez is the choice for me. Or if we are spending elsewhere id look at the Danny Espinosa reclamation project. Jurickson Profar is another possibility but I don't know anything about his health status.

By the way, has anyone else noticed what the rangers are doing in the minors? Virtually all of their prospects (including multiple catchers) are training intensely at multiple positions. It seems to have paid off with Joey Gallo who has moved around all year for them. Ryan Cordell, josh Morgan, Andy inane, Anderson tejada, kole enight; none of these players have focused on one position. Isaiah Kiner-Falefa is my favourite off the radar prospect right now. It looks like a specific organizational philosophy to me (particularly with the catchers) and I like it a lot.
scottt - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 08:01 AM EDT (#349296) #
Jurickson Profar has never hit.
SK in NJ - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 08:32 AM EDT (#349297) #
The Jays off-season is likely going to resemble 2016 and 2017. They will try to find value in free agency on short-term deals and make trades that won't cost them any real prospects (maybe a trade to clear up some fringe 40 man roster decisions). The fact that they gave Estrada only one year when he seems like the type of player who would have taken less AAV for an additional year leads me to believe they are going to make an effort to win in 2018 but want to have room/flexibility to improvise beyond that point.
hypobole - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 09:47 AM EDT (#349298) #
One other point on acquiring Jed Lowrie. As he showed this season, even injury prone players don't always get injured. Lowrie has over 600 PA's this year. He's good when healthy so won't come cheap, most likely.

All of Tulo, Travis and Lowrie are starting calibre players. There will most likely be stretches, and maybe lengthy stretches, where they are all healthy, meaning one of them is going to sit.

Or yeah, they could all be injured at the same time.

Jevant - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 10:12 AM EDT (#349299) #
I like Lowrie as a 2B, but he hasn't played SS regularly at all since 2015.  Not sure I'd want to expect him to be good enough defensively there for 2018.

I'm far more comfortable with internal options in the OF than I am in the INF for 2018:

Current controllable OF depth: Pillar, Carrera, Hernandez, Alford, Pearce.  Saunders, presumably, if you want him.
Current controllable INF depth (non-1B): Donaldson, Tulo, Travis, Goins, Barney, Urena.  After those first 3 names, it's a massive drop off.

I'd be fully on board with Asdrubal Cabrera, Eduardo Nunez, etc, that can play a capable SS and is startable without feeling like an automatic out.  I think it shouldn't be too hard to attract such a name with the injury history of the 3 starting infielders.

If the Jays wanted to make a deal for seemingly Brewers outcast Jonathan Villar (who can play all 3 infield positions and also is learning the OF), I'd be thrilled.  Younger and faster.  Keon Broxton (who also doesn't seem to be in the Brewers plans) would be a nice OF to add as well.

Jevant - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 10:20 AM EDT (#349300) #
I agree.

Without additions, the non-pitchers looks like this for 2018 right now:

C: Martin
1B: Smoak
2B: Travis
SS: Tulowitzki
3B: Donaldson
OF: Pillar, Hernandez, Pearce
DH: Morales
C: Maile
INF: Goins, Barney
OF: Carrera

The massive weakness there is the bench infielder(s).  Second biggest problem is one of the starting OF.  They simply can't have Goins and Barney having the 6th and 9th most PA on the team (or Bautista, Pillar and Morales having 1st, 2nd and 4th, respectively, but that's another issue).  I'm content with the pitching staff basically as currently constructed (bringing back Anderson or someone similar), but you need to ensure you are not trotting out Goins and Barney for 760 PA of 60 wRC.

Mike Green - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 10:23 AM EDT (#349301) #
Jurickson Profar has never hit.

He's 24 years old and has 712 MLB PAs over 4 seasons, including 70 in 2017.  He had a significant injury and missed all of 2014 and almost all of 2015.   In 2017, he had 383 PAs this year playing shortstop at Triple A, hitting .287/.383/.428 with terrific walk/strikeout rates.  It seems that he was not called up in September for service time reasons, although ostensibly there were not enough PAs for him. 
uglyone - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 10:31 AM EDT (#349303) #
"The Jays off-season is likely going to resemble 2016 and 2017. They will try to find value in free agency on short-term deals and make trades that won't cost them any real prospects"

yeah, we know.
uglyone - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 10:33 AM EDT (#349304) #
"but you need to ensure you are not trotting out Goins and Barney for 760 PA of 60 wRC."

but really there's never any excuse to trot this out for this long. there are always stones to unturn to try something else.
Ducey - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 10:41 AM EDT (#349305) #
"but really there's never any excuse to trot this out for this long. there are always stones to unturn to try something else."

The season has been toast for some time. It doesn't matter. There is no reason to give up assets to upgrade.

In fact, there are now 4 teams within 2 games of the Jays league wide (Oakland, San Diego, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta). A nice late season swoon and the Jays could be picking 7th.

A better draft pick is about all we can hope for at this point.
lexomatic - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 10:45 AM EDT (#349306) #
Urena catches me as a Manny Lee type - good glove, decent baserunner, no bat but enough of one to be useful (ie: OPS in the 600s). He is great to have in AAA until someone is hurt.

This immediately struck me as a bad comparison, only because I feel like Urena has way more bat potential than Manny Lee ever did. So I went and checked.
I don't think I ever looked at Lee's minor league stats, but there's not a lot there. By the stats it looks like in 1985 he was a rule 5 pick from the Mets as a 20 yr old out of the Sally League. I remember him being a pinch runner, but that's about it.
Turns out he had 117 games in AA and AAA next year as a 21 yr old,  half a season in 1987 and then nothing until age 30 what looks like an injury rehab. A case could be made his development was stunted... but mostly, I'm a little confused about why he was left unprotected.
In 1984 he was 2 years under the average for the Sally league and OPSd .835 when league average was .674 witih BB/K of 60/42. That sounds like a crazy prospect these days.

In 1986 in 40 games in AA he was closer to 3 years under the league average, and hit for a decent batting average with zero power (272.avg  350 obp 304 slg). 20/29 BB/K
in 1986 in 75 games in AAA he was 4.5 years under the age average. He didn't hit (.600 OPS with.724 league OPS) but maintained ok plate discipline 21/39 bb/k
In 1987 in another 75 games in AAA he was 3.5 years under the age average. He hit much better (283 328 394) 723 ops vs 735 lgOPS. 18/50 BB/K however.

The plate discipline decay is interesting, but they are clearly different kinds of players. For one, Urena has significantly more power. Lee never hit more than 12 2B in a season. In roughly a full season of AAA (555 PA) he had 15 2B 6 3B 4 HR with a slash of 265 316 342.

There's not a lot of overlap for comparison between Urena and Lee, though. they were both in A at 19 and AA at 21 even if playing time was not the same. Sorry, I can't do tables here.

A 19

Player G AB H 2B 3B Hr SB CS Bb K AVG OBP SLG
Lee 102 411 84 12 5 2 24 6 60 42 .329 .424. 410
Urena 91 408 102 13 4 15 5 5 13 84 266 289 438

AA 21

Player G AB H 2B 3B Hr SB CS Bb K AVG OBP SLG
Lee 41 179 43 1 2 0 8 4 20 29 272 352 304
Urena 129 551 126 36 3 5 0 1 30 100 247 286 359
LeeX3 123 557 129 3 6 0 24 12 60 87 272 352 304

MLB 21

Player G AB H 2B 3B Hr SB CS Bb K AVG OBP SLG
Lee   35 85 16  0  1  1   0    1   4  10   205 241 259
Urena 16 64 13 4 0 1  1   0   5  23 .224 .286  345

Urena has never stolen bases very well, though I guess he has enough speed to pinch run if he's in a bench role, he probably wouldn't be first choice
I would hope Urena improves his average, but I even with similar numbers to Lee I would expect significantly more power


bpoz - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 10:46 AM EDT (#349307) #
They did not find anyone to replace the inured Tulo and Travis. I don't know how hard they tried. No IF prospect was ready for the ML. So we had Goins and Barney.

For 2018 Urena seems close and Gurriel may advance enough.
lexomatic - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 10:54 AM EDT (#349309) #
Sorry I should include League OPS for those various stints. I included Lee's in the post but Urena's...
Urena    lg OPS Lee
A - .684 lg OPS .674
AA -.727 lg OPS .771
MLB-.754 lg OPS .737


uglyone - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 11:01 AM EDT (#349311) #
"There is no reason to give up assets to upgrade."

you don't even have to give up assets to find an upgrade on a 60wrc+.
Jevant - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 11:01 AM EDT (#349312) #
Agreed.  I actually assumed Refsnyder would get a legitimate shot (otherwise why acquire him) to perhaps see if the minor league numbers would translate.  But no opportunity given.

I like Gibbons alot, but the commitment to Goins and Barney this year has been baffling to me.  Pillar too, if we had any sort of reasonable CF alternative.

uglyone - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 11:06 AM EDT (#349313) #
eh, refsnyder is not an infielder. Gibbons actually probably gave him too much of a chance at 2B, not too little.
PeterG - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 11:35 AM EDT (#349314) #
Have to agree with Ugly here. I think Refsnyder was given sufficient opportunity to show that he was not an upgrade and likely not a major league player to be. I expect he will be DFA shortly after the season ends.

I also think some of the suggestions as to who might be signed for 2018 are quite unrealistic. It will be a backup infielder , not a starter. Goins will still be here. The team is committed, rightly or wrongly, to Tulo and Travis as starters.
Ducey - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 11:39 AM EDT (#349315) #
"eh, refsnyder is not an infielder. Gibbons actually probably gave him too much of a chance at 2B, not too little."

Yeah, they should have tried the dozen other guys with >60 wRC+ offense and great defense that were available for free.
SK in NJ - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#349316) #
You wouldn't be acquiring Profar to live up to his previous prospect ranking. The chances of him becoming a star, while still possible given his age, have deteriorated over the last three years. The logic in acquiring him would be that he could realistically cover positions that the Jays lack depth in (2B/SS/3B), and he has enough upside to possibly turn into something with some help in his development. On top of that, the cost of acquiring him given he is out of options and hasn't performed well is likely to be a lot less (how much less remains to be seen). His BB/K rate in the minors this season is intriguing enough to see if he can at least hit enough to be a utility IF.

He is exactly the type of gamble the Jays should be taking if the price to acquire him is reasonable. I thought the Refsynder pick up was solid as well, but him playing the infield is a round hole/square peg scenario, so it was doomed to fail unless he hit enough to compensate for it.
uglyone - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 11:55 AM EDT (#349317) #
There are approximately 100 or so MLB SS/2B this year who put up better than Goins' 61wrc+. A large number of them could have been had for free. Many still could.

One of them is Urena.
SK in NJ - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#349318) #
"I also think some of the suggestions as to who might be signed for 2018 are quite unrealistic. It will be a backup infielder , not a starter. Goins will still be here. The team is committed, rightly or wrongly, to Tulo and Travis as starters."


When looking at the free agent list, which is weak again much like last off-season, the realistic Jays targets will likely be the players that would take a 1-2 year deal. Cameron Maybin was mentioned, and that's probably realistic (if not underwhelming). Jarrod Dyson seems like a two year deal player given his age, and as long as he still has his legs will always be an underrated surplus value candidate. The market isn't very good overall, especially in the mid-tier. Maybe there is a trade out there where a team with a high priced player will dump him for nothing/little. I'm certainly not expecting Alex Cobb in free agency. The SP market isn't good and he'll get a good offer. I actually thought about Vargas (the Royals SP last night) being someone the Jays might have interest in. I can't imagine it would take more than two years to get him, but who knows.
bpoz - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 12:07 PM EDT (#349319) #
I think Urena came up at the right time. His Sept use is ok with me too.
I would have preferred Smith Jr to C Coghlan. Bt maybe his injury prevented that.
whiterasta80 - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 12:25 PM EDT (#349320) #
Agreed with bpoz that Urena came up at the right time. Anything earlier would have been wasting service time on someone I legitimately think will contribute to this team eventually.

By contrast, I thought that Gurriel and maybe even Dwight Smith Jr (has at least taken reps at 2B) should have been given a shot for the reasons outlined above. Just about ANYONE could have been better than Goins this year.

CeeBee - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 12:45 PM EDT (#349321) #
"Just about ANYONE could have been better than Goins this year."

But I swear I heard Pat & buck drooling over Goins have 50+ ribbies. ;)
John Northey - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 12:49 PM EDT (#349322) #
Goins first 3 years in the majors saw a 1.4/0.1/2.7 WAR figures with under 130 games played each year. Built almost entirely on his defense being 'wow'. Last year he slumped horribly with the bat and took some of that to thefield as his OPS dropped to 42 and his dWAR dropped to 0.5 thus a net negative. This year he has hit better (60 OPS) and seems to get timely hits (not going to look it up) with a 0.3 dWAR this year which pretty much makes him a replacement level player. (not sure why a -0.1 oWAR 0.3 dWAR player gets -0.5 WAR at BR).

Now, FanGraphs sees Goins as a negative on defense each of the past 2 years so depending which you look at Goins is either good on defense or very poor. No matter how you cut it he has deteriorated very quickly over the past 3 years, far faster than normal given he is in his age 29 season. I can see why Gibbons keeps sending him out there but the challenge is for the Jays to recognize that Goins isn't that good in any aspect of the game anymore and it is time to say goodbye to him and Barney this winter. Barney, like Goins, has deteriorated drastically on defense this year and with his poor bat there is no position for him. Funny, I started this trying to defend Goins but in the end I see the case for dumping him early this season.

I suspect the Jays will offer both AAA deals this winter with spring invites and one might end up on the bench with the other in AAA as insurance. Urena though will get called up first in injury situations and be given the everyday job during the injury time since he can go back and forth. Hopefully the Jays can find another defense first guy to compete for the backup job this spring who is like Goins was a few years ago.
Magpie - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 01:29 PM EDT (#349325) #
A case could be made [Lee's} development was stunted... but mostly, I'm a little confused about why he was left unprotected.

Lee was actually drafted out of the Houston system - the Mets traded him to the Astros after the 1984 Sally League season in the Ray Knight deal. Toronto took him in the Rule 5 draft before he ever played in the Houston system. The Astros did have some shortstops: 1984 was the year Dickie Thon got hurt, but they probably expected him to be more like himself when he came back. Craig Reynolds had done a very fine job filling in for Thon, they had a young Puerto Rican named Bert Pena. They may have just had a roster crunch.

Two things I always wondered about Lee: a) what happened to his base stealing (he looked pretty decent in the low minors) b) how did he start switch-hitting. Was it his idea, had he always done it, did the Mets have him do it? Teams used to try to turn these fast little guys into switch-hitters to "take advantage of their speed." It almost always did more harm than good. Certainly Lee was always a much better hitter right-handed. I assumed he was a natural RH hitter.
PeterG - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 02:07 PM EDT (#349331) #
http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb/mark-shapiro-qa-part-1-looking-ahead-2018-beyond/

Shapiro's opinion of Ryan Goins is very different from those who bash him regularly on the box. Just sayin.

There are several comments on the plans for 2018 and the future of JD.
jerjapan - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 02:10 PM EDT (#349332) #
I certainly hope Urena turns out better than '3 pitch' Manny Lee.  I still recall the start of an early season game, telling my friends emphatically that 3 pitches were all it took to get Lee out, and then watching a whole game which verified his nickname.  He had a solid career, but he was the last regular I wanted up to bat with the game on the line. 

Tammy Rainey has her farm system reviews up at BP Toronto - well worth a read.  She's high on Pentacost "every quote Iíve seen from Jays staff is a rave review" and thinks J-Leb is a non-prospect - her only point that I disagree with, I still think he might make a decent utility guy.  She's also intrigued by pitching convert Emerson Jiminez, saying "if thereís a guy in the system who could wear three or four different uniforms next year, it is probably this guy".

http://toronto.locals.baseballprospectus.com/2017/09/18/blue-jays-2017-farm-system-in-review-the-hitters/

Gideon Turk at BP also wrote about Otani - he says Dan Evans is our main Japan guy and he apparently has a great relationship with the GM of Otani's team, and is very interested in Otani.  It seems the idea is that Otani will have a handshake deal with whoever lands they guy about the next (huge) contract.

Would you guys go for Otani assuming that he eventually gets a huge deal?
SK in NJ - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 02:26 PM EDT (#349338) #
Otani is the type of player the Jays absolutely should take a chance on. It won't cost prospects or draft picks to get him, and he's still 23 with star level upside. The issue here is that he's subject to the intl draft pool, so pretty much every team will have a chance at getting him. It's up to him where he wants to play. Beyond that I'm sure a handshake agreement on a future extension can be worked out beforehand, but actually enticing him to come over when the Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox, etc, etc, are right there too will be the hard part. I wouldn't hold my breath, but I'm positive the Jays will at least make a real run at him.
Glevin - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 02:30 PM EDT (#349339) #
"Otani is the type of player the Jays absolutely should take a chance on"

Sure but every team in baseball will try for him. My guess is that a West Coast team (Mariners had Icihro and is closest city to Japan) has the best chance but nobody really has any clue what he wants. Jays will make their pitch but I'm as far as I'm concerned it's about a 1/30 chance. I really hope he doesn't go to NY or Bos though.
Parker - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 02:33 PM EDT (#349341) #
Gibbons actually probably gave him too much of a chance at 2B, not too little.

So, fire Gibbons, huh. :)
jerjapan - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 02:39 PM EDT (#349342) #
I think your right about Otani Glevin.  The Mariners were the only MLB team covered in Japan when I lived there, and they got a ton of coverage due to Ichiro mania.  Otani will likely generate the same level of interest.  Whoever gets him is tapping into a great market.  Even if we don't get the guy, I'm excited to hear the FO talking about building connections in Japan - I always felt AA slept on that market. 
DavidtheDeuce - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 02:44 PM EDT (#349344) #
Looking forward to the game on Sunday - I plan to be there with my youngest daughter. We will give Jose Bautista a standing ovation for every at bat and play.

Did anyone notice Russell Martin's face swelling this week? I suspect he is taking some kind of anti-inflammatory steroid.

My friend brought back an Ohtani jersey for me from Japan. I wear it proudly around town. I don't think the Jays will be signing him, but it is nice to dream.
SK in NJ - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 02:54 PM EDT (#349345) #
Otani can sign with any team he wants to and money (at least initially) is not going to be a factor. That leaves the decision entirely up to Otani because you can't throw hundreds of millions at him to change his mind. Like I said, I don't expect the Jays to get him, but they'll try. And if it requires a handshake seven year extension totaling nine figures, then that's the time the FO should open the vault, and I think they would. In that scenario you're not going to be dealing with someone in his decline, but rather someone who you will have under control for pretty much his entire prime (assuming good health, performance, etc). It's a no brainer. Those are the risks the Jays should be taking at this stage.

Again, I wouldn't hold my breath on this one. I honestly don't know what the Jays could offer him from a city/country/culture/organization standpoint that would convince him to bypass some of the bigger or more appealing US destinations (like Seattle, as mentioned). He'd have to really, really like the Toronto sales pitch.
hypobole - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 02:55 PM EDT (#349346) #
Yeah, the west coast teams probably have the advantage. My guess for our chances - slim to none.

And I recall when AA fired Ducey, he stated his plan was to concentrate all foreign scouting on Latin America, so I wouldn't categorize it as sleeping on that market, but deliberately ignoring it for the most part. Although I do seem to recall him personally scouting Darvish however.
hypobole - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 02:59 PM EDT (#349348) #
There will be no handshake on our part. If we get caught, like Boston did with their July 2 scam, we'll not only lose Otani, but face some pretty severe penalties as well.
PeterG - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 03:04 PM EDT (#349349) #
No comments on the Shapiro interview on Sportsnet? Part 2 .will be posted tomorrow.
Spifficus - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 03:20 PM EDT (#349350) #
Well, the handshake deal part would be for in a year's time (or maybe the all-star break). Considering the constant efforts of the Rays, Indians, and 28 other teams to lock their talent up early, signing an early deal can't be discarded on its face by MLB. The issue is the structure of the deal, and when it pays what. As long as it doesn't blow existing deals for pre-arb and arb out of the water and it's more of a "here's what we're looking to do long-term" as opposed to a signed document, everything should be ok. And given that the current ceiling on Control Year contracts is Trout, there should be plenty of headroom to get something worked out.

And I'd definitely be offering him the majority of the time in the OF if he wants it (and can handle it, of course). And significant DH time (same caveat, plus the required and desired dumping of Morales).

Of course, having him throw his first pitch, followed by a trip to the mound by the GM to ink a 7/$200 would be quite the bit of entertainment... That's not a strawman for your argument, but something I'd be genuinely entertained by now that I've thought of it.
PeterG - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 03:26 PM EDT (#349352) #
Remember that the jays are already linked to a 3 mil international signing for 2018.
Mike Green - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 03:35 PM EDT (#349354) #
Urena is very different from Lee.  Much more power potential, much weaker control of the strike zone.  The one common element is that Lee wasn't ready for major league ball really until age 23.  Urena turns 23 in 2019, and that's when (all going well) he might be ready in my view.  Start him in double A in 2018, let him succeed there for 2-3 months and if he does move him to triple A.   In 2016, Urena put up a nice line for Dunedin with a good combination of medium range pop and serviceable plate control.  He needs to do the same thing in New Hampshire and Buffalo.  If he succeeds though, he could be a fine shortstop for quite a few years.
jerjapan - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 03:37 PM EDT (#349355) #
I don't think the signing bonuses handed out thus far are going to be a factor in Otani's decision - a few million dollars are drops in a bucket for the guy. 

Thanks for the heads-up on the interview PeterG.  It sounds to me like standard Shapiro-speak, but it sure doesn't sound like we are going to extend JD.  Davidi asked him about the chances of  a resigning in a 'transitional' phase for the team, and Shapiro answered: "Fans recognize winning and not much else. Show me a case study that shows that fans will pay to come out to see individual players when in a losing environment. We need to build a winning team."

He's also way higher on Goins than most of us here on the Box - "a guy who at worst is a championship utility guy and at best, maybe an everyday guy, depending on the circumstance and the team around him. From a positional player standpoint, Iím just stating the obvious". 

Not sure who sees Goins as obviously a 'championship utility guy' at worst.  At worst he's a below replacement level guy, but interesting that the org is still a believer. 

Shi Davidi is a good journalist - he asked some tough questions, although Shapiro is too smooth to give anything away. 
Spifficus - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 03:39 PM EDT (#349356) #
That's true, but I think any Otani hope is based off of future earnings, allowances to hit, and other intangible factors, as opposed to maximizing the present day bid. If it were the latter, he could just hold off asking to be posted until he doesn't fall under the IFA signing rules. Having said that, they probably do need to have enough to be in the game, but I don't know where that floor is.
lexomatic - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 03:41 PM EDT (#349358) #
Thanks Magpie, that's really interesting about Lee. Maybe the Jays started the switch-hitting. Who knows at this point.
Gerry - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 03:51 PM EDT (#349363) #
Lets stick to baseball or, just like in school, it will be time for a time out.
PeterG - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 03:56 PM EDT (#349365) #
I didn't interpret the Shapiro remarks on JD in quite the same way. I feel that he leaves all options open including a trade. It is interesting to hear him say that the 2 parties may have already talked. As much as Shapiro will keep anything on this close to the vest, JD himself has not given any hints either.

Shapiro talks about a balanced approach. I feel Jays would be open to an off season deal if the offer was sufficient to give up a year of JD. To a great extent, the FO may not know what will happen and I think that is admitted.

I was also pleased that he said he was satisfied with the catching position as I am a fan of keeping Maile on as a backup. He does not seem to think a FA reliever is necessary. Maybe FO intends to keep Koehler. I think it is within the realm of possibility that he is offered arb.

If I got it right, from what he is saying, he thinks needs (depending on availability are:

1- starting pitching

2- back up infielder

3- corner outfielder
jerjapan - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 04:11 PM EDT (#349366) #
PeterG, I don't love Shapiro, but I do think he's a total pro - I'm sure he's talked with the JD camp, the Otani people - he's a professional through and through.  That said, I'd bet money we don't extend JD.  I think you nailed his priorities as well.  I keep banging the Cozart drum, but I think there's zero chance we spend big money on the middle IF, and the interview confirms that for me. 

Do you guys think we should be signing an OF?  Personally, I don't want another Zeke / Pearce in the fold. 

Dear administrators, I'm trying hard to keep my mouth shut here.  This 'hate speech' thing is an absolute insult to those that have actually suffered from hate speech. 



Nigel - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#349367) #
There is no question that Shapiro and Atkins give some off the funniest or insulting to your intelligence, depending on your point of view, interviews. Those comments about Goins are Example A. They do make much more sense though if you view them through the lens that they are intended to deflect criticism.
uglyone - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 04:37 PM EDT (#349368) #
i'm also trying my best to keep my mouth shut.

but not about parker's comments.

about shapiro's.
Spifficus - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 04:57 PM EDT (#349369) #
I can't shut my mouth while reading scouting reports on Otani from earlier in the year... and the drool is collecting on the floor.
jerjapan - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 05:07 PM EDT (#349370) #
Stoeten's take on Shapiro re: Osuna is that that Osuna needs to work on his conditioning.  That was an interesting nugget - is that a fair critique of Osuna? 

My least favourite tendency of Shapiro in the interview is when he implies that challenging questions come from a position of ignorance.  Nigel, you are spot on - so much of what he says is to deflect criticism.  That said, I don't really blame the guy - it's the job he has to do. 

Ugly, I'd love to hear your problems with the interview.   

Mike Green - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 05:13 PM EDT (#349371) #
The Yankee lineup tonight ends:

Holliday
Headley
Frazier
Frazier

Nice rhythm to it.  Maybe even good enough for a law firm name!

hypobole - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 05:13 PM EDT (#349372) #
How often are GM's/Presidents brutally honest about their players or any player? JPR badmouthing Adam Dunn?

PeterG - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 05:13 PM EDT (#349373) #
I think that Osuna and Biagini both need some off season work. Osuna needs to gain some strength in his legs. Biagini needs to lose some weight.
Spifficus - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 05:21 PM EDT (#349374) #
Those Yankees sure could use a different backup catcher. Bryan Holaday, perhaps.
scottt - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 05:57 PM EDT (#349375) #
I'd take Profar to replace Goins, but since we're likely keeping Goins we need a better bat.
Would Jose Reyes be good enough at 2B? He's 5 errors at 3B, but 0 ar 2B.

scottt - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 06:04 PM EDT (#349376) #
Shapiro's opinion of Ryan Goins is very different from those who bash him regularly on the box. Just sayin.

Shapiro speaks the language of diplomacy. Saying that Goins is a championship caliber backup is a fact.  He was on the team when they were winning playoff series. Saying that he might be a starter is damning with faint praise. He's probably not a starter.  We all know that.

The interesting part of that interview is he's looking for a corner outfielder and likely a backup infielder. Barney is a free agent. If Goins was good enough to start they wouldn't need  an infielder. He'd be talking about a backup catcher, a reliable starter or lefty reliever.
vw_fan17 - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 06:05 PM EDT (#349377) #
No comments on the Shapiro interview on Sportsnet? Part 2 .will be posted tomorrow.
My momma said something like "if you can't say anything good..."
Seriously - reading that transcript made me want to throw up a little in my mouth. In the sense that he really said NOTHING. Other than "we got it covered - trust me.". To every single question.

Why bother with interviews like this, when you just get platitudes + "we're working on that.". I learned nothing new. Ok, well, actually, I took it as a next-to-guarantee that JD won't be here long-term. He basically said "fans don't come to watch an interesting player - only to watch a winning team - (my reading between the lines: so why bother keeping JD?)".
It's really hard to get excited about next season, when the guy in charge of it makes drying paint seem interesting..

scottt - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 06:17 PM EDT (#349378) #
Cameron Maybin was mentioned, and that's probably realistic

Is it? They want a corner outfield who hits homeruns. That's what brings in the fans.

It's hard to know what the market will be for Vargas.

I expect the demand for pitching to be really high.
For example, the Orioles want to compete next year, so they need at least 2 decent starters.
PeterG - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 06:24 PM EDT (#349379) #
Another starting pitcher will be a challenge. That's why I think Anderson is still a possibility.

I think that in terms of infielders or OF, speed will an important quality.....player or players that add speed to the lineup when starting and pinch running capabilities when on the bench.
scottt - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 06:28 PM EDT (#349380) #
Shapiro will not see anything negative about one of his players. Knowing that, I don't think it's hard to read between the lines.

scottt - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 06:33 PM EDT (#349381) #
With Carrera as the 4th outfielder, it's not speed that's missing in the outfield, it's a 30 HR guy.
The infield could use more speed, though.

hypobole - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 06:45 PM EDT (#349382) #
I would hope they target some defence, especially after Atkins' comments earlier this year.
Spifficus - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 06:52 PM EDT (#349383) #
Speaking of defense, I haven't had a chance to watch many games this September. How have Hernandez and Urena looked? Especially Toescar.
PeterG - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 07:03 PM EDT (#349384) #
Defensively, Teoscar looks fine though his routes cold be better. He has better than average speed and arm. As far as offense goes, he has good power, but needs to improve pitch recognition. He chases too often but that is common among rookies. I think he can be a good major league OF but only that. Can he give us more than JBo did this tear? Yes..

I think the Jays are looking for speed and defense this off season more than home runs.
Nigel - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 07:29 PM EDT (#349385) #
Hyperbole, I agree completely that no GM's publicly bash their players. I don't expect that. I also have zero problems when Shapiro evades questions or goes into corporate marketing speak. That's absolutely part of his job and one he excels at. I either laugh or get insulted when he says things that he knows and most sophisticated fans know simply aren't true. Shapiro isn't a stupid man. I do not believe at all that he believes that Goins is a good player. Goins is on the roster because the team had budget restraints and the front office chose to spend their money elsewhere. That may or may not have been entirely defensible but it blew up in their face. Leaders deserve to be challenged on decisions that bow up in your face. There are some reasonable explanations about what happened in the middle infield this year, he should talk about those. Just dont try and imply that the question was stupid because Goins is really good and we're just too dumb to see that.
John Northey - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 09:39 PM EDT (#349393) #
Shapiro's interview strongly says to me that the plan is for Carerra and Pierce to share LF again with Goins as the #1 backup in the infield. That durability is something he is hunting for - so no more glass players no matter how good they are when healthy. I love the emphasis at the end on nutrition and training for prospects as I see that as the hidden way to improve an organization. Don't starve the kids to try to give them an incentive to get better, instead work them hard and provide the tools needed with the hundreds of millions potentially earned in the majors as their incentive.
John Northey - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 10:37 PM EDT (#349398) #
I'd say Estrada is happy to have that contract for next season in his pocket with that game today. 7 IP 1 R can't complain about that!

A Goins grand slam hit shortly after the hidden ball trick worked. Gotta love it.
scottt - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 10:47 PM EDT (#349399) #
Goins ... has deteriorated very quickly over the past 3 years, far faster than normal given he is in his age 29 season.

I don't think that's true. Just look at Barney. He was a rookie at 25, won a gold glove at 26 and by 29 was down to an average defender. His decline during those years was almost linear. Age related decline, especially in relation to defense starts around 25.
scottt - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 10:49 PM EDT (#349400) #
Pierce is the opposite of durability.
scottt - Friday, September 22 2017 @ 10:51 PM EDT (#349401) #
Most plays that Hernandez make look routine because he gets there before the ball.
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