By now, I reckon most executives, agents, and members of the media have arrived in Dallas for this week’s Winter Meetings, which promise to be as exciting as any in recent years, both for baseball, generally, and for the Chicago Cubs. Moves may happen – will Matt Garza be traded? with the Cubs pick up a third baseman in trade? a first baseman in free agency? – or we may just have to settle for a whole lot of “buzz.” For now, the buzz is all we got…

  • The Cubs may be interested in Hiroki Kuroda, who is coming off his best season with the Dodgers at age 36 (3.07 ERA and 1.213 WHIP in 202 innings, with a 121 ERA+). Phil Rogers says the Cubs tried to land him back in 2007, and, now that he’s available again – even with a new man in charge – they might make a run. Most assumed Kuroda would remain with the Dodgers, so he hasn’t been discussed too much. But, after the Dodgers inked Chris Capuano to a surprisingly large two-year, $10 million deal, Kuroda is suddenly very available. It’s not hard to see Kuroda getting a three-year, $30 million deal on this market (though he’d reportedly prefer a short, one or two year deal at $12 to $13 million per year). Seems a bit steep unless the Cubs are going on a free agent binge.
  • Rogers lists a couple other players in whom the Cubs might have interest – in addition to the already-known Chase Headley and already-whispered Daniel Murphy – including Indians third baseman Jack Hannahan and Orioles infielder Robert Andino. The former is an unproductive, decent defensive third baseman who doesn’t make much money but isn’t very attractive (and will be 32 next year), and the latter is unproductive, 27-year-old utility player. Pass, on both accounts.
  • Bruce Levine mentions Aaron Harang as a possible target for the Cubs, the first time his name has come up in more than a passing list. Harang, who turns 34 early next year, had what appeared to be a resurgent year last year – 3.64 ERA, 1.365 WHIP in 170.2 innings – but then you account for the place he pitched half his games (pitcher-friendly PetCo), and suddenly you’re looking at an old dude with a 98 ERA+, who hasn’t had an above average year since the B.D.B era (before Dusty Baker) back in 2007 with the Reds. Pass.
  • As I noted earlier today on Facebook and Twitter, a source tells me that, while the Cubs are open to moving Matt Garza, they won’t trade him for “anything less than a Greinke-type deal the Royals got last year.” Frankly, given the players’ respective success in their pre-trade year (Greinke had none, Garza had it in spades) and contract situations at the time (both had/have two years left on their deals, but Garza will be far cheaper), I’d think the Cubs should be able to do better. The Brewers got a decent young shortstop, a decent outfield prospect, and two decent pitching prospects, but it was far from a “whoa, that’s a ton” kind of deal. Speaking of Facebook and Twitter, you’ll find that, particularly in weeks like this one, where things are moving at light speed, I sometimes report things on Facebook and Twitter first, before doing a full write-up here. The reason should be obvious – speed. So, I know I say it a lot, but it’s for your own benefit: “like” BN on Facebook, and follow it on Twitter.
  • Ken Rosenthal briefly reported that Yu Darvish was going to be posted (i.e., made available for bidding) after the Winter Meetings, before modifying the report to say something closer to what we already believed – namely, that Darvish is “likely” to be posted after the Meetings, but no one knows quite when. Rosenthal says Darvish’s divorce, however, is not the holdup, and suggests it could instead be a dispute between Darvish and his team about how high the posting bid must be for his team to accept (note that Darvish doesn’t get any of that money, but Rosenthal says it’s a matter of pride for Darvish that his posting fee exceed that of prior Japanese import, Daisuke Matsuzaka ($51 million)). The Cubs are listed as a possible Darvish suitor.
  • The Marlins have reportedly offered Jose Reyes six years and $111 million. There is a 0.01% chance he does not accept it. Coincidently, that’s the same percentage chance the Marlins don’t come to regret the contract, or dump it on another team after a year or two, once they’ve pulled off this charade.
  • The Blue Jays seem to be happy to let the world know that they have a surplus of excellent prospects they can deal for an arm. The Cubs have a couple valuable arms they could move – Garza, and Carlos Marmol – and, what do you know, they wouldn’t mind adding some prospects. Have your people call my people.
  • With Heath Bell off to Miami, the Padres are in the market for a closer, considering, among others, Andrew Bailey from the A’s. Do I really have to say it? The Cubs have a movable piece in Carlos Marmol, the Padres have a third baseman the Cubs covet … toss in some cash and a prospect, together with Marmol, and I think the Padres might make that swap.
  • A Cleveland radio station says Prince Fielder has narrowed the teams to which he’d be willing to go to the Blue Jays, Rangers, and Brewers. The Cleveland radio station cites “reports” as having said that. I’ve seen no such reports, and, in case I haven’t emphasized it enough: this comes from a Cleveland radio station. Why they’d have the scoop, I couldn’t tell you. For that reason, I say: bogus. This will happen frequently this time of year.
  • Jerry Crasnick has a long writeup on Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes, who should achieve free agent status any day now. The Cubs, among many, many teams, are interested in the 26-year-old outfielder, and have scouted him in the Dominican Republic.
  • Mark Buehrle has at least three three-year offers, two from NL teams, but he’s holding out for a no-trade clause, which has yet to be offered.
  • Serio

    Brett your going to be busy this week

    • Brett

      Yup. Which is, I suppose, a good thing.

  • hcs

    Any idea what the Mets might be asking for Murphy? Potentially interesting corner infileder, might be worth a look.

    • Brett

      Not sure what they’re desires are, but he’s got a fair bit of value – very versatile, not up for arbitration until 2013, good numbers last year.

  • Spencer

    What about Marmol for Headley straight up?

    • Brett

      I’d gladly do it, but that wouldn’t save the Pads any money, and wouldn’t really improve their team. Can’t see them doing it without a prospect or cash.

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    Marmol +prospect+cash for Chase Headley seems steep to me.

    I think Marmol+cash=Headley for me

    Edit: Well I just looked at Headley’s stats and even the deal I suggested sounds steep, Maybe they should give the Cubs a prospect!

    • Spencer

      agreed :)

    • Anonymous47701

      You Got My Vote.

  • Larry


    I lot has been said about the Cubs signing Fielder to play first. If Fielder signs elsewhere, what 1st basemen might the Cubs look for in the trade market?

    • Brett

      There are a number of lesser options – Pena returning, Kotchman, LaHair (tee hee) – on the free agent market/internally. The trade angle is tricky, because there aren’t any widely rumored options out there – but that’s not to say they don’t exist. We just don’t yet know who they are. I tend to think, if it isn’t Fielder (or Pena or Kotchman), the Cubs will land a young-ish, non-stud first baseman who doesn’t have a starting spot on another team.

      • Mike Cantonwine

        What does “tee hee” mean when you mention LaHair? I know his defense is spotty but given a full offensive season, I think he could shine. If we don’t land Fielder or Pujols, I hope he gets the job.

        • NyN

          I think he is the second coming of Micah Hoffpauir (tee hee)

          • Lou

            Agreed. He’s 30?? and never played a full season in the bigs….a lot to ask of your no 4 hitter.

          • Kyle

            I like Julio Zuleta better as a comp.

            • JulioZuleta

              Whoa…whoa, he’s got a ways to go before he is mentioned in the same breath as me.

          • Mike Cantonwine

            The difference is the numbers and the opportunities. Hauffpauir and company had their chances. LaHair did well when he played at the end of the year last year. I would like to see what he can do for a season. He would also have Jaramillo in his corner. He would be a cheap option which I would prefer over a mediocre 1B that will cost millions. All this is for nothing if we sin Pujols or Fielder.

  • Oswego Chris

    Headley is one of the best defensive 3B in all of baseball….and hitting in Petco kills offensive numbers….he is 27….I would do marmol for him in a heartbeat….

    • Brett

      And, given his contract (three more arb years), I’d gladly give up Marmol and a prospect.

      • Cheryl

        And from what I’ve heard of Headley, he does well under pressure.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      Maybe I’m just a cheap Bastard. Haha

      I guess Jed would know better than me though Probably why hes the GM and I’m a fan.


    • MoneyBoy

      Oswego … it’s not my money … but after looking at Baseball Reference … I’m with you.  And yes, given the market for closers (Bell, 34, $27mm, 3 yrs   Papelbon, 31, $50mm, 4 yrs   Nathan, 37, $7mm, 2 yrs) the Pads oughtta throw in a prospect … unless there’s a wink and nod “agreement” about Hoyer/McLeod.


  • T C

    Soooo, the winter meetings have a logo. wut? also, what is that thing?

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      It’s an Armadillo there pretty cool.

      They curl up in a ball when a car is coming at them(or just scared or something is trying to eat them), and there shell is almost bulletproof.

      • T C

        huh, cool stuff. the more you know

  • MightyBear

    I’m not as big on Headley as the rest of you. He’s great defensively which the Cubs need and petco is a pitchers park but he swings through the ball too much, doesn’t walk very much and has no power. I’d like to see the Cubs do better or use what they have and trade Marmol for starting pitching.

    • Larry

      I couldn’t agree more. The Cubs have a potential elite closer, if they are going to trade him, they need to see what kind of arms they can get for him.

      • Brett

        I’m sure they’ll shop. Maybe I overestimate Headley’s value, but I think he’s worth quite a bit more than Marmol, particularly to the Cubs.

      • Lou

        I don’t think Marmol’s the “elite” closer that you think he is….that’s Papelbon and he definitely got his money this offseason.

    • JK

      This is my thoughts as well. But I know if we do trade for him Jed is fully vetted on Headley.

    • MrCub73

      I don’t see Headley being this huge asset that the Cubs just have to have. Maybe it’s Petco, but he does not do that much better on the road. In no way is Headley an average offensive 3rd baseman. I know others will disagree, but I don’t see his numbers being that much or any better than what Blake Dewitt’s could be with 550 AB’s at 3rd. Headley may be a lot better defensively, but his numbers are pretty pathetic for a 3rd baseman.

  • cubsklm

    That would be an armadillo.

    A brief moment of silence before the trade market begins.
    Good luck Theo and Jed we’re all counting on you.

    I want about 4 deals for young talent and one free agent SP signing.
    Also, hopefully we can dump either Z or Soriano, or both.

  • JasonB

    Per Ken Rosenthal on MLBN, Reyes has reportedly accepted the Marlin’s 6 / 111 offer.

    Edit: Scratch that – it’s reported that they’re “close” but not done yet.

    • EtotheR

      Supposedly the Marlins will listen to offers for Hanley. Any interest in taking him on to play 3B?

      Apparently…a lot of Marlins management thought he was already too big to play SS last year.

      • Brett

        Maybe. But I suspect they discussed a position move with him first.

      • JasonB

        From the looks of it, UZR agrees with them.

        Hanley has taken a step back in his development definitely – not hitting for as much power, hitting more ground balls.  Looks like his plate discipline has left him and he’s becoming more of a free swinger – he is swinging at more pitches outside the zone and is even swinging at more in the zone, which means that he could be chasing after more pitcher’s pitches.  I definitely wouldn’t value him as a 7 WAR player anymore if I did trade for him.

    • Brett

      Just crazy.

      • JasonB

        I agree with you but I heard 6/100 kicked around so it doesn’t surprise me.  No way I’d sign him to that contract.

      • EtotheR

        Did you just call me “crazy”?

        I’m not saying you’re wrong…I’m just looking for a ruling.

    • Ol’CharlieBrown

      “The Miami Marlins and free-agent shortstop Jose Reyes have agreed on a six-year, $106 million deal pending a physical, according to major league sources. Those sources indicate that the deal does not include a no-trade clause.”

      It now sounds like Reyes and Marlins have agreed on a 6-year, $106 million deal pending a physical. Apparently it does not include a no-trade clause.

      Who knows if he’ll even pass the physical. Seems he’s often got something wrong with him..

  • curt

    these contracts i see being floated around are financial chicken no way reyes will finish tht contract healthy but even though its stupid somebody wont be able 2 resist and hell get his cash

  • Mike F

    I find it interesting. With Darvish you would have to pay the posting fee, 55-60 million and then sign him. On top of that, you then have an estimate of 70 Million in salary. So you end up with a 120 M ticket for a talented guy that has never thrown a pitch in the ML. Cespedes is some of the same. Frankly, when you’re talking about that kind of money for Japanese pitcher who could have acclimation issues among others, I’d far rather take MB for less dollars and 3 years and give him the no trade clause.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      Yeah that posting fee is just ridiculous that makes me not even want the Cubs to look his way.

      • Rancelot

        I for one disagree.  I understand that the history of dipping into the Far Eastern market has been a mixed bag but Yu Darvish is 25 years old, has dominated the Japanese League and still is growing into his body which is prototypical by MLB standards.  Listen, these are the rules and unfortunately you have to pony up and pay the Japanese posting team an exorbitant amount of money for something you aren’t quite sure will be successful in the US.  But aren’t all Free Agent signings and trades a gamble?  How has the trade for Jake Peavy worked out for the White Sox.  I for one was disappointed when the Cubs couldn’t seal the deal with the Padres for the Cy Young award winner and he has been a huge bust on the southside.  I will say this, I would rather spend $100 million on Yu Darvish than on CJ Wilson.  Every deal should be judged on its own merit…so erase the thoughts of Kei Igawa, Hideki Irabu, and even Kosuke Fukudome (who in my opinion was the victim of unrealistic expectations) and bring me the arm of Yu Darvish!!!

  • cubbieroninbelleville

    Problem with the Japanese pitchers is they are used to pitching on 6 and sometimes 7 days rest. Huge adjustment to American baseball for their starters. Lot of money to risk.

    • MoneyBoy

      YES !!!!!

    • Lou

      Yep and with that posting fee…not so sure. I’d rather have a pitcher obtained through a Garza trade.

    • Patrick

      The posting fee won’t really affect the Cubs as much as you guys are thinking, even though they aren’t the best team in the league, they rake in plenty of money, the posting fee is just money out of their pocket, it doesn’t count with the salary cap, if I’m not mistaken.

  • Deer

    his posting fee alone may get you Cespedes. Make him a big offer if he’s the real deal.

  • Lou Cub

    I wouldn’t be against Headly, but if we trade Garza to the Rangers and Olt came back i’d prefer it him as part of a package

  • Trey

    What are the chances that the Cubs get Hanley now that the Marlins signed Reyes

    • MoneyBoy

      If you and the rest are referring to Hanley Ramirez … OH MY GOD … a head case with an attitude of entitlement … NO    NOOOOO    NOOOOOOOOO   we’ve had Jones, Bradley, Zambrano … no more.

    • Lou

      Well given the fact that you’d have to move him to a position other than SS, something he doesn’t appear to be too happy about, NO! Sign Cepedes, especially if there’s talk of Ramirez moving to CF.

  • Morgan

    Whats up with theo and japenese pitchers, there has never been a good japenese pitcher, decent but never good one

  • die hard

    Toronto needs a closer, 2B and starter…they have great prospects listed below…so, how about trade?

    Marmol, Barney and Garza to Toronto for 9 top prospect players from below list

    C Travis d’Arnaud, CF Anthony Gose, RHP Deck McGuire, OF Jake Marisnick, RHP Drew Hutchison, C Carlos Perez, RHP Aaron Sanchez, SS Adeiny Hechavarria, RHP Asher Wojciechowski, RHP Nestor Molina, LHP Justin Nicolino, and 1B Michael McDade.

    • JK

      DH – I know nothing about the prospects but the only guy I would miss would be Garza and for that haul hopefully 3 to 4 pan out.

    • Brett

      I’m sure the Cubs and Jays have talked about scenarios, though it’s really hard to find a match with that many pieces involved – valuation gets tough.

  • JasonB

    Apparently, Kenny is playing make believe GM again:

    In a deal for John Danks, the White Sox told the Yankees that they want Manny Banuelos and Jesus Montero from the Yankees, tweets Jon Heyman of SI.  Heyman writes that the Sox are obviously not serious about dealing Danks just yet.

    If Danks is worth Banuelos and Montero, we should ask for Betances and Sanchez in addition to them for Garza.

  • MightyBear

    I can’t keep up with the posts but I would like to see the cubs go after darvish. Unlike position players, it is easier to gage japanes pitching by simpler statistics. Darvish throws 90-95 mph fastball and has a good curve, slider changeup and even a screwball (but he doesnt throw it as much anymore cause they were worried about his arm. He also has pretty good command (doesn’t walk alot of guys) and as mentioned is 25. Again, I have no concrete information on this but I read the yankees, red sox and even the cubs were able to get some revenue from japan to offset the japanese player deals. I read that Dice K didn’t cost the red sox as near as much due to japanese revenue and red sox merchandise in japan. I’m still trying to get info on this.

    • cubs4life

      but how much are you willing to gamble that your gonna get a number 1 or 2 pitcher out of signing darvish? history shows that japanese pitchers that come to the states dont tend to adjust well to mlb batters. you get one good year out of them, then major league hitting figures them out.. idk. signing darvish just seems likes too much of a gamble with as many holes as we have, to spend that much money on an crap shoot just doesnt seem wise.

      • Patrick

        But thats the whole thing, this guy does have the potential to be a #1 or #2 starter, these caliber of guys don’t come around very often, and this is one that doesn’t have to sit in the farm system for 5 years being risked traded/not developing right. The Cubs have more money than everyone thinks it seems, he IS most definitely expensive but I think well worth the risk, especially if we’ve found ourselves out of the Pujols/Fielder running(or if that was ever a real option before)

  • Lou Cub

    Brett, I was reading on the twitter site between you and Hot stove Cubbies…is that potential deal of Colvin, Lake and Carpenter for Headly and Kyle Blanks something you can see happening? I’d hate to lose Lake but Headley and Blanks would be awesome (and young )…It would also allow the Cubs to move Marmol in a seperate deal for some starting pitching.

    • T C

      Holy tits that would be incredible!!! I would pull the trigger on that almost immediately if presented to me. Lake has serious holes, same with colvin, and carpenter is a closer prospect. Blanks should be very good, and headly will mash away from petco

      • Lou Cub

        In a friggin heartbeat!!! Lets just see what Brett says about it!!! If it’s just bs or for real…Since Boston isn’t likely to deal with the Cubs i’d expect some trades with the Pads due to McLeod and Hoyer no doubt.

        • T C

          Id expect trades with pretty much anyone, to be honest. I dont think cherington will let some (in my mind, nonexistent grudge) keep him from dealing with theo

          • Lou Cub

            TC, the thing is it’s not Ben Cherignton,,,It’s Lucchino and Henry!! Do you really think Ben wanted Bobby V..seriously??

            • T C

              obviously he didnt, but i think the owners trust Cherington enough to not micromanage smaller deals. Mega contracts, or big deals, they’ll (stupidly) step in, but otherwise i do believe hes got power

    • Brett

      Yeah, that was just a back and forth – I do not expect the Cubs to be able to get Headley and Blanks for Colvin, Lake and Carpenter. Frankly, I’m not sure I understand why the Padres would want Colvin in the first place.

  • Lou Cub

    It’s easy to see a deal between the Cubs and Pads happening..I hope the news comes like crazy later on today..Starting with hopefully great news on Santo recieving his due!!!

  • Dumpman

    I doubt we’d get those 2 for that package. I say that because If I were Byrnes, I’d ask for Brett Jackson, Vitters, D.J LeMahieu and Randy Wells.

    Headley should cost at least Vitters, Carpenter +. Add in Blanks who’s young and has a ton of upside.. we cant just steal those two. Man would I LOVE those two though.

  • ReiCow

    “Frankly, given the players’ respective success in their pre-trade year (Greinke had none, Garza had it in spades) and contract situations at the time (both had/have two years left on their deals, but Garza will be far cheaper), I’d think the Cubs should be able to do better.” This completely ignores that Grienke the year before had a monster year and was a Cy young. If you take the two years before he was traded, and Garza’s last two.. he blows Garza out of the water:

    2009 2.16 205 1.073 242 16 8 9.0
    2010 4,17 100 1.245 181 10 14 2.3

    2010 3.91 100 1.251 150 15 10 2.0
    2011 3.32 118 1.258 197 10 10 2.9

    So, in the year before being traded, Garza had a better ERA+ by 18 and WAR by 0.6.. while the year previous he was -105 and – 7.. large differences there.

    If we look at the 4 years before being traded for ZG and before this offseason for MG, ZG averages a WAR of 4.55 and ERA+ of 178 while MG averages a WAR of 2.98 and ERA+ of 112. ZG was significantly better on those two scales.

    I really like Garza, but he is not better than Grienke and not more appealing to a trade suitor outside of salary. The biggest help to a better than Grienke haul would be this year’s thin Starting Pitching market, not anything performance related.


    • Brett

      That’s all fair, but let’s be clear about Greinke: he’s a guy who had one amazing year, and then a whole lot of average-to-slightly-above-average years. He’s never consistently been an ace (nor has Garza, obviously), and his 2011 season was more evidence of that (102 ERA+ after a 100 ERA+ in 2010). I’m not quite ready to call him average, but I sure know which pitcher I’d rather have in 2012.

      • ReiCow

        Well, if you take the same 4 year time period I have above and remove each pitcher’s best season, ZG has a WAR of 3.07 and a ERA+ is 117, while Garza has a 2.7 WAR and 109. Grienke isn’t chopped liver here, he was still better than Garza at trade time, even ignoring having a CY Young season. ZG had a crappy year last year after breaking his ribs, yes.. but that is revisionist history regarding trade value.

        I like Garza, I’m just saying we may have to temper our expectations on his trade value, when comparing him to a Cy Young who at the time of trade was a better pitcher even outside of the Cy.

        • hansman1982

          Garza is also a pitcher who is improving each year and is a guy you wouldn’t mind having on the mound for a game 7, there is the issue with some Zambrano-itis but the way he handled this past year with being on a crap-tacular team shows a lot of mental growth. 

          Greinke has NOT been getting better and has battled mental issues in the past as well.  He also posted the same number of wins as Garza on a playoff bound team.

          As of today, I would much rather sign Garza to a 7-year deal than Greinke because I think Garza will be one of the top pitchers in all of baseball in 3-4 years.  There is a reason Maddux and now Theo were/are so high on the guy.

          • ReiCow

            Garza hasn’t really been getting better.. he’s been staying pat.. his past 4 WAR’s are: 3.2, 3.8, 2.0, 2.9 and his past 4 ERA+s: 119, 110, 100, 118…
            His era got a nice dip last year, but that was a result of his league / division switch (as evidences by his ERA+)… Heck, last year, Grienke had a 2.59 ERA in the second half of the season, just his first half (when he was coming off broken ribs) was terrible.

            As for wins, you are mistaken.. ZG went 16-6 last year.. he had 10 wins in his final year in KC.. the opposite of a playoff bound team.

            I will concede the mental issue.. but 16-6 on an injury shortened and affected (for the first half) year, you’d love. He may not be so great in the postseason.. but he can actually get you there (unlike some offensive player who put up large numbers in meaningless spots).

        • Brett

          Again, you’re making very fair points … but I have to say, taking out each’s best season doesn’t really help, because Greinke’s best was two years before he was traded, whereas Garza’s would be the immediately preceding year. Recency matters. And Greinke’s 2011 is making me feel justified in making this argument, even if it’s all ex-post-facto-whatever.

          • ReiCow

            Last year isn’t Garza’s best year by WAR nor ERA+ (nor the combination). By WAR, his best year was 2009.. by ERA+ (and the combo) his best year was 2008. Last year he was good, effectively tying his best ERA+ (118 vs 119), and with a good WAR 2.9 (his best is 3.8), but not his best… last year was factored into the numbers above.

            As for Greinke’s 2011.. after he got over broken ribs.. he was astonishingly good. Post AS game: 9-3, 102Ks, 2.59ERA, 1.16WHIP.. I’d take that in a heartbeat. One could argue he was returning to his Cy Young form. This doesn’t really address the matter at hand, though, which is Garza expectations compared to Greinke’s at the time of trade.

            • Brett

              Never make a statistically-based point without first re-checking the data… My mistake on Garza’s best year.

  • http://bleachernation ferris

    add edwin jackson and burle or kuroda…….deal big z away along with marmol and lehair and cash to tor. for bautista……sori for dunn??? might be our solution at 1b

  • Frank

    Thought I’d never say this, but keep Big Z. Fit him with a ball cap that has lobotomy electrodes and give the manager the remote. If he starts having a meltdown, hit him with a jolt to bring him back down to earth. LeHair at first saves money to spend on pitching.

  • nonesuch

    FWIW, Washington Post report says Nationals are not likely looking at adding Fielder.

  • ricosanto

    Garza is worth more than Danks easily. The padres want prospects not Marmol. Probably Vitters and another good prospect. I would not trade Carpenter.He could be a closer candidate after Trading Marmol.Package Marmol with Byrd or Soriano( For little money) to Yanks or Bosox.

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