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With Friday’s signing deadline on the horizon, the Chicago Cubs have finally signed first round pick, high school outfielder Albert Almora. The 18-year-old was considered one of the most polished high schoolers in the Draft, to say nothing of his upside. The Cubs were infatuated with him from the word go, so his signing – even after all of that “college” talk – is no surprise.

Almora gets $3.9 million, way over the $3.25 million slot for the sixth overall pick. That means the Cubs have spent their entire bonus pool, PLUS have gone over by almost 5%. That’s the max they can spend without losing a future first round draft pick, and you can be sure that agent Scott Boras knew where every dollar was going before Almora signed.

According to Jim Callis, the Cubs can over spend by about another $22,000 without losing a pick, but that isn’t a whole lot to play with. The Cubs can offer guys selected after the 10th round $100K before it counts against the pool, so there still might be a few more signings before Friday’s deadline. But you won’t see any huge, overslot deals from here on out.

Almora instantly becomes one of the Cubs’ top three or four prospects, and he’ll probably start out in Arizona for a bit, before being assigned to a higher level – likely Boise, or maybe even Peoria, given his polish.

The deal probably won’t be officially announced until later in the week.

(I’ve been saving that Almora picture, which looks like a rainforest exploding off of his bat and all around him, for this day.)

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    The 2012 draft was not as impressive as the 2011 draft, but given the CBA restrictions I am very happy with how it played out.

    • hansman1982

      I know I have asked this before but I am too lazy to read through the BN archives to find your response, my apologies for my laziness.

      Have the Cubs been able to sign all of their top-10 round picks in recent history?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        The answer’s gotta be no.

        But, keep in mind, the incentive to MAKE SURE you draft signable guys in the top 10 rounds this year was QUITE strong, compared to years past.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          Definitely no. The Cubs failed to sign at least one Top 10 guy in each of the last two drafts, I’m sure. Beyond that I’d have to go look, but I suspect that the pattern would hold.

          As Brett mentioned, though, the new CBA rules changed the thinking profoundly this year. I doubt anyone was taken by the Cubs in the first ten rounds without the Cubs being nearly certain they’d sign for a price the Cubs were content with.

      • Cedlandrum

        Last year they didn’t sign Taylor Dugas who was an eighth round pick.

        • Cedlandrum

          In 2010 they didn’t sign Ivan DeJesus Jr. who was a 6th rounder before that it was a few years.

    • djriz

      Of course, time will tell, but I like the fact we got us some BIG arms this year.

  • Nick

    I’d love to see him in Peoria…..still need to get out and see Baez play, too!!

  • http://bleachernation loyal100more

    this signing is making me dizzy… kind of like the pic does if you look at it to long!

    • rocky8263

      “this signing is making me dizzy… kind of like the pic does if you look at it to long!” This is one of those pictures where when you stare at it long enough you see a World Series ring.

      • http://bleachernation loyal100more

        or almora is like a hit of LSD

  • Mrp

    WTB Almora and Soler at Peoria by July 21st so I can see them in South Bend!!! I know I know, ain’t happening.

    • djriz

      Hold out hope for Soler. That could happen.

    • Austin

      Same here, I live over in Niles, I will be attempting to get out to the Cove for a game or 2 when they are in town.

  • http://bleachernation loyal100more

    i think almora goes to boise and joins vogalbach in that line up… if indeed he is that polished at the plate

    • Mrp

      Vogelbach is still in Arizona so unless he gets bumped up soon. I doubt it though as they are probably going to give Rock Shoulders some more time at Boise and I doubt that they will have both he and Vog there at the same time.

      • http://bleachernation loyal100more

        thats right… vogelbach is trimming down in the arizona sunshine still…

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    HOOOORRRAYYYY! We can stop the “should we worry about signing Almora” comments!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Shelby will be so happy.

      • Segal27

        When will the 2012 Chicago Cubs sign Rhett Wiseman from the 2012 First Year Player Draft?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          :)

  • JB88

    I’m glad he is signed, but highly disappointed that the Cubs haven’t/won’t be able to sign any of their other overslot candidates.

    I hope (but doubt) Almora ends up being worth what another underslot first, a Wiseman, and a Hickman would have been potentially worth …

  • Ben

    I am pretty disappointed with the amount as well, but I am very happy to have him in the fold. These things are what make Boras the #1 agent in the game

  • hardtop

    “– likely Boise, or maybe even Peoria, given his polish.”

    i had no idea speaking polish could catapult your through them minor leagues. i wish i would have known this coming out of high school, my polish was impeccable. i was a mediocre baseball player, but, with conversational polish, i could have taken a shot at the bigs!

    welcome to the cubs albert almorski, niech cię Bóg błogosławi

    • JB88

      The word “Polish” is the only word in the English language that is pronounced differently depending on its capitalization. I’d be quite interested to know what “conventional polish” is … ;)

      • hardtop

        yeah man, I know, im Polish (although, truthfully, only know how to swear in my native tongue). brett knows im not criticizing his writing: its very clearly written and understandable… its just funny to me if you read it the other way.

        “conventional poilsh”? i had written “conversational polish” as in Polish… is that what you are referring to?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I knew you were being humorous.

        • JB88

          Oops, read it as “conventional” but see you wrote “conversational” … though a definition on either of the non-capitalized “polish” would be entertaining.

  • http://defeatingboredom.wordpress.com Rob

    Luke and/or Brett, what’s the word on Almora’s power? I’ve heard (with large grains of salt) the Adam Jones comparisons, but is that 2012 Jones or his past production? 20-per-year upside?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      20 HR probably isn’t a bad expectation for him, though it might be a touch on the conservative side. We’ll get a better idea when he gets into games.

      • MightyBear

        How about when he’s 25 when most players power begins to develop. That’s 7 years from now.

        • http://defeatingboredom.wordpress.com Rob

          You, sir, are no fun. How DARE you take a balanced approach to a prospect?! However, you are entirely correct. I should rephrase: What are scouts projecting for his power?

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      From Jim Callis, http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/draft/2012/07/cubs-almora-agree-on-3-9-million/

      “He could develop into a .300 hitter with 20 homers per season.”

      • JB88

        His ceiling sounds a lot like Bernie Williams …

        • Grant

          Sounds like Castro in the outfield.

  • Kyle

    I don’t mind the better-than-slot money because I think he’s a better-than-slot player. And now we don’t have to hear any more about that stupid Vanderbilt outfielder.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      Ha
      But I think we’ll still hear about him until after the deadline.

  • Ben

    I love that I hear of Almora signing and then 5 minutes later Baez goes deep! makes for a solid Cubs afternoon

  • Richard Nose

    I wish I had a picture of myself inside an exploding rainforest.

  • art

    great, started to worry a little.

  • http://bleachernation.com lou brock lives

    Is anyone in Arizona noticing Vogelbach’s body changing – weight loss & distribution ? I’m guessing Cub brass wants to keep a very close eye on this kid from a nutritional & exercise viewpoint. I’ll bet he stays in Arizona as they have him form some positive daily habits in that hot weather. They should try to get him down to around 225 on that 6′ frame he has. Maybe even try him some in LF considering Rizzo’s success at 1B.

    • Cedlandrum

      too young to worry about Vogelbach’s position. He isn’t going to be in the majors anytime soon.

  • Assman22

    Can pretty much give up on the prayer of signing Hickman now, oh well. Cubs got their man and were able to sign an inordinate amount of their prospects, nice job guys!

    • Njriv

      Sorry Assman, but I cannot remember if you were the one to report something about a deal for Dempster to the Dodgers was in the works and all the Dodgers wanted to see was him throw 75 pitches/5 innings? I can’t remember if it was you or not but how is that shaping? Since you happen to have been spot on with these early reportings.

      • Assman22

        Wasn’t me, but I could def see Dempster with the Dodgers. They were willing to give up Gould for 3 months of Carlos Lee, so I’d say they’d be more than willing to do Gould+ for 3 months of Dempster. Add in LaHair and you MIGHT be able to land Lee and Gould in a coup.

        All the right GM’s you want to trade with are buyers too btw: Colletti, Sabean, Daniels, and Dombrowski….

  • EvenBetterNewV2.0

    It is weird because it is almost like the FO did Boras a favor. If Almora doesn’t sign let alone get the full 5% above slot this year with the new CBA would have looked bad on Boras given the Appel situation. I truly think the FO did this as a favor. It is almost like a remember this when you have a free agent. Part of his allure is to get top talent on the way in. It was known the CBA would affect him more than anyone. I think the FO threw him a bone on this one. Maybe that is the conspiracy theorist in me, but we will see.

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      If Almora didn’t sign, he instantly becomes 2013’s #1 overall favorite with the chance to get a lot more than $3.9M.

      • Matty Ice

        Someone doesn’t know how the rules about college and baseball work.

        • Rynorooter

          He could have switched his college commit to a JuCo and been back into the draft next year.

        • MaxM1908

          I’ve always been confused about the rules myself. I was arguing with a friend about this very point. He was saying that the prospect could re-enter the draft at any time, but I was convinced that it was three years if he didn’t sign. What I didn’t know was whether that was dependent on the round he was drafted in or whether or not he went to college. Could someone clarify? (My apologies if this has been discussed ad naseum in the past.)

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            It’s three years, unless you go to a JuCo and then re-enter after a year. Some kids take that route, but most high schoolers are already committed to a big-time four-year program by Draft time.

            • Noah

              Those commits can always be broken, though.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                Not to go to a JuCo, I don’t believe (very much open to correction if I’m wrong).

      • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

        He would not have switched out of his commit to Miami to go to Juco for the “chance” to improve on his 6th pick in the draft slot. Never in a million years would he have taken that gamble. He would not have become the overwhelming favorite to become the number 1 just because he went back in.

  • CubFanInNebraska

    Who’s this Rizzo at 1B that you speak of?

  • Ian

    This was predictable. Going nearly down to the wire and signing for the maximum the Cubs could pay was a virtual given from the moment he was drafted. And it should go without saying, I really, really dislike the new rules.

  • cjdubbya

    I’m confused – thought no one could announce signings/trades during the ASG break? Or does this not technically count yet since the Derby’s not til tonight?

    • Spriggs

      Could be wrong, but don’t think it’s official and won’t be officially announced until after his physical. That won’t happen until after the AS blackout

      • Mitch

        almora is retweeting everyone welcoming him to the cubs, so I am guessing its accurate. Cubs just probably can’t say anything yet. Similar to the soler situation.

      • hansman1982

        Jim Callis tweeted the signing – its as good as done – probably officially announced on Wednesday by the Cubs.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Exactly.

  • Spriggs

    I don’t see any significant body changes this year for Vogelbach. I think his stay in AZ has much more to do with his pitiful performance in EXST. Hitting and fielding were both inexplicably atrocious (afraid he will always be a little suspect with the glove). Right now, he’s cranking and his confidence is way up. Really swinging well and can’t see any point in keeping him down here much longer (unless like you suggest, it’s more conditioning – related).

  • Spencer

    I am happy for Shelby.

  • cubsin

    I think the front office has done a fine job in player procurement this year. They locked up Almora and Soler, then starting drafting high upside pitchers. They signed all of their top 20 picks (rounds 1-18 plus the two supplemental picks). I’m hoping they’ve got enough money left to sign LHP Luiz Gohara after he turns 16 on July 31.

    • Ian

      I thought Gohara was all but a lock to go to the Mariners? It’d be nice if Theo & Jed could steal him away.

  • Ez

    Got a chance to see Baez yesterday in cedar rapids. Very smooth fielder with an effortless arm and I love the Gary Sheffield comparisons at the plate. Serious bat speed and doesn’t get cheated our of swings. Carries himself like a confident ballplayer at all times. Was fun to see him play!

    • Spriggs

      Besides his amazing (and I do mean amazing) swing, that is the thing that jumps out at me when I watched him play – the confidence he exudes. He’s the f’n boss out there and there isn’t anyone better.

    • Luke D

      He’s been striking out at a high rate though, Baez?

      34 games, 30 K’s.

      • Drew7

        30 K’s in 136 PA’s = 22%. Even ignoring the small sample size – with his power, there’s nothing to be alarmed about there.

        • Luke D

          K thanks

  • http://bleachernation.com #1lahairfan

    Maybe we can still scrap up some money for Paul Hickman watch him be a first rounder in a couple years? How much will he cost.

  • Kbreezy

    I would LOVE if someone could help me in understanding this:

    Why are the Nationals the only team that seems to rush their draft picks? Obviously Stras has been good (so far) and Harper has been acceptable (again, so far) but why rush them to the show when they could let them get a little seasoning at AA or AAA? I mean it’s like the Cubs calling up Almora to play center next year. It’s just weird to me…

    • Spriggs

      Keep in mind that Strasberg and Harper are different – bad examples. These are MEGA-SUPER-prospects (like Trout) – that don’t come along too often. They aren’t your normal top prospect types.

    • Cedlandrum

      I can’t tell if you are being for real or not.

      Strasburg and Harper are very, very good talents. It didn’t make much sense for them to be in the minors much longer. It was similar to the Castro situation. He still had plenty to work on but there were skills that made him ready now. so why not.

      • Noah

        Yeah, Strasburg was probably the best pitching prospect since Mark Prior and Harper might have been the best hitting prospect since A-Rod. They were able to move so fast because they were very, very special.

    • Derrick

      Harper and Stras were once in a lifetime talent who didn’t need much seasoning. Almora is not in that Class sorry.

    • Kbreezy

      Sorry if it came off as me playing stupid….But I guess I just feel that prospects should have to prove themselves at the minor league level. I don’t follow the Nationals closely at all (as you can see) so I don’t know if they went through AA or AAA. And based on their numbers I can see why they were called up quickly, but I still think Harper should have spent more time in the minors. Just my personal opinion though.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        The point of miLB is not to “prove yourself” for the sake of doing so. The point of miLB is to keep players who are not yet ready for MLB. If a guy is ready for MLB now, then he should be in MLB now. And Harper is quite ready now.

      • Quintz

        That would be like insisting that LeBron play a couple of seasons of D-League ball.

    • Kbreezy

      Ok, sorry, didn’t realize I’d catch so much heat for asking a question.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        I don’t think most of it was heat – folks were just answering.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    wow. I’m happy and ticked all in the same moment. I’m really happy we got him but I’m ticked because he squeezed every penny out of us and screwed us on our other tough to signs. I mean I’d rather have Almora then all of them but seriously come on, I wish Theo/Jed would have played a little more hardball, bc there was no way this kid was going to go to college. I would have liked it if we at least had an extra $100K left over. but theo and jed are smarter then me so what ever. just sort of disappointed and happy at the same time

    • Noah

      I think everyone forgets he had the JuCo option if he didn’t sign. If he killed it there, and everyone would expect him to, he would have had a very good shot at going number 1 in 2013.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    I think Almora maxes out his potential by winning a NL MVP someday. A 30 HR, 110 RBI, .320 Avg, and 30 SB (my prediction of his best year) would win an MVP for most people. Well that is only if the Cubs are contending, ask Matt Kemp. In the end though it’s not about personal achievements. I really believe that Castro, Rizzo, and Almora will lead the parade when the Cubs finally pull off the impossible, and bring a championship to the north side of Chicago.

    • andrew

      and somebody isnt taking steroids

  • andrew

    Anybody read the fangraphs article about the blue jays draft? Its pretty interesting. They draft a ton of very hard to sign guys rounds 1-3, then rounds 4-10 all college seniors signing for about a bag of chips. Kinda wish Theo wouldve done that since it means you get more impact players and less filler players. Im happy with the draft as it went though and only time will tell which strategy worked best.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      post a link to the fangraph article

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      That’s basically exactly what Theo did. The took the best available (on the Cubs’ board) early in the draft, and then around round 6 shifted into taking college seniors who would sign for peanuts.

      Toronto made headlines with that strategy mainly because of who they took, but it wasn’t an unusual or particularly innovative strategy at all. If you look at the sheer number of college seniors taken in rounds 7-10, I think it is save to say that a lot of team took that approach.

  • Derrick

    I might be in the minority but I rather the Cubs took a shot on a arm with their first pick. We have outfielders in the system already with upside. BJax, Golden, Ha, maybe not Almora talent but talented enough. What we don’t have is any arms that scream Ace. I rather that they took a chance on Appel or even Stroman maybe Giolito.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Eh. Almora was SO MUCH safer, and offers just as much – if not more – upside. He just happens to not pitch. I like the pick, and then the subsequent flood of arms that followed.

      • Derrick

        I believe Stroman would have been a reach at 6 but definitely much safer. At worse he’ll be a back end guy or closer but great stuff should be given the chance to start. The farm is barren when it comes to arms. Nobody screams frontline starter and no one is just trading those guys away. Good pitching will beat good hitting any day.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Good pitching beats good hitting, but – and I believe there’s literature to support this – good pitching is a heck of a lot more difficult to find and develop out of the Draft. I just can’t argue with the Almora pick, especially given what happened with the next 15 picks (by the Cubs).

          • Scotti

            First round picks should always be “best available player” regardless of position. However, I would always prefer to take a risk on a drafted pitcher flaiming out due to injury than a free agent pitcher flaiming out due to injury. $3.9M lost vs $139M lost. While it is true that you run the risk of losing the draft investment due to injuy it is nothing like losing the free agent costs. When your big time free agent SS loses speed he can play 3B or 2nd. When your big time free agent pitcher blows out his arm he is toast.

            Another factor is that hitters in the minors can get blocked where as there is always room for a starter or releiver. So, better to invest draft dollars in pitching and free agent dollars in hitting.

      • Assman22

        Brett is spot on. Plus, from the comp round – round 5, there were a plethora of arms available. Giolito and Appel may not even sign and Stroman is a midget of a SP. Almora was the right choice at #6 and the Cubs will add more pitching prospects with the upcoming fire sale. The FO has been outstanding thus far

        • Derrick

          Outstanding? don’t drink all the kool aid now. They have been ok thus far. Concepcion, Voldstad, and Ian Steward don’t scream outstanding. They have done a good job in acquiring some prospects but remember they are still prospects and nowhere near a sure thing.

        • Zimmer, Don the name

          they have the worse record in baseball……how is that outstanding? get real.
          the stewart trade is a trainwreck for a guy who was hurt.
          the kid concepion has been a waste of 8M.
          volstad was nothing too……

          until dempster, garza maybe, and the others get traded for suspects; you cannot grade them on “what ifs”………….the cubs have been waiting on what ifs for 103 yrs……

          • dabynsky

            The FO has made 4 trades so far. Two of them worked out pretty well so far and two of them didn’t. The two that didn’t also happened to be the two trades were the Cubs gave up pieces with extremely low value at the time. The major league team is bad right now, but at least there is a plan to get better in the future unlike most years were this team has sucked.

            Grading this front office as anything other than incomplete at the moment is silly though given how little they’ve had to shape this roster. But I don’t think you can begrudge many of us for being excited about the direction that we are headed with the few moves that we have seen.

          • Assman22

            The trainwreck was what this current FO had handed to them. Yes, they have one of the worse records in MLB, but what did you expect in a rebuilding phase?

            DeJesus and Reed signings look nice.
            Stretching out Shark to start has panned out.
            Trading Cashner and his injured arm for Rizzo is not bad so far.
            Came away with Soler and Concepcion($6 mil, not $8), barely missing on Cespedes/Puig.
            Farm system went from #18 to possibly #5.
            Got Miami to give salary relief and Volstad (hindsight is 20/20) for Zambrano.
            The list goes on….and don’t get me started on Stroman being a safer pick at #6 than Almora…

          • Mick

            I’m not going to break down move for move the pros and cons but in a general sense, don’t you agree with the direction of the organization? As far as having the worst record in baseball, there a few factors that have to play there and most of them have to do with the prior GM. Bringing up the fact that the Cubs haven’t won the WS in 103 years is pretty short-sighted and if people die between now and the completion of the rebuild, well, then they’ll get to watch from the corn field.

            • Zimmer, Don the name

              how the fuck can 103 yrs be short-sighted………are you fucking kidding me! way to take a century of losing; the most in the history of any sport and blow it off as short-sighted. quite the asinine comment. wait till this team or if it makes the playoffs in theo’s 5 yrs; that team will carry the burden of 104-106-whatever 100 plus number with them like the 2008 team that wilted to the roided up manny and the dodgers…….103 yrs is the big cuuby blue elephant in the room next time the cubs are in the playoffs…….it ain’t short sighted…….it’s a fucking nightmare of they make the WS and the lose………damn you youngster’s don’t know shit……those that forget history are doomed to repeat it.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                Man, and I thought that I loved hanging ellipses……

                Oh, and the ’08 Cubs wilted a full month before the playoffs. They actually had a negative run differential in September: and that means early exiting from the post-season.

                • Cubs217

                  @Doc: “Man, and I thought that I loved hanging ellipses……”

                  I had the same thought. I literally laughed out loud when I read that while sitting at my desk. Good job.

              • MichiganGoat

                MOAR, drink with me MOAR….

              • Drew7

                Two things most of us “youngsters” do know is how to properly transfer thoughts and ideas to written form, and how to be respectful.

                Take your 3rd-grade english and foul language back to ESPN

                • MichiganGoat

                  oh Silly Drew the loudest noise always wins!

                  • Drew7

                    Good to have you back on the main page, Goat.

                    • MichiganGoat

                      All this NO BASEBALL is making people… GO CRAZY

              • Whiteflag

                It’s short-sighted; you are blaming a regime that took over in last fall for a century drought. Nice use of the F word, really gets your point across.

              • Mick

                You missed my point about the 103 years issue as being short sighted. I was saying, by re-stating the fact that the Cubs haven’t won a WS in 103 years and letting that fact alone dictate what moves Theo made for the 2012 season is short-sighted. Saying, we haven’t won in 103 years and we’re not going to make it 104 is short-sighted because in order to compete in 2013 we’ll need to trade away every prospect we’ve got, triple our payroll, lose hundreds of millions of dollars and where does that get us? Exactly where we were last July. In last place, a roster full of under-performing, overpaid, and un-movable players, with no hope of competing for years to come.

                By your own admission, those who forget history are doomed to repeat it? Didn’t you learn anything from Jim Hendry? Year in and year out he tried to reload by giving back-loaded contracts with no-trade clauses, drafting boom or bust prospects (they all busted), and trading away any other prospects for Garza. So, what did you learn?

                Finally, clean up your language before I Pedro Martinez you, old-man.

              • Quintz

                How long am I actually supposed to pause on those hanging ellipses? It took me 28 minutes to read that disjointed tirade.

          • JoeyCollins

            Im so tired of hearing about the Stewart trade. I don’t get why people are so worked up over it. We traded a 4th outfielder, who wasn’t gonna be a part of this team when they’re competitive again, for a third baseman (which we needed way more than an outfielder) who will not be a part of this team when they’re competing. We attempted to fill a need without mortgaging the future, Stewart was hurt and I wouldn’t call it a success by any measure, but it was far from a train wreck. A train wreck is when you trade someone who either is or projects to be an everyday contributor for a player who never helps the team. The more I hear about how horrible this trade is the more I hope Stewart’s surgey helps and he comes back performing the way people believe he can.

            • Toby

              I completely agree with you, but let’s add the Marshall trade to the trade list fans are complaining about.

              • JoeyCollins

                I think people are coming around on that trade. T Wood is changing minds with every start.

              • cls

                Why? Travis Wood is looking pretty solid of late. It looked like a busted trade in Spring Training, but a much better deal of now, if he can continue contributing as he is.

                • Toby

                  I know Travis Wood has looked very good since being recalled, but there’s a portion of people that comment that still view the trade as a bust for the Cubs.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      If it weren’t for the serious concerns over Giolito’s health, he might have gone to the Cubs. That was just as big a factor in teams staying away from his as his price tag. Stroman would have been a reach.

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