Cliff Lee Rumors: Thursday

10:43am: According to Jim Duquette of Sirius XM Radio (Twitter link), Lee "told people around the club" that Tuesday's start may have been his last as a Mariner.

8:20am: The Rangers' acquisition of Bengie Molina might be a preview of how Texas could work out a deal for Cliff Lee, according to's Buster Olney and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The team's financial situation didn't prevent them from adding Molina because they didn't take on any salary in the process, which is a strategy they'll likely try to employ again in negotiations for Lee.

In a series of tweets, Olney explains how the Rangers avoided a payroll increase in the Molina deal, and speculates that the Mariners could be persuaded to provide the Rangers salary relief in a Lee trade for a stronger package of prospects. Rosenthal agrees, writing that Texas is "so loaded with prospects" that a cash-neutral deal is a possibility for them. He also cites major-league sources who say that the club is "pushing hard" for Lee.

It remains to be seen, of course, if the Rangers would be willing to part with multiple top prospects for what would likely be a two- or three-month rental of the left-hander. In yesterday's round of Lee rumors, we heard that a few rival GMs think the Rangers would be better off holding onto those prospects.

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reiterates that if the Rangers do make a deal for pitching, they'll be aiming for a top-tier arm like Lee or Roy Oswalt rather than an "everyman starter." Grant notes that Fausto Carmona could be a possibility as well, with the Rangers scouting the right-hander's start against the Blue Jays earlier this week.

73 Responses to Cliff Lee Rumors: Thursday Leave a Reply

  1. Mariners could really re-stock their pitching prospects in a deal with the Rangers. How about Lee for:

    Harden (for salary offset)
    RHP Wilmer Font
    RHP Michael Main
    + some grade C prospect

    Rangers keep their best SP prospects (Scheppers and Perez), Mariners have two quality starting prospects to add to the rotation in a year or two, plus maybe a low level prospect or relief arm. I know that’s two of the Rangers’ Top 10, but given that Seattle is taking on Harden, maybe it’s reasonable. Plus, the Rangers draft well, so the two comp picks they get for Lee should turn into good prospects.

    Realistic or no?

    • mrsjohnmiltonrocks 5 years ago

      I like your thinking here. I would think that Seattle may want to wait a little longer to see how Bedard progresses in his rehab before they do a deal.

    • If I was Texas, I would make this deal in a heartbeat. The players they don’t want to trade are: Schep, Perez, Davis, and all MLB players

      • Exactly my thinking. If you keep Perez and Scheppers, you still have two elite pitching prospects close to the majors.

        But that’s a pretty good return for the Mariners, don’t you think? Two top 10’s from a loaded farm system, plus another body, is way better than Cleveland or Philly got for him (in my opinion, anyway).

        • boy9988 5 years ago

          Seattle doesn’t want to wait for these prospects to have to develop. So its going to cost more major league ready talent than main and font. Each of them are 2-3yrs away assuming they can make the necessary adjustments to be good players.

      • Yankees420 5 years ago

        If the difference between getting Lee and not getting Lee is Chris Davis, then I think he’s as good as gone.

    • Haha I know this sounds crazy but would you consider trading Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez for one, Josh Hamilton, and another young prospect. Remember pitching wins championships, not just the 468 ft homeruns every now and then.

      Now don’t get me wrong, Josh Hamilton is one of the best players in the league, but if you add those two with Hunter, Wilson, Feldman, Lewis, and Holland when he get’s back, you automatically have the best pitching staff in the majors. I don’t know the contract situations with Felix Hernandez, but it’s just something to think about.

      • stop smoking crack

      • BradyAndersonsSideburns 5 years ago

        Hernandez is not going anywhere, don’t be silly

      • boy9988 5 years ago

        I tell you what, you can have both Lee and Felix for Hamilton/Cruz/Andrus/Smoak/Feliz/Scheppers. I would go for that. Otherwise, not a chance in hell.

      • Baseballislife21 5 years ago

        Are you kiding me Hernandez is staying right where he is,he also has five more years on his contract.

      • snow15 5 years ago

        What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    • BleedingBlue 5 years ago

      Harden would be a good grab for the Mariners. It would help Texas complete the deal and, assuming the Mariners are still out of contention, they could trade both Bedard & Harden after the non-waiver deadline for a low level prospect and essentially adding to their Cliff Lee haul.

      • boy9988 5 years ago

        I would think the Rangers would like to hold onto harden for their playoff run. I dont know why they would want to trade him.

  2. bustercherrie 5 years ago

    Realistically or not, which has been debated extensively on the forums, the Mariners are going to ask for quite a haul for Cliff Lee. People also have to look recently, the Mariners have been playing better baseball, some of the hitters that were ice cold are starting to show signs of life. I am not saying that they are going to make a run for the division, but merely that if they keep winning or start winning more frequently the price of Lee is going to go up even more than it already is. Seattle gets Bedard back July 6th in KC. Not sure what they are trying to do was actually a smokescreen as much as actually considering being a buyer at the deadline.

    • ReverendBlack 5 years ago

      Given a trade to a division rival in which they’ve covering salary, the price is going to be even higher.

      I’d like the trade, though. It would make Texas a legitimate presence (this year anyway) and they could probably survive the loss of a few young players better than most teams in the league.

      Meanwhile, Seattle would make out like kings in terms of the young talent they’d bring on. And I want to see Ichiro in the WS.

    • Oh, sure, Jack Z is going to ask for a haul, but the question is what other GMs will give up. The man isn’t stupid; he knows he can get more in trade than he’ll get by holding on to Lee and offering arb. So he’s going to get traded. All the Rangers need to do is offer a better package than anyone else and they get him. And they’re clearly in the driver’s seat, unless the Twins get involved, because their farm system trounces on everyone else’s.

      • bustercherrie 5 years ago

        But, that’s the thing. If other GMs don’t want to make decent offers or expect to get Lee for a couple arms in low A ball then he doesn’t have to trade him either. He gets two draft picks in a supposedly deep draft. Which is all fine and dandy with me either way, I’d rather the draft picks. But, I don’t see Jack Z trading Lee for a low haul. I think it seems like he’d rather the draft picks, which is one of the reasons he is asking for so much talent in return.

        ***I mean I’d rather the drat picks than accepting a low ball trade offer.

      • Yankees420 5 years ago

        “And they’re clearly in the driver’s seat, unless the Twins get involved, because their farm system trounces on everyone else’s.”

        I think I’m misreading this sentence, but I have to ask, are you saying that the Twins farm system is better than everyone else’s? And if you aren’t, why would the Rangers not be in the driver’s seat if the Twins get involved?

      • boy9988 5 years ago

        I agree, the Rangers are in the driver’s seat. If they Rangers really want Lee, they can have him today. No one but the Rangers has the ability to offer the kind of package that simply can’t be refused. Unlike the Mets fans that keep making this statement, the Rangers really can, “If the Rangers want Lee, He is theirs.”

  3. CrustyJuggler 5 years ago

    I bet Jacks first offer would something crazy like Smoak/Perez/Font. I could see a lot haggling going on but it’s a definite match. Seattle could take Harden to offset salaries and could probably realistically get 3 good prospects out of the deal. I really hope this has legs cause I really don’t like anything the Mets have outside Mejia.

    • boy9988 5 years ago

      The Mets have crap. I would rather trade with LA for their AA prospects than with NY.

      • raffish 5 years ago

        Really? Even if the M’s could get a package of Mejia and Flores?

        • boy9988 5 years ago

          Mejia has an arm injury, never a good sign for a fastball pitcher. Flores, while good, is just a teenager in the low minors. He may or may not pan out for one, but it will take him a minimum of 3 years to reach the majors simply because he is so young. We want bodies that can take over as starters as soon as next season.

  4. As a Dodger fan I am just curious if anyone thinks that Matt kemp would be enough to get a deal done?

    • Guest 5 years ago

      Wouldn’t happen. Lee is a free agent at the end of the season and will command top dollar on the free agent market this off-season. They wouldn’t give up Kemp for a rental.

    • BleedingBlue 5 years ago

      Kemp isn’t going anywhere. He’s simply preoccupied with his girlfriend. It happens to every guy. Baseball players are real people, too.

    • My knee-jerk reaction was yes, obviously.

      But, when you think about it, maybe not. Kemp is owed ~$7 mil for 2011, and then has his last year of arbitration in 2012. He’d probably get something like ~9 mil. If he’s a 4 win player going forward (a reasonable expectation, I think, even though he’s down this year), his performance is worth about $32 million over that span. Less the ~$16 mil in salary he’s owed, you’re getting ~$16 mil worth of value. The Mariners already have Gutierrez in CF, so Kemp moves to LF, which lessens his value. Plus, Safeco isn’t a good fit for a righty. And Lee is only owed $4.5 mil rest of the season, while likely giving more like $14 mil in value, so that’s ~$10 mil in value there.

      There are the draft picks, but honestly, just that Kemp is owed so much, plus already having a CF, and Safeco being death to righties, makes this a bad fit. If he was in his pre-arb years, it’s a no-brainer. Now that he’s getting expensive, he’s not worth as much.

      But, I could see a three way deal happening. Kemp would have more value to a team that could play him in CF. So, LAD trade Kemp to that team, who trade a package of prospects to Seattle, who trade Lee to LAD. Or something like that.

      • snow15 5 years ago

        Moving to left might be the best thing for him considering his d is awwwwwful. And you’re right about safeco chewing him up, he would have adrian beltre missing power syndrome.

  5. My opinion is that if a team offers an extension for Lee then the Yankees will be pushing hard to get Lee. The Yankees should get Lee in Free Agency but if a team offers an extension then the Yankees should be involved in trading for him

  6. BleedingBlue 5 years ago

    Duquette should have mentioned this tidbit on the previous weekend. If had known Lee would be traded this week, I would have started Bonderman in my roto league. I sat him this week because he had to face Liriano & Lee. Bonderman certainly pitched poorly enough to earn the loss against the Twins this past Monday.

  7. j6takish 5 years ago

    I’d like to see Lee go to Texas, their pitching is atrocious and it would be a shame to see the “It’s time” marketing campaign blow up in their faces

    • No doubt the Rangers need an ace atop the rotation, but their pitching is hardly “atrocious.” Lewis, Wilson and Hunter — and Holland when he returns — are four pretty good arms for the rotation, and the bullpen has been one of the best in the AL so far. The disappointment has been Feldman, who hasn’t pitched nearly as well as he did in 2009, perhaps not surprising since ’09 was the first season he really did well. And, of course, Harden, who is a disaster each time he turns in one of those 100-pitch, five-inning starts. But “atrocious” is what the Rangers pitching used to be. Ryan and Co. are changing that, and with the young arms they have in their farm system, it’s only going to get better IMO.

      • snow15 5 years ago

        Feldman has actually been pretty close to the same pitcher he was last year, he just had really good luck last year K/9 BB/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB ERA FIP xFIP2009 5.36 3.08 .275 72.8% 46.8% 9.2% 4.08 4.31 4.492010 5.66 3.02 .353 64.1% 44.1% 8.2% 5.48 4.34 4.73

        • He’s not using that hard sinker nearly as much. Relying too much on his cutter. I wish he’d just pound the strike zone down low rather than nibble, nibble, nibble like he has been. And, when ahead in the count, he’s thrown some terrible pitches too. His command in the strike zone has been nowhere near what it was last year — so far.

  8. ghost5599 5 years ago

    I just don’t see the M’s taking on Harden as part of any deal. Also JackZ has already mentioned his interest in high upside hitting prospects more so than pitching prospects.

    • The Rangers’ financial situation requires the deal to be budget-neutral. Only way to do that is to have equal money coming back. So, if Jack Z wants to deal with the Rangers, he’s going to have to take on some money in the form of another player owed a similar amount of money.

      The Rangers just don’t have many high upside position players. Plus, look at the rotation after Lee departs. You have an ace and a bunch of back-end starters. Aside from Pineda, there are no interesting SP candidates in the high minors. Bats, you have more of.

      I’d rank the Mariners needs in order as:

      1) SS (has been a need for years)
      2) SP (no interesting prospects after Pineda)
      3) 1B (need a mashing LHB there badly)
      4) C (unless Moore develops, not much there)

      • ghost5599 5 years ago

        I agree with most of what you are saying. Vargas & Fister have been pitching better than back-end starters. Bedard is supposedly looking pretty good in the minors and coming back soon. So the pitching will not be horrible without Lee. Branyan is back only two games and is already mashing the ball over at 1st. The Twins & Yankees have some good catching prospects and the Mets SS prospect. I’d personally like to see a package built around Jesus Montero of the Yankees if they would go for it.

        • Vargas and Fister have been lucky. They’re good, but not as good as their ERAs suggest. Think Jarrod Washburn last year – lucky first half resulted in a low ERA, imploded after being traded to Detroit. Same guy, just lucky first half and back to reality in the second half.

          Montero is overrated if he can’t stay at C, which he probably can’t, from what I read. He’s a good hitter, obviously, but the value of a hitter like that at C is waaaay higher than a 1B or DH. Still valuable, but it’s much easier to find a slugging 1B than a slugging C.

          • raffish 5 years ago

            The M’s need a slugging 1B like nobody’s business. If the reports on Montero are correct and he becomes that 35-40 homer guy, I’d imagine his availability would trump all other bids regardless of his long-term position.

          • ghost5599 5 years ago

            Alot of Maybe’s there. Maybe Vargas & Fister have been lucky. Or Maybe they have just put it all together so far this year and it carries over. That remains to be seen. Washburn did not have pitcher friendly Safeco to pitch in the second half of the year. Vargas & Fister do. Maybe Montero is overrated or maybe not. Most seem quite high on him. He might be able to stay at C with the right people working with him.

          • Yankees420 5 years ago

            “Maybe Vargas & Fister have been lucky. Or…” See, that’s not really a maybe, Vargas and Fister have respective BABIP of .263 and .243, HR/FB ratios of 5.2% and 7.4%, and xFIP’s of 4.81 and 4.27, so yeah they’ve both been pretty lucky so far this year.

            And Washburn was pitching in Comerica after he was traded, which is probably the most pitcher friendly park in the AL, so it’s not like he went to some launching pad.

            Personally, I’m still holding out hope that Montero can stick at C, I know the reports out there that doubt it, but I’m a fan and I have to hold out hope. And if he can’t stick there I hope the Yankees try to convert him to the OF instead of 1B/DH, I’ve read that he has a cannon of an arm and RF in Yankee stadium isn’t all that big.

  9. Guest 5 years ago

    Harden’s injury history would scare off most teams I would think. I was surprised that Texas signed him.

    • It’s like an NBA trade. You have to make the salaries balance out so you include an expiring contract. The Mariners don’t care what Harden gives them. They’d just take him so the Rangers can leave their payroll the same, so they can make a trade, so Seattle can get their prospects. Without Harden, Lee adds ~$5 mil to the budget, which Texas can’t due based on the ownership situation.

    • Seattle wouldn’t care about taking on Harden if the prospects from Texas were good enough…

      • bustercherrie 5 years ago

        Yeah I would take Harden if it sweetened the pot.. I think most people would. I like the Rangers prospects, but, I feel as though a trade wont sit well between the two teams. I have no problem with Ranger fans, its the Angels I cannot stand. But, I just have a hard time seeing them agreeing on a trade, because there is too much potential negativity for this trade if something blows up.

      • MadmanTX 5 years ago

        Problem is that 4-6 blue chip players for Lee is too much for a half season rental. I’d be happier if the Twins, Mets or another team were to outbid the Rangers for Lee’s services.

      • CrustyJuggler 5 years ago

        First you said…“No. Not for a 3 month rental. IMO, Schepp, Font, Perez, Holland and all ML players are off limits. If Seattle doesn’t like it, don’t make the damn trade. I would love to have Lee for this playoff push, but we better not wreck the farm.”Now you say…“Seattle wouldn’t care about taking on Harden if the prospects from Texas were good enough… “So if Feliz, Smoak, Perez, Holland, Font, and Scheppers are all untouchable in your mind, what sort off “good enough” prospect package would Seattle get for giving Texas the current best pitcher in baseball AND paying his flippin’ contract to boot??Seems a little contradictory to me.

        • It’s not the least bit contradictory. Offer them Harden + 2/3 top prospects not named Schepp, Font, Perez, Holland. If they ask for one of the 4 or a ML player, we should just tell them to go try and find a team that’s stupid enough to sell the farm for a 3 month rental. The Rangers ransacked the Braves system in 2007, they’re not about Seattle do to them what they did to the Braves.

          • CrustyJuggler 5 years ago

            How is that not contradictary? You are saying your top prospects are off limits then saying that 2 or 3 could be sent with Harden? Doesn’t add up.

            Curious who you would consider sending assuming Harden was added for salary relief.

  10. crashcameron 5 years ago

    are we talking Derek “Strasburg” Holland here?
    is he that good or have that much potential to pass up on a Top 5 pitcher?
    a Top 5 pitcher that could inspire the rest of the players to another level. and another level of experience that could pay off down the road. and be worth 2 draft picks, where the Rangers might find another, oh, Derek Holland.
    sounds crazy stubborn to me.

  11. MadmanTX 5 years ago

    I want to see the Rangers win, but not a one off championship this year to see Lee leave to the Yanks or another team next season while gutting the farm system to send a load of hot talent to the Mariners to be used against the Rangers for years to come. No way. Even with the M’s paying Lee’s way for the rest of the season, unless Lee agrees to a contract with the Rangers, no way do I rent him.

  12. Spirit of '69 5 years ago

    If the Phils are serious about pursuing Haren just may get the Mets to sweeten offer for Lee.

  13. Zero chance Texas includes Smoak, IMHO, although the Mariners would love to have him.

  14. iwishihadaclue 5 years ago

    That’s exactly what the deal is…”A Dream”. Yankees will not be trading Montero for a few months of Lee, even if they can resign him. They wouldn’t trade him for a season of Halladay, they certainly wont trade him for a few months of Lee.

  15. iwishihadaclue 5 years ago

    So it’s ok for you to mention a dream trade, but offensive for me to remind you that it is a dream trade and why it’s a dream? Interesting…very interesting.

  16. tmoney352 5 years ago

    As a Ranger fan, I’m willing to give up a significant amount of prospects to land Lee, even if it just be for a few months. There are key reasons as to why I’d rather have Lee as a Ranger more than anyone else: 1) He beats the Angels. In his one start against them this year, he went 8 innings of 4-hit ball and struck out 10. Career wise he is 6-3 with a 3.18 ERA. 2) He beats the Yankees. Since his coming out party in 2008, Lee is 3-0 with an ERA around 2 against the Yanks, going at least 7 IP every time out. 3) The Rangers have 14 more games against the Angels after the break, plus 22 games against a combo of the Yanks/BoSox/Rays/Twins. Lee would be looking at approx. 10-12 starts (maybe more) from mid-July on, thus helping Texas immensely try to lock up the division.

    And even more icing on the cake, if the Rangers can happen to run away with the division, they can realistically begin to think about home field throughout the playoffs, would could prove crucial if we draw AL East teams in both rounds.

    As far as a package, I’d line up C. Davis, W. Font, maybe B. Beavan, and see how the Harden situation can be worked in. Honestly, as long as the Rangers don’t part with Scheppers (who’d have to be a PTBNL anyway) and/or Perez I’d be down.

  17. Griff — I agree with tmoney. Lee’s value can in no way be dismissed, even if he’s only with the club for two or two and a half months. I’d make the deal he proposed, but I don’t make it if the Ms insist on Holland in the trade.

  18. Yankees420 5 years ago

    I highly doubt the Yankees get involved with the Lee trade sweepstakes for multiple reasons. They don’t need another SP right now, their rotation is set 1-5. Cashman is not a fan of paying twice for the same player, prospects then resigning to a market value contract. I doubt the Mariners would accept what would be offered because I don’t see Montero or Nunez being available in any deal because our farm has taken a hit the last year.

  19. Yankees420 5 years ago

    Hypothetically, if the M’s did acquire Montero, I don’t think you’d want to expose him to the majors right away, given his struggles at AAA.

  20. iwishihadaclue 5 years ago

    I tore apart your dreams? Really? Did you say you wanted to be a doctor, lawyer or PRESIDENT? No. You said a dream trade and if me or anyone saying..yes that is a “dream”, tears you apart..i feel sorry for you. I really do. It’s a good thing i didn’t tell you what an office full of Yankee fans are doing after reading the comment regarding your “Dream Trade”. You’d probably end up jumping off a building if i did. The word ‘crack’, was used quite often tho.

  21. boy9988 5 years ago

    As much as i would love Smoak, there is no way the Rangers will give him up. Davis could be had. Davis/Scheppers/Salty/Font for Lee is fine. I would even agree to take on Harden as salary relief, but i think the Rangers would rather hold onto him. I definitely would pay Lee’s salary to make that deal work.

  22. I’m a Rangers fan too. I agree with you that we should not part with Scheppers and/or Martin. But what if the Ms insist on Holland being part of the deal. What if they ask for Davis, Holland and Beaven for Lee and also agree to take Harden’s contract off our hands. Do you make that deal?

  23. No. Not for a 3 month rental. IMO, Schepp, Font, Perez, Holland and all ML players are off limits. If Seattle doesn’t like it, don’t make the damn trade. I would love to have Lee for this playoff push, but we better not wreck the farm.

  24. Tyler — I agree.

  25. CrustyJuggler 5 years ago

    I was wondering when the “all our good prospects are OFF LIMITS!!!! RAWRRR!!!” guy would chime in.

    If there isn’t a blue chipper in the deal, I doubt anything gets done. Especially if the Ms take back the Harden dead weight.

  26. iwishihadaclue 5 years ago

    Where did i say that? I said no team will trade their TOP PROSPECTS for a rental in LEE. Which means any combination of their top 3. I never once mentioned what players SHOULD be involved. You just ASSUMED(we all know what they say about assuming). No team is sitting around saying “we can afford to give up our top prospects, because we get Lee and 2 draft picks” Which is why many reports say the twins won’t trade Ramos, Mets won’t trade Meija and Yankees aren’t interested. Which is becoming silly to explain repeatedly when everytime you read Lee and a trade rumor, it says the same thing.

    I even stated, you may get A(one top prospect) prospect, but a few other players who don’t necessarily mean much. But i’m the one who is talking madness when every report agrees with me but every mariners fan feels that any trade for Lee has to start with a top prospect. Some of you even stated how the closer we get to the deadline, the more his worth will be.

    You keep mentioning these draft pics, like you’ll get a top 10 pick. At best it’s a 16th pick, at worse its a 50th or 60th pick. No team has said..the top prospects traded will be compensated with those draft picks.

    So i’m sorry for telling you what has ben written time and time again on MULTIPLE reports. I’m sorry i’m not coming up with dream trades that get your approval. I’m sorry i even have to do the reading for you and repeat what nearly every writer, analysis, etc has been saying over and over. Which is no team is openly willing to trade their top prospect for 2 months of Lee. If you a link to a story where any GM said they’d trade their top prospect for Lee. Or that they are even ecstatic about getting the 2 draft picks if he leaves. Prove me wrong. Because all your doing is “dreaming” and speculating.

    I’m the crazy one but you’re the one who said “Any trade with Texas should start with Smoak or Davis” Which you so kindly edited once people shot you down. But i’m being clueless…riiiiiight

  27. bustercherrie 5 years ago

    I completely understand where you guys are coming from. If it pretty much could guarantee you a WS appearance or win then is it worth it to you? I believe that’s what we as fans have to ask ourselves in these situations, what would you pay to see your team with that trophy? Because realistically that’s what the GMs, front offices and upper management are doing right now. It may not be the best idea in the long run, but, as we have seen in the past, playoff fever makes people do some crazy stuff.

  28. raffish 5 years ago

    Who wouldn’t want to give up their 7th, 10th, and 14th best prospects for the best player on the market? Heck, I’d give up Noriega, Hensley and Mangini for Lee just to watch him pitch another three months!

  29. But there’s the rub. A team can never be guaranteed a WS appearance or world title. If so, yeah, seeing as though this team’s never even won a playoff series let alone a World Series, I’d make it in a heart beat. But, seeing as though there are no guarantees, I hang on to Holland.

  30. boy9988 5 years ago

    I don’t think it will require Holland, but maybe Scheppers. C. Davis, W. Font, T. Scheppers and maybe Moreland. B. Beaven never really had a great K/9 rate and it plummeted last year at AA, but he does have excellent command. In the end, Seattle wants at least two bats, so i think Moreland is going to be in there, but Scheppers could make or break the deal. There is going to have to be another pitcher, maybe not Scheppers or Holland, but someone.

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