D’Backs To Sign Joe Saunders

The D'Backs announced that they have agreed to sign free agent Joe Saunders to a one-year deal. Legacy Sports Group represents the left-hander, who was non-tendered by the D'Backs in December. Saunders will obtain $6MM, or $2.7MM less than his projected salary through arbitration. GM Kevin Towers expects Saunders to fit in well on the 2012 club.

“Joe was an integral part of our success last season and will help stabilize the rotation next season,”  Towers said in a statement. 

Saunders re-joins Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson and Josh Collmenter in a D'Backs rotation that now includes Trevor Cahill. The Red Sox, Orioles, MarlinsTigers and Rockies were among the teams with some interest in Saunders this offseason.

Saunders, 30, posted a 3.69 ERA with 4.6 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 44.5% ground ball rate in 212 innings this past season. He has averaged 200 innings per season since 2008 without striking out more than five batters per nine innings in any of the past four seasons. The former 12th overall pick had an average fastball velocity of 89.6 mph in 2011.

Steve Henson of Yahoo Sports first tweeted news of the deal and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweeted the terms of the contract.


85 Responses to D’Backs To Sign Joe Saunders Leave a Reply

  1. Well that was unexpected

    • but hugely awesome.  KT has done everything right this offseason!

    • BrandonDbacks 3 years ago

      I kinda saw it coming, since no other team was gonna pay Joe the money he was looking for, and he loves playing in Arizona as he mentioned in the beggining of the offseason.

      • gmenfan 3 years ago

        Have to agree there. It seemed like the longer the offseason went on and Saunders remained available, the likelier it seemed that he was heading back to the DBacks.

        Hate to say it, but that’s a nice looking rotation there, Arizona.

  2. Rotation is now set!  Looking forward to the Season already!!!

  3. JonBoyd 3 years ago

    Wait, what?

    • vtadave 3 years ago

      Apparently you missed it.

      D-backs signed Joe Saunders to a one-year deal.

  4. Division over!

  5. notsureifsrs 3 years ago

    phew

  6. Congrats, Joe. I hope you have a monster season in 2012!

  7. bvw87 3 years ago

    That D’Backs rotation is rounding out to be pretty damn solid. Might see a better run from them this coming year.

  8. RKel10 3 years ago

    Not a bad #4 starter. Same rotation as last year plus the addition of Cahill. The Dbacks have improved. They bolstered their bullpen with Saito and Breslow. Added Kubel, and acquire Cahill. They should be able to return to the playoffs again this year.

    • melonis_rex 3 years ago

      Kubel with all those pitch-to-contact guys isn’t really an improvement over Parra. What he gives on offense, he’ll give back with his  DH-worthy defense. 

      But i still think the DBacks are the best team in the West.

      • RKel10 3 years ago

        But when Chris Young goes on his month long slumps Parra can fill in for him. It helps to have depth and flexibility

        • James Attwood 3 years ago

          If CY stays healthy for a change there’s every reason to expect him not to have a slump of a month. Between a busted up hand and a bad leg, he did the team no favours by running out there everyday for 2-3 weeks after it was clear thre was no “playing through it”.

  9. BrandonDbacks 3 years ago

    Kennedy, Hudson, Cahill, Saunders, Collmenter. Very solid rotation, plus we could eventually see Collmenter being moved to the bullpen since we lack a Long Reliever, then we could call up one of Skaggs/Bauer to take that 5th spot. I like it, now we give em a little more time to season in the minors.

  10. BoSoxSam 3 years ago

    Thank god.

  11. AlexMLB 3 years ago

    Great addition. 
    The D’backs have a solid 5 starters. The return of Saunders will allow the D’backs to:
    1. Develop more and take it easy with Skaggs and Bauer
    2. Have an innings eater veteran
    3. Be prepared (having Skaggs and Bauer major league ready in the minors) to step up if one of the starting 5 gets injured.
    4. Healthy competition of 8 solid starters (including Miley).
    5. If Gibby decides to have Skaggs or Bauer in the 5th spot, this will allows the D’backs to have a nice back up plan if one of this youngsters can’t perform and need to go back to the minors

    Can’t wait for next season, KT has made very intelligent moves this offseason.

  12. Bombercules 3 years ago

    How is this good? Dbacks could have had Kuroda for a little more or Colon for way less. Both are better than Saunders. It might not be a huge difference, but still you have to optimize your team everywhere you can.

    • BrandonDbacks 3 years ago

      Colon better than Saunders? LOL

      • Bombercules 3 years ago

        Colon projects to be hovering around a 7 K/9, Saunders might get up to 5 if he’s lucky. Saunders had a ridiculously lucky year and even then he wasn’t that good.

        • k/9 isn’t everything, and how can you say that Saunders had a lucky year but Colon didn’t?

          • Bombercules 3 years ago

            I told myself I wouldn’t reply to this, but Saunders had an ERA over a run under his FIP. Colon was slightly over his FIP whilst dealing with Yankee Stadium park factors.

          • Disgustedfan 3 years ago

            Saunders has a track record of a guy with a 4.00 to 4.50 ERA and he goes 200 innings a year. That is actually good production from a 5th starter. Colon has a track record of being overweight and making 15 starts a year.

          • southpawryno 3 years ago

             You don’t have very good control of yourself then… Anyways, I would say playing in Arizona has similar park factors to that of Yankee stadium (if not worse). And with that Saunders pitched rather well, is younger, and he’s left-handed, which is what their rotation would have lacked if Towers signed Colon.

          • southpawryno 3 years ago

             You don’t have very good control of yourself then… Anyways, I would say playing in Arizona has similar park factors to that of Yankee stadium (if not worse). And with that Saunders pitched rather well, is younger, and he’s left-handed, which is what their rotation would have lacked if Towers signed Colon.

        • Disgustedfan 3 years ago

          Colon is a fat boy why would you want him. My favorite team the A’s signed him and I was thinking why. Wont it be ironic that a fat guy like that will have the letters athletics on his chest lol

          • melonis_rex 3 years ago

            “We’re not selling jeans here” 

    • AlexMLB 3 years ago

      Sorry but Colon is not better than Saunders. Kuroda may be, but he signed for the Yankees. Yankees have more $ and prestige than the D’backs, which is probably why Kuroda didn’t sign with Arizona. Also D’backs need a lefty in their starting rotation.

      • Bombercules 3 years ago

        Of qualified starters, how many had a worse K/9 than Saunders last year? Three pitchers, all from the AL Central.

        Saunders would have been horrible if he didn’t get so many double plays behind him, and no he cannot “dial up the double play” his GB% isn’t even particularly high.

        • vtadave 3 years ago

          Dave – Strikeout rate isn’t everything. Saunders had a respectable 4.38 xFIP last year, and he’s started 31 or more games in each of the last four seasons. No one is saying he’s a stud, but on a reasonable one-year deal, that’s a solid enough No. 5 type starter, no?

    • CraigInPhoenix 3 years ago

      They tried to sign Colon and Kuroda and both of them turned the DBacks down.  What are they supposed to do?  Hold them hostage? 

      • Bombercules 3 years ago

        Sorry, where did you read this? And what did they offer?

        • CraigInPhoenix 3 years ago

          On this site and all over the place.  It was well reported over the last week we were trying to get Colon and it was reported earlier that we offered Kuroda 12 – 13 million before he signed with the Yankees for less.  It takes 2 to tango.

          • Bombercules 3 years ago

            Can you link to the Kuroda thing? that was never on MLBTR. And just because they were “interested” in Colon doesn’t mean they made an offer.

          • BrandonDbacks 3 years ago

            they had an offer out to Kuroda for 2-3 weeks before they withdrew it and signed Kubel instead.

          • Just search Kuroda, it’s all over this site.  Might as well search Colon too, and make sure to brush after every meal.

          • John McFadin 3 years ago

            Definitely try being more hostile.  /sarcasm

        • gmenfan 3 years ago

          Yeah, Oakland offered enrollment in the “Cupcake of the Month Club” so it was a no-brainer for Colon.

    • Tko11 3 years ago

      They were more likely looking for an innings eater which is what Saunders is. Kuroda is too expensive for them and Colon is not a good bet to give them 200 innings. 

      • I remember when the Angels traded him to get Haren and one of the guys on mlb tonight (probably mitch williams) said oh it is a wash cause they are really the same talent level! what a joke of a statement although he is good but maybe a number 5 starter good.

        • Tko11 3 years ago

          Haha yeah him and Reynolds are pretty horrible with their trade proposals. 

    • I would rather have Saunders more than Colon or Kuroda.

  13. Disgustedfan 3 years ago

    Good sign. Durable back end of the rotation kind of guy. Not to many teams have 5th starters like saunders. A rotation of kennedy hudson saunders cahill and collmenter thats pretty nice. Plus skaggs and bauer coming soon and archie bradley. This team is set up real nice for the future and this year. Good work dbacks.

  14. SixAces 3 years ago

    No frills solid move, is it safe to say that there is a high chance of the snakes in 2012 post season?

  15. DbacksAreBeast 3 years ago

    I love this signing, we did everything right this offseason!

  16. Joe Saunders is a decent signing move, and it is extremely low-risk since they have good depth, and he is taking the 5th rotation spot.  However, I think some people may be pushing that he is better than he actually is.  Someone suggested that Colon or Kuroda would have been better options, and I actually agree with him.  

    First off, Kuroda is a no-brainer.  He is clearly better and has been much more consistent in the years previous, his ERA, WHIP, K/9, BB/9, FIP, xFIP, GB% all have been much better over the last few years.  Going back four years, Saunders had a WAR of 5.6, whereas Kuroda has a WAR of 12.2.  Granted Kuroda is a #2 type starter, and Saunders has always been a #4 or #5, but when you could get someone who has posted double the Wins Above Replacement that you just signed, for only $4 million more, I dunno, seems like a loss to me.  I think the Yankees got Kuroda at a slight bargain.  Especially on a one-year deal.

    Secondly, I say Colon would be better simply based on the IF he can put up 175+ IP this season and not get injured.  If he is injured the following points are completely moot.  Last season he did have a higher ERA (4.00 to 3.69), but when you factor in everything and look at the FIP (3.83 – Colon, to 4.78 – Saunders) and the xFIP (3.57 to 4.38) you see a stark difference in the quality of the pitcher.  And yes, K/9 doesn’t tell the whole story, but it sure tells you the type of stuff a pitcher has.  Given that Saunders induced so many double-plays with a less than stellar GB%, you’d expect that number to go down.  Furthermore, you’d expect with a LD% of 21.0% someone to have an ERA north 4.00, not 3.69.  Yes Saunders is the #5, so a 4.00 ERA is acceptable, but I personally believe the D-Backs could have taken a much more feasible risk in signing Colon for a 1/3 of the cost they signed Saunders for.

    Just my take.  The D-Backs still have solid rotation, Saunders or none.

    • Bombercules 3 years ago

      Holy crap thank you.

    • James Attwood 3 years ago

      Kuroda would certainly have been a stronger signing. I don’t think anyone disagees with that. He was also offered almost twice as much and decided to keep playing the market instead so the Dbacks signed Kubel instead. In reality, I would rather have a combination of Saunders/Kubel for less than $2MM more than for just Kuroda alone.

      Colon on the other hand is a different story. He too turned down the Dbacks to go to the A’s. He obviously signed for less than Saunders, but I’m not sure it’s a no-brainer he would have been a better fit for the Dbacks than Saunders. One thing the Dbacks needed out of a starter is game depth. Colon would be lucky to have 150 IP for a NL team. In close games he will almost always be getting pulled for running/hitting, and his track-record says he will break down at least once and maybe for good. Saunders gives 200 IP.

      Where Colon comes cheap, he almost guarantees a NEED to call up Bauer to start filling in as a starter. With Saunders, the track record says that barring injury to one of the rotation (4/5 of which are 200 IP guys) Bauer comes up when his performance mandates it instead.

      Saunders is a solid #4/5 pitcher. No, he doesn’t have a great GB%, but he has always performed better than his peripherals would suggest. And after watching the guy pitch for the last 4 seasons, it is easy to make an argument that he actually CAN “dial up” the double play when needed.

      Then there’s the fact that Saunders is a lefty and the Dbacks still needed one. Colon is a righty. Saunders can hit, run, and field and will pitch 200 Ip. Colon will pitch and then be benched and MIGHT get 150 IP.

      For me, I take Saunders, a known quantity that continues to let me develop my young talent on my timeline over a very large question mark in Colon.

    • gmenfan 3 years ago

      I think the innings question is a significant one for Colon. He hasn’t hit the 175 inning mark since 2005 and didn’t break the 65 inning plateau in several of the seasons in between. He’s up there in age, injury prone, and went from not throwing a single pitch in 2010 to throwing 165 innings in 2011. Who knows what you are going to get in 2012 but it leaves a big question as to whether he can be counted on as an inning eater in the 4/5 spot.

  17. Joe Saunders is a decent signing move, and it is extremely low-risk since they have good depth, and he is taking the 5th rotation spot.  However, I think some people may be pushing that he is better than he actually is.  Someone suggested that Colon or Kuroda would have been better options, and I actually agree with him.  

    First off, Kuroda is a no-brainer.  He is clearly better and has been much more consistent in the years previous, his ERA, WHIP, K/9, BB/9, FIP, xFIP, GB% all have been much better over the last few years.  Going back four years, Saunders had a WAR of 5.6, whereas Kuroda has a WAR of 12.2.  Granted Kuroda is a #2 type starter, and Saunders has always been a #4 or #5, but when you could get someone who has posted double the Wins Above Replacement that you just signed, for only $4 million more, I dunno, seems like a loss to me.  I think the Yankees got Kuroda at a slight bargain.  Especially on a one-year deal.

    Secondly, I say Colon would be better simply based on the IF he can put up 175+ IP this season and not get injured.  If he is injured the following points are completely moot.  Last season he did have a higher ERA (4.00 to 3.69), but when you factor in everything and look at the FIP (3.83 – Colon, to 4.78 – Saunders) and the xFIP (3.57 to 4.38) you see a stark difference in the quality of the pitcher.  And yes, K/9 doesn’t tell the whole story, but it sure tells you the type of stuff a pitcher has.  Given that Saunders induced so many double-plays with a less than stellar GB%, you’d expect that number to go down.  Furthermore, you’d expect with a LD% of 21.0% someone to have an ERA north 4.00, not 3.69.  Yes Saunders is the #5, so a 4.00 ERA is acceptable, but I personally believe the D-Backs could have taken a much more feasible risk in signing Colon for a 1/3 of the cost they signed Saunders for.

    Just my take.  The D-Backs still have solid rotation, Saunders or none.

  18. nats2012 3 years ago

    Im not saying this because of this move but the DBacks look like they are gonna be a a great team for many years to come. With the young offensive core they have plus all the young pitching they have and have on the way. Watch out.

  19. DbacksAreBeast 3 years ago

    I’m not just saying this because of the Joe Saunders signing…But, I really believe that we will go to the playoffs and win a World Series. Say what you want, its just my take on our core. This are some projections from my point of view…(if these players play the whole season)

    Catcher – Miguel Montero : I think he his a great catcher to have both offensively and defensively. I see him as are 5th spot hitter. He is a left hand hitter, so that’s highly valuable as well. My Projections : .274 Avg, 19 HR, 88 RBI, 0 SB

    1st Base – Paul Goldscmidt : Golllllllldscmidt!!!!! One of the league’s best young first baseman. Tons of upside, Tons of power. He had a great post-season hitting .438 with 2 home runs and 6 rbis in 4 games. I see the young rookie in his first whole season getting : .267 avg, 26 HR, 76 RBI, 5 SB.  

    2nd Base – Aaron Hill : One of The league’s best 2nd baseman hitter in 2009, hitting .286 with 36 Homers and 108 Runs batted in. Then in the 2011 season Hill finished with a miserable .246 avg, while hitting only 8 home runs and getting 61 rbis. But, the is still hope for the 29 year old as he enters his seventh season. Hopefully he can have a bounce back year and get around : .270 avg, 18 HR, 79 RBIs, 10 SB.

    Short Stop – Stephen Drew : ohh Stephen…please, please show the league what you can do with a full healthy season. My projections : .278 avg, 16 HR, 80 RBIs, 15 SB.

    3rd Base – Ryan Roberts : Everyone Knows that Tat-man’s breakout season was a fluke, look for the guy to do about this : .261 avg, 17 HR, 65 RBIs, 16 SB. 

    Left Field – Jason Kubel : The left handed power hitter needs a healthy bounce back year. I think he will finish with : .287 avg, 26 HR, 81 RBIs, 0 SB

    Center Field – Chris Young : In the 2012 season I see Young getting : .246 avg, 27 HR, 88 RBI, 26SB.

    Right Fielder – Justin Upton : J-Up the 25 year old stud. He is the franchise player and he will show it. look for Upton getting around : .302 avg, 35 HR, 100 RBI, 21 SB.

    Starting Pitching :

    1) Ian Kennedy – Woah! everyone said when they saw Ian pitch last year. Look for him to get slightly worse statistics : 17-7, 3.09 ERA, 178 K’s. 

    2) Daniel Hudson – Hudson is a work horse, he still has some upside so look for a improved year : 17-9, 3.20 ERA, 180 K’s

    3) Trevor Cahill – We got Cahill in a trade from the A’s this off season. I am very happy with the deal, Cahill is only 23! Yes you read that correctly, 23 years old. Still has up side. I see him putting up : 15-10, 3.30 ERA, 154 K’s. 

    4) Joe Saunders – Saunders was a free agent, but we gladly brought him back. The Southpaw innings eater should produce the same stat line as last year, if not slightly worse. 10-11, 3.89 ERA, 105 K’s. 

    5) Josh Collmenter – Hmm…Collmenter, we will see either a suprisingly good season or an awful one from him. Too hard to tell…I got nothing.

    Relief:

    Are additions of Saito and Breslow should help out our bullpen. I love Putz and Hernandez, hopefully they can repeat the year they had.

    Overall: 

    I am pleased as a D-Backs Fan of how this underdog team has improved so much…I can’t wait for a suspenseful 2012 season.

    Thanks for reading, post your ideas below. ><

    • Tko11 3 years ago

      I will take the under on most of your predicted stats. Saunders has once in his career put up an era of under 4 and that was last year at age 30. 

      • sleeper13 3 years ago

        What about 2008? He had a 3.41 era and won 17 games.

        • Tko11 3 years ago

          Missed that year, my bad. I still say his era is more likely to be in the low 4s. 

    • Tko11 3 years ago

      I will take the under on most of your predicted stats. Saunders has once in his career put up an era of under 4 and that was last year at age 30. 

    • James Attwood 3 years ago

      Though I truly love your optomism, those are some REALLY generous numbers on some of the players.

      Montero: Seems about right

      Goldy: If he pts up those numbers he’s a lock for ROY, but I would still be happy with a much more pedestrian .245-.250/20 HR/65 RBI as he goes back and forth between being figured out and making adjustments.

      Hill: Probably not hitting for .270, but he’s actually one of the big wild cards. Would the real Aaron Hill please stand up?

      Drew: Still questions about whether or not he’ll be ready for Opening Day. The signings of BOTH Bloomquist and McDonald suggest that the Dbacks are in no hurry to rush him back. If he wants them to pick up the $10MM option, he better play his best ball ever. .270/ 15 HR/ 55 RBI out of the leadoff spot once he’s healthy and if he even finished the year with the team.

      Roberts: If Roberts plays up to what you have predicted, even THAT will be considered a generous bonus.

      Add in 25-30 SBs for Young in the OF and it looks pretty close.

      I would expect Kennedy, Hudson, and Cahill all to pitch closer to the 3.50-3.65 mark than the low 3s. Expect Hudson’s K total to go up though as he continues to develop a 3rd pitch.

      Saunders pitches to a 4-4.2 ERA but gives 32 starts and 200 IP giving the Dbacks everything they hoped for

      Collmenter is an effective 5th starter that becomes the long man out of the bullpen when Bauer gets called up. Probably has close to a 4.00 ERA, but continues to baffle hitters at least once through the lineup.

      With a stable of innings eaters in the atarting rotation, Saito/Hernandez/Putz at the tail end of the bullpen really shortens games.

  20. DbacksAreBeast 3 years ago

    ^^^^^^^^^^^

  21. qudjy1 3 years ago

    If it was me, i wouldnt have signed Kubel or Saunders, and tried to get an impact player like Reyes or Beltran.   just me.  

  22. rb_phoenix1 3 years ago

    Bottom Line is his ERA was 3.69 last year, and like it or not that isn’t half bad. But by the same token that was one of his better years. So if JS can return to last years form, this will be a good move. Otherwise you write it off as one of KT’s gambles that didn’t pan out.

  23. rb_phoenix1 3 years ago

    Bottom Line is his ERA was 3.69 last year, and like it or not that isn’t half bad. But by the same token that was one of his better years. So if JS can return to last years form, this will be a good move. Otherwise you write it off as one of KT’s gambles that didn’t pan out.

  24. Just ❌ 3 years ago

    I like the sign, gives them a really solid rotation in a division that they won last season. They still bat a hell of a lot more than their division rivals. Now with this rotation of Kennedy, Hudson, Cahill, Saunders, and Collmenter keeps em favorites to win the division again… easily!

  25. DbacksAreBeast 3 years ago

    Welcome Back Joe!                                           

  26. coolstorybro222 3 years ago

    Oh man, that is a good rotation in the first 3, and the 4th is going to be good potiental, and the 5th might be a good stop gap.

  27. I wouldnt mind seeing either of them pitch out of the pen to get their feet wet in the bigs though…

  28. BrandonDbacks 3 years ago

    You can say that again!

  29. CaseyBlakeDeWitt 3 years ago

    Looks like he can’t.

  30. NatsTown 3 years ago

    After the Nats : )

  31. James Attwood 3 years ago

    Saunders will almost certainly go in the #4 slot in the rotation ahead of Collmenter. Collmenter had some nice peripherals compared to Saunders, but his achilles heel remained getting through a line-up multiple times.

    Also, of the entire bunch they have now, Collmenter is the least likely to log high inning copunts. He’s yet to be extended out that far. He was long considered to be strong reliever material but pitched so well that he made the move to the rotation when the Dbacks needed another starter and then never let go of the spot. With Collmenter as the #5, it allows the Dbacks to use him as the long man out of the bullpen (which they currently lack) as well as have him start. With Collmenter the #5, he then keeps up his innings and his big league experience while holding down the slot in the rotation until Bauer grabs hold of it with both hands by July 1st.

    It’s not so much about who the better pitcher is here as about who is most flexible and where they can do the most good. There’s no way Saunders is effective out of the pen, nor do you give him $6MM to eat innings out of the pen.

    By the end of the season I would expect a rotation of:

    Kennedy/Hudson/Cahill/Saunders/Bauer with Collmenter the long man/emergency starter

    Then the Dbacks let Saunders walk and go with

    Kennedy/Hudson/Bauer/Cahill/Skaggs with Collmenter still in the long man/emergency strater slot if he has not been flipped for some strong talent

  32. Lanidrac 3 years ago

    Only if they can beat out Wainwright-Carpenter-Garcia-Miller-Martinez of the future Cardinals.

  33. Odawg8 3 years ago

    Hernandez was a starter for the o’s. I know that he is your 8th inning guy but he can certainly also be a long man if the team was desperately in need of one.

  34. Disgustedfan 3 years ago

    Lets see strasberg stay healthy before we annoint him the next pedro martinez. He has 5 career wins. Gio should be good for the nats except for the starts he is walking batters left and right. Makes you want to pull your hair out

  35. James Attwood 3 years ago

    The Nats need to stay healthy and in control before they get annointed as a truly dominant/scary rotation.

    Kennedy/Hudson/Cahill may not be the 1-3 that say, Halladay/Lee/Hamels is, but they could very likely end the season with just as many wins and together cost less than 10% of ONE of those pitchers. Once you add in Bauer or Skaggs (or both) the Dbacks have one of the best 1-5 in the game.

  36. James Attwood 3 years ago

    Hernandez is hands-down the set-up guy and spot closer. He COULD go long if he had to, but the Dbacks would likely never allow that to happen. Their AAA team is only 90 minutes away from Chase Field. Hernandez is the Dbacks next closer when Putz’s currrent contract is up, if not before. Mariano Rivera started out as a starter too. Not to say Hernandez is the next Mariano, but he’s going to be following pretty much the same career path.

  37. John McFadin 3 years ago

    Don’t you mean Ryan Jeaney?

  38. rdugi33 3 years ago

    The dbacks AAA team is in reno….it’s not tucson anymore.

  39. rdugi33 3 years ago

    bauer probably isn’t ready yet…only had a handful of starts in AA ball.

  40. Bauer won’t be ready until June. Saunders is probably on borrowed time as the #5. At least I hope so.

  41. James Attwood 3 years ago

    And by plane it takes about 90 minutes to fly to Phoenix.

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