Monthly Archives: May 2012

Twins: Is it Time to Blow Up the Team in Minnesota?

Thursday May 31st, 2012


Bernie Olshansky: The Twins are sitting at the very bottom of the American League standings with a winning percentage (.360). For those of you without a calculator, that is .248 points less than the leading Rangers (.608). It’s obviously time to do something to turn the Twins around… but what? The Twins shouldn’t be playing this badly, as they have two former MVPs in Joe Mauer (2009) and Justin Morneau (2006) in their lineup. Granted, Mauer won the MVP three years ago and has had a few injuries since, and it’s been six years since Morneau won his MVP, and he’s suffered from a nasty concussion he received when sliding two years ago in Toronto. If these two stars could play to their potential at the same time for a full season, the Twins might be achieving bigger things. The unfortunate truth, however, is that this most likely will not happen.

On paper, the Twins aren’t awful. Carl Pavano anchors the pitching staff followed by an on-and-off Francisco Liriano (who had a rough start to this year), Nick Blackburn, and Scott Diamond. Jason Marquis threw 34 innings this season posting an embarrassing 8.47 ERA while going 2-4 before being released. Just recently the Twins announced the return of Liriano to the starting rotation after a brief time in the bullpen. We’ve seen some flashes of brilliance in the recent past from both Liriano and Pavano. Pavano went 18-8 with a 3.00 ERA with the Marlins in 2004 and more recently went 17-11 with a respectable 3.75 ERA in 2010. Liriano in 2010 had a solid 14-10 record with a 3.62 ERA and last year threw a no-hitter. 2010 was the last good year for the Twins as they finished first in the Central but ended up losing to the Yankees in the Division Series. The team has fallen on extreme hard times since. Read the rest of this entry

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2012 MLB Draft Preview

Wednesday May 30th, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (MLB Writer): For those who may not know, the MLB’s first-year-player draft starts June 4th. While there may not be a huge name like Bryce Harper or Stephen Strasburg to create excessive buzz, this year’s draft should be interesting. The first overall pick belongs to the 2011 worst Houston Astros, who surprisingly have one of the shallowest farm systems in baseball. Though the Hunter Pence trade brought in their number one and two prospects, Jarred Cosart and Jonathan Singleton, respectively, the organization is lacking in prospect depth overall. Picking behind the ‘Stros are the Minnesota Twins, with the Mariners and Orioles following. Predicting a draft, especially where there is no clear-cut “number one” prospect is difficult, to say the least. Teams aren’t drafting to fill immediate needs, so much as to bolster a weak area in their organization. For example: it may seem logical for the Phillies to draft a power-hitting first baseman with the 40th pick since Ryan Howard is injured, but really a 2012 draftee wouldn’t be MLB ready for a few years and therefore irrelevant to Howard’s injury. Plus with the changes in this year’s draft as to salaries, teams will no longer have “recommended slots” to play with. Translation: signability will play a bigger part in this year’s draft than ever before. With that being said, here are my predictions for the first ten names to be called on Monday.

Read the rest of this entry

Jay Bruce: The Reds Have a Young Budding Superstar in the Outfield

Wednesday May 30th, 2012

Brendan Henderson:  Jay Bruce, the 25-year-old right-fielder for the Cincinnati Reds is quickly making a name for himself in the baseball world. Bruce is from Beaumont, Texas and he was selected as the 12th pick in the 2005 amateur draft by the Reds. Bruce is under contract with the Reds until 2017.

Bruce made his MLB debut with the Reds in 2008 at the young age of 21 years old. He batted .254 that year with 21 home runs and 52 RBIs. Jay Bruce finished 5th in Rookie of the Year voting that year, just behind his teammate, Edinson Volquez who finished 4th. Volquez has since moved on to San Diego, in a package for top starter Mat Latos.

Many people might be wondering at this point in his career: “Is Jay Bruce the next great MLB superstar?” I will answer why he may or may not be below. Read the rest of this entry

Don Mattingly has managed The Dodgers to the ‘Best Record in the MLB’

Wednesday, May.30/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-At first glance at the LA Dodgers you will see a team that leads the Major League with a 32-17 record heading into action tonight.  Matt Kemp has missed the last two weeks of action and yet the team still continues to put up wins.  Before his injury, Kemp was playing like an MVP candidate and Andre Ethier has racked up 43 RBI to the lead the National League.  Clayton Kershaw has been his usual dominant self.  Key pitching contributions from Chris Capuano (7-1) and Ted Lilly (5-1) have paced the club in the pitching department, where they rank 2nd in a lot of categories amongst pitching staffs in the NL and the Majors.

Don Mattingly has battled several injuries, a team of platoon players, a lowered payroll due to the impending ownership changes en route to this record.  It is clear why the Dodgers are winning ball games, Mattingly is making good managerial decision at the key times.  When you look at how the current club is configured, you would see there is great baseball pedigree in the stable.  There are 4 sons of ex major league ball players on the roster: Scott Van Slyke (son of Andy), Tony Gwynn Jr. (son of Tony Sr.), Dee Gordon (son of Tom) and Jerry Hairston Jr (son of Jerry Sr.)  These guys are hardly trailblazing their way to Cooperstown anytime soon, however they play good fundamental baseball having grown up in Major League clubhouses.  (On a side note, I would pay good money to see a father son game with these boys versus their fathers.) Read the rest of this entry

Brandon is Out of His League as Seattle Changes Closers

Tuesday May 29th, 2012

Ryan Ritchey (Baseball Writer):  There is bad news in Seattle and that is Brandon League has been taken out of his ninth inning role for the Mariners. League who has been struggling to get the job done lately, hasn’t lost his closer’s role permanently. He just needs to work on his command for the time being in non-save situations. League has blown 4 saves in 13 chances this season and the Mariners want to work with him to see if they can change that. The same thing happened last season with League, when he was taken out of the closer role to work on mechanics. He ended up finishing the year with 37 saves. For a closer that is what you call a successful season.

The Mariners aren’t naming another closer because as manager Eric Wedge put it: “Brandon is our closer. We’ll match up with what we think works”. The Mariners only have 7 guys in the bullpen and they could end using up to 6 of them, depending on the situation, in the ninth inning. Using the closer by committee could help the Mariners while League works on command, or it could end up putting them in a worse hole to dig out of in the West. We will just have to see how long it takes League to get back to his game saving ways.

The Mariners are doing everything they can to get League’s command back, as he threw an extended bullpen yesterday. With this being said, League should be back in the closer’s role in a couple of weeks. He is doing everything he can to regain his command and that is all Wedge is asking of him. “The same thing happened last year”, Wedge said. This is nothing new for League- so it should be a quick fix.

The candidates for the job in League’s absence are Tom Wilhelmsen, Charlie Furbush and Lucas Luetge. Wilhelmsen is going to see the most attempts. This should be a great few weeks for him to get a chance to show what he’s got in the ninth and maybe become trade bait come July. Good luck to Brandon League on regaining his form. The Mariners are counting on League to become once again a valuable trading chip at the deadline, with League looking to cash in during the free agency the coming offseason. We hope to see League back in the ninth inning soon.

Ryan Ritchey is a Baseball Writer for MLB reports. I am a high school senior, play second base and plan on studying sports journalism in college. I am a huge fan of Barry Larkin and Brandon Phillips. Have been a baseball fan my whole life and have been writing about baseball since freshman year. You can reach me on Twitter (@Ryan13Ritchey)

Please e-mail us at: mlbreports@me.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitterand become a fan on Facebook.  To subscribe to our website and have the Daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

The DH Tandem of Ibanez and Jones Are Providing Great Value Amongst the Position

Monday, May.28/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones might only be hitting about .250 as a combined DH unit, however they are providing some much-needed power from the DH slot for the New York Yankees.  Ibanez is batting .260 with 9 HRs and 27 RBI in 137 AB, Jones is .227 with 5 HRs and 10 RBI in 66 AB.  The two totals combined equal 14 HRs and 37 RBI in 193 AB.  This is really good production in the power department.  This puts the duo on pace for about 45 HRs and 120 RBI out of the DH slot.  These numbers are comparable to Chicago White Sox primary DH Adam Dunn, who is .240 with 15 HRs and 35 RBI, and Edwin Encarnacion for the Toronto Blue Jays, who is .274 with 15 HRs and is second in the AL with 39 RBI.

There are factors that cancel out the production of both Encarnacion and Dunn.  The Blue Jays first base position has killed any type of edge that Encarnacion’s start should have provided.  Adam Lind hit himself out of the Majors with his under .200 average, thus negating the production that the position of 1B needs to have in order to compete along with a DH.  Adam Dunn has racked up 74 strikeouts to add to his power numbers.  While this has been a renaissance year for Dunn so far, the all or nothing philosophy does hurt in the clutch sometimes.  I think the White Sox have to be happy with his production, plus Paul Konerko has been the best player in the AL outside of Josh Hamilton. Read the rest of this entry

Fantasy Baseball Report: Week of May 28th

Monday May 28th, 2012

Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports):  In this week’s fantasy focus, I take a look at a group of hitter who have improved significantly in one category and as a result have seen a tremendous increase in their overall value. While some of these guys are legit, others should be traded while their value is at a peak. Also, do not miss the “Closer Corner”, as the saves category has been as frustrating and hard to predict as any in 2012. 


Martin Prado
has always been a serviceable infield option, although now only eligible at third base, due to his ability to hit for average and decent power and production. However, his average took a hit in 2011 (.260) and his career highs in home runs (15) and stolen bases (5) leaves a lot to be desired. In 2012, Prado has made an effort to be more aggressive on the base paths and has already stolen 7 bases in 8 attempts. Even 15 stolen bases would tremendously increase his overall value. I expect him to approach 20, especially as he is getting on base more with an even 21:21 walk to strikeout ratio. His average is a robust .333 (career .297) and his new approach at the plate could have Prado ending the year with a line looking something like this: .310/14/80/20.

After crushing 21 home runs in 2009, Billy Butler has disappointed many owners by hitting 15 and 19 home runs in his follow-up seasons. He is an OPS machine and the power seems to be developing in 2012, as he already has 11 home runs. Due to his size, 240 pounds, people expected the power to develop right away, but we cannot forget that he is only 26 years old. Guys typically do not reach their full power potential until their late twenties. While we know we can expect a .300 average from Butler, is appears that he will at least come close to approaching 30 home runs in 2012.  The fact that he hit 13 of his 19 home runs in the final three months of the 2011 season is even more promising for Butler owners. The only discouraging thing about Butler is that he is only eligible at the DH position in most leagues. Read the rest of this entry

Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – May 27th, 2012

Sunday May 27th, 2012



Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@me.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Let’s get to your top questions of the week:

Q: What do you think about Honolulu (for MLB expansion)? They would get so many people during the summer for vacation.  Robert

JH:  Robert! I don’t think a week goes by where I don’t receive a question from you on MLB expansion. You know that it is one of my favorite topics- so inevitably, we end up discussing it seemingly at least once on ATR every week. Honolulu now…that is interesting. As we discussed in previous expansion talks, Major League Baseball will consider many factors in its next round of expansion. Population base and the availability of fans for games will be one key factor. Honolulu has apparently 337,000 residents while Hawaii itself is closing in on 1,000,000.  Not bad. Not bad at all. But even with a strong population base, we would have to be realistic on the area. Travel will be a killer. Which division would we even consider putting them in? The climate would be perfect though. Nice and dry in the summer, warm but not overbearing. A very population destination for tourists, but with most trying to enjoy sun and beaches, I am not sure how baseball would go over as a tourist attraction.

Ultimately, distance will be the killer. Also, taxes I understand may be an issue as well. Les Murakami Stadium in Honalulu is home to the University of Hawaii baseball team. The stadium holds 4,312 and has turf. Guess what? A new stadium will need to be built to accommodate MLB. Will that happen? Many of the other candidates for MLB expansion will need to build a stadium as well. But at least those areas have a decent shot at a team. To get a good stadium, you need a rich owner with a supportive community willing to subsidize the venture. Hawaii folded its winter league in 2008, but I have read reports it could return. If the area could not keep the winter league, I think MLB expansion would be a tough sell. But if nothing else, distance is the killer. You can have one team in Hawaii and expect all the other teams in the league (especially in the division) to travel such a distance. Ten hours from Hawaii to NYC? No thanks. We need to be creative in thinking MLB expansion, but Honolulu is reaching a little too far. Read the rest of this entry

Indians Off to Another Strong Start – But This Time, Will it Last?

Sunday May 27th, 2012

Ryan Ritchey (Baseball Writer): The Cleveland Indians are off to a hot start for the second straight season. Last year it didn’t last… and the team ended up falling apart. What is going to happen this season? Will the pitching stay strong until the end of the season or fall off the map when it most counts? Asdrubal Cabrera has come down with a pulled hamstring in the past week and will be out. This could really end up affecting the team, or he could come back soon and be fine. The thing about a hamstring is that it can be a nagging injury, if it doesn’t fully heal properly. If I’m Manny Acta, I sit Cabrera until he is fully healthy.

To answer some of the above questions, I believe the starting pitching will last past the All-Star Break and the Cleveland Indians will have a shot at the AL Central crown. With Ubaldo Jimenez, Justin Masterson, and veteran Derek Lowe the Indians pitching staff is one of the best in its division.  Or at least it should be on paper. Derek Lowe with a 3.25 ERA and 6wins has been a horse for the Indians. The biggest surprise thus far for this team is Chris Perez, who has 16 saves in 17 chances. With a sweep of the Tigers this past week, the Indians made a statement in the American League Central. They are ready to show that least year was no fluke and that Cleveland is ready to return to the promised land. The MLB playoffs. With another Wild Card added this year, the Indians have to like their chances at postseason glory. Read the rest of this entry

Michael Choice Has Tremendous Power: A’s Prospect is On the Verge

Sunday May 27th, 2012

Sam Evans: Oakland Athletics prospect Michael Choice was drafted by the A’s 10th overall in the 2010 MLB Amateur draft. Looking back at the pick, most of the players drafted before Choice have risen quicker through their respective systems, but Choice still looks like a nice selection by Billy Beane and his scouting department. Michael Choice has 70 grade power, so even though his tools are raw, it’s hard not to like a future All-Star.

Michael Choice was born in 1989 in Forth Worth, Texas. Being a young Texan outfielder with power projection, it must be pretty difficult to go unnoticed out high school. Nonetheless, Choice was under the radar coming out of high school and he eventually ended up at the University of Texas-Arlington. At Texas-Arlington, Choice began to turn some heads. In three college seasons, or 175 games, Choice hit thirty-four homers and had a batting average over .375 in all three years.  His junior year at Texas-Arlington, in 2010, Choice drew seventy-six walks and he only struck out fifty-four times.

Coming into the draft, Choice was considered by most as a top fifteen prospect, so the A’s selecting him at #10 didn’t surprise many. The player that went before Choice, Karsten Whitson did not sign. The player that went after Choice, Deck McGuire, is a little overrated in my opinion, but he has reached Double-A already in the Toronto organization. Read the rest of this entry

Canadian Residents May help USA Residents with Free Car Rental Days via Air Miles

Friday, May.25/2012

Its Travel Blog Friday:

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-Renting cars in all 27 MLB cities is an expensive proposition.   Some of the bigger cities can charge from $50-$90 per weekday for just your run of the mill economy car.  Throughout my travels in the last 5 years I have discovered many new ways to combat such prices.  Earlier this year, I stumbled upon the latest nugget that I will share for you here.  Air Miles is a Canadian reward that people have been collecting up here since 1991.  It is designated with many of sponsors in order to collect Miles to redeem them for various redemptions.  Most of the time these rewards are personalized to the cardholder themselves.  I found a rare exception.

I learned that Canadians can transfer Air Miles, (in exchange for car rental redemptions towards USA Residents in any of the USA Airports.)  Not only that, but the Canadian cardholder doesn’t even need be present as part of the rental.  The rates are start at 230 Air Miles for an economy car, 250 Air Miles for a compact and 310 for a Full-Size Car.  The only state that the rental rates are cheaper belong in Florida where the economy car rental goes for only 175 Air Miles for an economy car, 200 for a compact rental and 250 for Full-Size Car.  The daily rate of the car rental in each airport is covered, the only thing that you would be responsible for are the taxes.  I will give you an example.  I rented a car in San Francisco Airport that carried a daily rate of $49.99, but was about $77 after taxes.  I used 230 Air Miles to redeem for the free day, all that was left was about $27 in taxes once the redemption was made. Read the rest of this entry

Jesus Montero: Mariners Franchise Player of the Future?

Thursday May 24, 2012 

Ryan Ritchey (Baseball Writer): Jesus Montero is not a guy that gets a lot of attention because he plays for Seattle, but he did get my attention. Montero is one of the better players in the American League and he is going to continue to show his excellence throughout the rest of this season. Montero came to Seattle from the Yankees in exchange for Michael Pineda, who is done for the year…and maybe longer. The big question is whether the Mariners got the better part of the deal. No one will know the answer to this question for at least another couple of years. But as of right now, I believe they did. This is why. 

Montero, who should be moved from the catcher position in the next couple of seasons to either first base or DH, will be more durable than Pineda, who is coming off surgery. As long as Montero stays relatively healthy, he will be the kind of player who can hit 25 homers every season. We are just a month and a half into the season and the young slugger already has 6. Not putting too much pressure on him but he is on my fantasy team. So he better produce! His RBI numbers will be down though as he plays on a team with terrible overall offensive production, including an inability to score runs. 

The other big question that comes along with Montero is his strikeout to walk ratio. With 38 strikeouts to only 9 walks so far this season, the Mariners should be a little alarmed. With that many strikeouts he is not helping out the team very much as far as getting on base consistently. You can be a 25 homer guy but if your average is around .24o for the season with an OBP under .300, that isn’t a very good overall season. Any general manager is going to want a guy that can hit for average, power and take the occasional walk. A player that does day-in and day-out is Joey Votto and he just got a great contract from the Reds. Production pays off for everyone in the long run.

For Montero to get that big contract one day and to get Seattle into the playoffs as soon as possible, he is going to need to produce and show he can put the ball in play consistently. Nothing against the Mariners, but reality is that this not the team a big time hitter normally chooses to play on from his initiative. Montero if he evolves as a player, could one day end up in Boston to replace Ortiz when he retires. But that is just my opinion. For now, Montero is a player to watch out for. He could do very big things in the near future. The Mariners are counting on Montero to fill the shoes of their current franchise player, Ichiro Suzuki as he prepares for retirement likely one day soon. Until then, Montero will need to grow and develop into the player that the Mariners and the rest of the baseball world think that he can be.

Ryan Ritchey is a Baseball Writer for MLB reports. I am a high school senior, play second base and plan on studying sports journalism in college. I am a huge fan of Barry Larkin and Brandon Phillips. Have been a baseball fan my whole life and have been writing about baseball since freshman year. You can reach me on Twitter(@Ryan13Ritchey)

 

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Kansas City Royals: Do They Have Enough Pitching to Become Contenders?

Thursday May 24th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: This season was all set up to finally be the year that the Royals would have a good chance to contend. The division became less competitive than normal with the White Sox losing Mark Buehrle and manager Ozzie Guillen, the Twins not making any big moves in the offseason besides signing Josh Willingham, and a second wild card being added to increase the possibility of making the playoffs. Royals’ fans have long waited for the team to make the playoffs as they have only had a winning record once since 1993. This year, the Royals have no shortage of hitting with young stars Eric Hosmer (first base)—who is struggling as of late but is showing signs of coming around, and third baseman, Mike Moustakas who is hitting .285. The Royals also have a strong outfield with Alex Gordon and veteran Jeff Francouer. Prospect Wil Myers, who was just promoted to Triple A, may offer more strength in the future, and Billy Butler, hitting .301 is the designated hitter. With a strong bullpen and hitting lineup beside the slumping Hosmer, right now the only weakness for the Royals is their starting pitching. Presently, Felipe Paulino is an exception with a 1.93 ERA, but it is doubtful that he will keep up his performance. Read the rest of this entry

Preserve Wrigley Field Forever

Wednesday May 23rd, 2012


Brendan Henderson:  Wrigley Field, one of the most beautiful ball parks around, was opened in 1914. (Wrigley was known as Weeghman Park until 1916.)  Wrigley field is one of the oldest ballpark still in use at the old age of 98 years old and it has been the home of Cubs since 1916. Even though Wrigley Field is the oldest ballparks, it is a top-notch tourist attraction and there are several reasons tourists and baseball fans in general want to come to the great Wrigley Field. Yet some people want to tear Wrigley Field down? That is ridiculous! I don’t know how anyone could even say that a great ball park like Wrigley Field should be torn down. I will give my reasons why Wrigley Field SHOULD NOT be torn down below.

The wind coming off of Lake Michigan, the red brick and the ivy that grows on the outfield fence all make Wrigley one of the “prettiest” ball parks. You always see Wrigley Field packed because of the things I mentioned above. Another reason the ball park is always filed is because of the “friendly atmosphere”, Wrigley Field is often called “The Friendly Confines” because of the great atmosphere. You can join in on the fun even if you don’t have a ticket because of all the shops, bars, and restaurants all within walking distance. The overall game-day atmosphere is just amazing. Why would you want to change this? If Wrigley Field gets torn down, this doesn’t exist anymore. You would basically get rid of the best atmosphere in baseball.

The main reason you cannot tear Wrigley down is there is so much history that comes with Wrigley Field. The ball park is nearly 100 years old and it’s still play-able, so why would you want to get rid of it? Wrigley Field holds so much baseball history. Yes, you won’t have the most comfortable seat when you visit the ball park, but it’s baseball, just the way it used to be when Mantle, Marris, and DiMaggio played. Wrigley Field still has a trough in the bathroom, that is just the way it was 90 some years ago, that is baseball history. Baseball is America’s past time, if the Cubs get a new stadium, Cubs’ games just won’t be like they are now. If you destroy Wrigley, you destroy a piece of America’s history. To me, Wrigley Field is like the Pyramid of Giza, I don’t think they will be destroying the Great Pyramid of Giza any time soon, so why should they destroy Wrigley Field?

Instead of being destroyed, I think they should make some “improvements” to Wrigley if they want it to change, I think they should leave it how it is, but my opinion doesn’t count I guess. I do feel that Wrigley Field should basically remain how it is and how it has always been.

I read an article about this topic and some Cubs’ fans think the ballpark is why the Cubs can’t win. That has nothing at all to do with it; a ball park is a ball park. The Cubs’ opponents play in the same ballpark as the Cubs do; the Cubs just generally don’t have a very good team. Simple as that.

Overall, I honestly don’t know why people would even think of changing Wrigley Field. It’s not in the best condition, that’s for sure, but it holds so much history that it really shouldn’t be destroyed EVER.

 

***Today’s feature was prepared by Brendan Henderson, MLB reports Intern.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Brendan on Twitter (@HenduBlog)***

Please e-mail us at: mlbeports@me.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

Kerry Wood and the Unfulfilled Career

Wednesday May 23, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (Baseball Writer): When he first came into the league, there were comparisons drawn to Nolan Ryan. Not just, “hey look, both of these guys are from Texas and play baseball!” comparisons, but predictions by some that their career numbers would shine in a similar fashion. But, after 14 years in professional baseball, Kerry Wood has decided to retire from the league, falling far short of the media’s once lofty expectations. Read the rest of this entry

The Yankees and Their Milestones Tracker: Jeter, A-Rod, Teixeira and CC

Wednesday, May.23/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-Heading into tonight’s game versus the Kansas City Royals, Derek Jeter sits in 16th all time for the All-time hits list.  He is only 3 hits behind Paul Waner and another 5 hits behind George Brett.  If Jeter has a decent last 120 games, he could find himself already in the top 10 all time by collecting another 145 hits and passing Willie Mays  for 10th all time with 3284 hits by the end of the year.  I am not sure how much longer the captain will play, but I think it has to be at least another year or two based on how he has started this campaign out.  If he plays another 300 games after this year, you have to think he is capable of averaging a hit per game the rest of his career.  This would place him in the top 5 of hits all time behind Pete Rose (4256), Ty Cobb (4191) Hank Aaron (3771) and Stan Musial’s (3630).  If I were a betting man, I think that 482 more hits might be asking a little much for the 37-year-old shortstop.  Having said this, Jeter will undoubtedly take his place amongst these immortal men by the time he is done playing the game. Read the rest of this entry

The Future of Delmon Young

Wednesday May 23rd, 2012

Sam Evans: There is a reason Delmon Young was selected with the first pick in the 2003 Amateur draft. Young has always had the potential to be a perennial All-Star, but he has never been able to sustain success over the course of a couple of major league seasons. Now, at twenty-six years old, Delmon Young is barely hanging on to a starting major league job. What’s in store for this former top five prospect in all of baseball? Keep reading to find out.

When Delmon Young was drafted out of high school back in 2003, the Rays made a smart choice taking him #1 overall. Even though things didn’t go as planned, the Tampa Bay organization drafted the most talented player available. Young possessed a rare combination of all five tools. The younger brother of MLB slugger Dmitri Young, Delmon could hit for power and had a strong arm, which projected well for a future corner outfield position. After a couple of impressive seasons in the minors, one of which he was suspended fifty games for hitting an umpire with his bat, Young finally reached the majors with the Rays organization in 2006. Read the rest of this entry

Mike Gonzalez to Nats: Washington is Gearing Up For the Playoffs

Tuesday May 22, 2012

Ryan Ritchey:  With injuries to both Drew Storen and Brad Lidge the Nationals had to go out and find more depth to their bullpen. That is what they did by going out and getting Mike Gonzalez as a free agent, who last pitched for the Texas Rangers. Mike Gonzalez has playoff experience and has the stuff to carry this bullpen until Storen gets back in May. Fortunately for the Nats, they have a fairly deep pen despite loss of Storen and Brad Lidge to injuries. Henry Rodriguez was locked in as the closer, but it now appears that Washington will go with a bullpen by committee. Apparently Craig Stammen will see the bulk of the save opportunities at this point. With Storen coming back around the All Star Break, Gonzalez could continue in a setup role. Until then, perhaps Gonzo may even take over the closer job and give the Nats some needed 9th inning stability. It is looking like the Nationals are making a push for a playoff spot as they are noticing that the Phillies are struggling. They smell opportunity and are jumping in at the right time. If they are going to make a push, they will need a lock-down pen.

The big question is whether going out and getting Gonzalez was a good move… I believe it is. This is a team with tremendous starting pitching that needs a deep pen to shut down games and get wins. I see Gonzalez quite capable of filling in for Storen until he comes back,  and perhaps taking the closer’s job in the interim. The biggest thing for this Nationals team is staying atop the National League East through the All Star Break, to give them confidence for the rest of the season. In my opinion the Nationals go to the playoffs if they are within three games of the National League East leader.

Could it be that the Nationals front office wants to put people in the seats? That is a possibility, but I believe this team wants to win and wants to win now. Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg are in the majors, this could be a great chance for them to get to the postseason. You put the Nationals in the postseason and baseball ratings go through the roof. Every time the Nationals are on national tv, my twitter feed is filled with Harper tweets. The kid is taking over baseball right now, no doubt about that. 2012 could be a big year in Washington, as the Nationals move to contenders from pretenders.

Ryan Ritchey is a Baseball Writer for MLB reports. I am a high school senior, play second base and plan on studying sports journalism in college. I am a huge fan of Barry Larkin and Brandon Phillips. Have been a baseball fan my whole life and have been writing about baseball since freshman year. You can reach me on Twitter(@Ryan13Ritchey)

Please e-mail us at: mlbreports@me.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.  To subscribe to our website and have the Daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

MLB Should Investigate a Payroll/Geographical Look into Division Re-Alignment

Monday, May.21/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Despite being a Yankees fan, I admit the economics of baseball are way out of whack. I was talking with a few other fans about the MLB and thought of a radical new change in division re-alignment that may finally end the disparity between all ball clubs having a chance to make the playoffs each year. Much like soccer, it would kind of be a tier system. Scheduling and travel wise it makes a lot more sense as well. For those hardcore fans I would also make each team play at least 3 games against every other team in the Majors. Let’s see if you like what I have done.

The new AL would feature the bigger payroll teams. I know this break’s up 130 years of tradition but it is time to move into the new millennium.  There would be 15 teams in each league so that would make for 1 Interleague series at all times.  Under this format you could still keep your 2nd wild card berth.  After you read these Divisions take a look at how I would break up the 162 game schedule-and then demo sampled the natural rivalries playing each other 12 or 19 times still.  I believe this is the fairest and most accurate way to have competitive balance for all of the clubs.  The National League would take a bit of a hit however they should change the All-Star Game to mean nothing for the World Series home advantage.  The team with the best record overall in the regular season should have home field advantage when deciding the World Series and playoff round.  There would be 50 interleague games for each team.  This still only represents 30% of the games folks.  With more teams rotating through the league, the games would remain fresh.  They can still keep the American League and National League Stats separate like the NFL does. Read the rest of this entry

Karim Garcia Interview: Working My Way Back to the Big Leagues – From Mexico With Baseball Love

Monday May 21st, 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  Today we are in for a treat folks. One of my all-time baseball faves is our feature on the Reports. The man needs no introduction in baseball circles. He can flat-out play the game. Karim Garcia. The man has played ball in New York. Los Angeles. Cleveland. Arizona. Korea. Japan. Mexico. World Baseball Classic. The man has done it all…and seen it all. After making his major league debut with the Dodgers as a raw 19-year old, Karim went on to play for 7 MLB teams over 10 seasons. His best statistical season came in 2002, as Karim belted 16 home runs playing mostly for the Indians, with a .297 AVG and .574 SLG. The fact that he was able to produce those numbers in only 53 games played shows his strong hitting potential. Watching him play, it was always obvious that Karim Garcia could hit. He just needed the opportunity to play. 

Therein lies the unfairness of baseball. It can be a cruel and unforgiving sport. Karim played 113 games with the Diamondbacks in 1998 and 96 games with the Tigers the following season. Despite his hitting abilities, Major League Baseball never game him the opportunity to play a full season. To show what he can do with a full year’s worth of at-bats. Few can understand how difficult it can be to play sparingly off the bench unless you have done it. Karim Garcia has done it. He did it for a decade in the show. Despite knowing he could star and not receiving that chance- he persevered. Karim Garcia came back to the big leagues, with different teams year after year, to prove himself. To play the game he loves and to play the only way he knows how. Hard. When the opportunities in North America did not present themselves, Karim Garcia did not give up. Far from it. Over the last 8 years, Karim Garcia has been travelling the globe to play baseball. Korea. Japan. His native Mexico. Wherever he can find a high level of competition and the opportunity to play ball, Karim has taken it. He doesn’t play for the money. He doesn’t play for the glory. Karim Garcia is playing ball for the simple love of the sport.

Karim’s glory moments came as part of the recent 2009 World Baseball Classic. The man was playing in the tournament like his hair was on fire. The intensity. The passion. Every big game. Every big at-bat. If it involved team Mexico, you knew that Karim Garcia was involved. The undisputed leader for his country, Karim showed at the plate and the field that the magic burned strongly within him. Yet despite a strong WBC showing, the majors did not come calling. With the 2012 season upon us, I see many MLB teams missing the intangibles. The veteran presence. The key bat off the bench. Those types of players are the difference between a contender and a champion. What does the modern game need you ask? More players like Karim Garcia.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Karim, as he currently plays in the Mexican league. Karim is playing baseball for one reason, and one reason only. To return to the show. To return to where he started…and where he belongs. It is impossible to turn back the hands of time and unfortunately Karim will never get back the chance to play full-time in his 20’s in the majors. But Karim is not looking to change the past. He has no regrets. The Karim I spoke to is only looking to the future. Before his playing career is done and he looks towards his next mission of managing, he wants to make it back to North America. Back to playing Major League Baseball. Karim is ready to help a team to a championship. With all of years and experiences in the game, that chance should be there. It needs to be there. Karim intends to make it happen.

As part of our conversation, Karim and I discussed all aspects of his career. From making his MLB debut, to the trades, baseball travels, WBC and his future. Just like his play on the field, Karim was straight in the interview. Not holding back. Giving it all. Giving the straight goods. The Karim Garcia I spoke to was just like the one I watch on the baseball field. Passionate. Determined. Intense. Now ready to return to North America, I am proud to present my interview with Karim Garcia. Get ready to see the sides of Karim Garcia that you may have never seen. Might have never known. You know the name and the player. Now get ready to meet the man. The man who loves the game of baseball with every ounce of his being. Karim Garcia is today’s featured interview on MLB reports:

Read the rest of this entry

Ask the Reports: ATR Answers Your Baseball Questions – May 20th, 2012

Sunday May 20th, 2012



Jonathan Hacohen:  Posted every Weekend: Your top baseball questions from the past week are answered. E-mail all questions to mlbreports@me.com, message us on Twitter, post on our Facebook Wall and leave comments on our website! There are many ways to reach us and we will get to your questions from all social media outlets!

Let’s get to your top questions of the week:

Q:  I watched the replays of the 3-1 and 3-2 count with Brett Lawrie batting in last nights Blue Jays game.

As far as I’m concerned, Bill Miller missed two calls. Brett Lawrie was entirely justified in his outrage.

Ok, you gotta throw him out when the helmet hits the ump, but there’s no outrage if Miller makes those calls right.

It infuriates me that umpires are so go**am arrogant and they have so little tolerance for a player objecting to a bad call.

The 3-2 pitch was farther out of the strike zone that the 3-1 pitch, and it looked a lot like Miller called it a strike since, apparently in his mind, he’d been shown up by Lawrie  after the previous pitch. I’d like to see a 3-day suspension for Miller, and any ump who’s that arrogant.       John

JH:  Before we start this discussion, let’s go to the video replay and see what happened in Toronto the other night:

John, I feel your frustration. I hear where you are coming from. But let’s get this straight. Firstly, Lawrie lost his cool and crossed the line. He didn’t just cross the line, he buried it. Regardless of whether he agrees or disagrees with a call, he clearly acted in a manner that was not professional and put the umpire and himself at risk. Lawrie got a 4-game suspension…and he should consider himself lucky. It could have been much worse.  Look again at how the helmet was thrown- Lawrie threw it in a manner that the helmet made contact with the ump. I have long detested when players start trotting to first base during an at-bat before hearing the call of ball/strike from an ump. In my estimation, that shows up the ump and is more likely to result in a strike call. I am not defending Miller though. He was not on his game and clearly made some terrible calls. The league should have periodic reviews of umps (report cards), with specific instances of issue to be addressed when incidents arise.

Given the nature of the two blown calls, I would not have an issue of Miller going before a reviewer to discuss the incident. I would not suspend him in this instance, but a warning and discussion would be in order. Where an ump shows up a player and acts in a manner that is detrimental to the game, then suspensions could be in order. I agree that the whole process of umpire accountability is somewhat of a mystery and should be more transparent. We should have a better idea on the scale that umpires are graded, reviewed, rewarded and reprimanded. Lawrie had to be accountable for his actions- but where is Miller’s part in the process? That is unclear. Umpires should hold power given what they role in the game is. If that power is taken away, the very state of how the game is played and called could be severely damaged. But we don’t want umpires abusing their role and power. The Lawrie incident in Toronto was not pretty and accountability should be required from all involved. Again, I don’t see a suspension coming for Miller. But without dealing with this incident properly from the start, there is no guarantees that it won’t happen again. Read the rest of this entry

Dante Bichette Jr. Looks Destined for Greatness

Saturday May 19, 2012

Sam Evans: When the Yankees drafted Dante Bichette Jr. in the 1st round (compensation pick) of the 2011 draft, some people were surprised that Bichette Jr. got drafted so high. Several draft experts didn’t see Bichette Jr. as a player that would go in the first one hundred picks. However, the Yankees fell in love with his bat speed, and so far picking Bichette Jr. is looking like a smart choice. What kind of player will Bichette Jr. be if he reaches his ceiling? What position will he eventually end up playing? Keep reading to find out.

Dante Bichette Jr. comes from a strong baseball family. His dad, Dante Bichette, was a phenomenal hitter for the Colorado Rockies in the nineties. Bichette played in fourteen seasons, and averaged a .299 AVG and 26 homers per year. The four-time All-Star outfielder was drafted in the 17th round of the 1984 MLB amateur draft. Having a dad who played in the majors never solidifies where you’ll be drafted, but having baseball in your blood definitely helps. Read the rest of this entry

Joey Votto: Ready to be Crowned the Best First Baseman in Baseball

Saturday May 19th, 2012

Brendan Henderson:  Joey Votto, the 28-year-old first basemen from Ontario, Canada is arguably the best first baseman in baseball. Votto has “been in the shadow” of Albert Pujols the last couple of years when Pujols was in St. Louis. Many thought Pujols was the best first baseman in the NL Central and in all of baseball. I don’t think that is the case now. With Albert Pujols out west and in the AL, I believe Votto is the best first baseman in not only the NL Central, but in all of baseball. I watch every Reds game and Joey Votto has proved to me enough times that he is the best at what he does without-a-doubt in the Big Leagues.

Joey Votto is batting .317 this year with six home runs and 25 RBIs. Joey Votto has the 24th best batting average in the MLB. He is 23rd in RBIs and is 1st in the MLB in doubles with 17. Votto led the MLB last year in doubles with 40. This isn’t the only year in Votto’s career that he has done superbly at the plate; Votto has a career batting average of .313 with 426 RBIs and 125 home runs, he is in his sixth MLB season and fifth full season in the Big Leagues. Read the rest of this entry

“Deadball” – By David B. Stinson: A Metaphysical Baseball Novel Review

Friday May 18th, 2012

“DEADBALL” –  A Metaphysical Baseball Novel BY DAVID B. STINSON

(Huntington Park Publications:  2011)

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen:  On the quest to uncover original and fascinating baseball books here on MLB reports, today we present yet another treasure that we have uncovered. “Deadball”, by author David B. Stinson. A “recovering lawyer” as he describes himself, Stinson’s Deadball is his first venture into the literally world. 

Here is the official Deadball release:

Set in 1999, Deadball is the story of Byron Bennett, a former minor-league player who has a deep and spiritual connection to the game of baseball and its history. He sees things in a way others cannot and believes in things others would not. He thinks the old men working the menial jobs in the diners, dives, and graveyards he frequents are not what they seem. They try to fit in, go unnoticed, but Byron suspects they are not your typical second-career working stiffs.

Spurred by the impending demise of Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, Byron becomes obsessed with learning as much as he can about Baltimore’s other former professional ballpark sites – in particular, Union Park, home of the 1890’s National League Baltimore Orioles.

Part pilgrimage and part road trip, Deadball visits vanished ballparks like Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field, Cleveland’s League Park, Detroit’s Tiger Stadium, Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, and New York’s Polo Grounds.

Deadball evokes many of the well-known and not-so-well known Charm City institutions located in and around the Harwood section of Baltimore, including Union Park, old Oriole Park, Memorial Stadium, New Cathedral Cemetery, Greenmount Cemetery, the Stone Tavern, Ron’s Billiards, Byrdland Carryout, Royal Books, and the Babe Ruth Museum.

Deadball will appeal to baseball fans and history buffs, but it also will appeal to anyone who knows what it means to be driven by a passion that others can neither appreciate nor understand.

When I first found out about Deadball, my first question to myself was: what the heck is metaphysics? What is truly the rationale behind metaphysics and how will this relate to baseball? To start that journey, I trusted our good friends over at Wikipedia for a definition:

Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:

  1. “What is there?”
  2. “What is it like?”

A person who studies metaphysics is called a metaphysicist or a metaphysician. The metaphysician attempts to clarify the fundamental notions by which people understand the world, e.g., existence, objects and their properties, space and time, cause and effect, and possibility. A central branch of metaphysics is ontology, the investigation into the basic categories of being and how they relate to each other. Another central branch of metaphysics is cosmology, the study of the totality of all phenomena within the universe.

Prior to the modern history of science, scientific questions were addressed as a part of metaphysics known as natural philosophy. The term science itself meant “knowledge” of, originating from epistemology. The scientific method, however, transformed natural philosophy into an empirical activity deriving from experiment unlike the rest of philosophy. By the end of the 18th century, it had begun to be called “science” to distinguish it from philosophy. Thereafter, metaphysics denoted philosophical enquiry of a non-empirical character into the nature of existence.

Do I still have you? Good. If you made it this far- clearly you have a strong curiosity nature to you…and possess an extreme love of baseball. I’m glad to hear. It was worth the trip. Don’t let the metaphysics talk fool you. Yes, the book has a deep inquisitive and philosophical side to it. But when reading the book, you don’t think along those lines. A good book is based on the strength of the author as a storyteller. To be able to take a reader and have them step into the shoes of the lead character. To see their world. To see their story…through “those” eyes. The lead in this tale is Byron Bennett. I have to say, I got completely lost in Bennett’s world. There were times that I felt like I wanted to fire up a Doors cd, turn on lava lamp and become zen with Deadball. The book captured my attention and got me thinking. Part of the strong points that I always look for in a baseball book.  Read the rest of this entry

Using Pay As You Go Phones in Canada or the USA for Vacation

Friday, May.18/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter) Fridays are Travel Article Days:- After several years of traveling across the United States of America as a Canadian, I finally have a livable cell phone bill to come home to after being gone for 6 weeks.  How did I do this you ask?  I bought a prepaid cellphone from 7-Eleven (From T-Mobile) and bought a one month unlimited Talk-Text and Web phone.  Sure I took some ribbing on how ancient the phone looked and worked (It still has the abc-1 buttons to press in order to send out messages,) but I pressed on.  Having unlimited domestic(USA) talking minutes was actually the best feature of the whole deal.  I also used this phone for texting, Facebooking and tweeting.  I also took numerous pictures from each baseball park and sent them to my Gmail account.  This made it easier to post on social media outlets.  On a couple of different occasions I was able to reserve hotel rooms online directly from surfing the web in different cities. Read the rest of this entry

Cole Hamels: Will the Phillies Third Ace Stay in the City of Brotherly Love?

Wednesday May 16, 2012

Bryan Sheehan (Baseball Writer): Cole Hamels has been with the Phillies Organization since he was drafted by them in the first round of the 2002 draft, when he was just 18 years old. He made his debut with the club at the age of 22, and won the World Series in 2008, taking home the Series MVP award after two solid performances (his second start was cut short by the infamous rain delay that cut Game Five into two parts). Now 28, Hamels is facing the biggest decision of his life, as his contract expires at the end of this season. While he is technically the third starter for the Phillies, behind Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, there is no doubt that Cole is one of the best aces in the league. He finished fifth in Cy Young voting for 2011 after going 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA. And yet, the Phillies don’t seem to worried about resigning or extending their longest tenured pitcher. After all, they do have both Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, and considering his prowess, Hamels will likely fetch a gargantuan contract. On the other hand, the Phillies pitching is the only thing keeping them above water right now. So, should the club make a bigger push to resign the ace, or should they look to trade him during the season? Read the rest of this entry

MLB Payroll Report: Rating the Value of Each club Per Win

Wednesday, May.16/2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Once again the New York Yankees top the charts for payrolls in the Majors, although the other teams are definitely catching up a little.  Now while the below charts tell us a story on value, obviously you are better off being one of the teams that spends more money.  Tampa Bay, Toronto and Baltimore are amongst some of the best valued teams for payroll and wins so far.  This bodes well for the competitive balance in the American League East long-term.  What I am also seeing, is that teams that are on the bottom of the payroll scale are starting to invest money in their teams.  One can only hope that the Houston Astros will start investing in the club once they shift over to the AL West.  Oakland may be still playing ‘Moneyball’ as the top value for each win, however this concept will only carry them so far.  The team still needs to find a long-term home so they can catch up with the moneys spent by the rest of the Major Leagues. Read the rest of this entry

Can Miguel Tejada Provide Any Value for the Orioles in 2012?

Tuesday May 15th, 2012

Sam Evans: He’s baaaack! Miguel Tejada’s career has gone down the path that most MLB superstars travel as they get older. Once the best-hitting shortstop in the league, Tejada has now morphed into a weak-hitting veteran who can no longer get on base as easily. However, Tejada can still provide value to a rebuilding team who needs a veteran middle infielder to back up their young starters. The Orioles recently signed Tejada to a low-risk minor league deal, and he has a decent chance of playing in the majors before mid-season.

Miguel Tejada used to be a truly outstanding hitter. From 2001 to 2006, Tejada didn’t miss one game. As a primarily offensive-minded player, Tejada has been nominated to six All-Star games, one of which he was named MVP. He’s also won a Home Run Derby and two Silver Slugger awards. Not to mention, Tejada was the 2002 A.L. MVP, and he has tallied four 30+ home run seasons. However, after the 2006 season, Tejada started to show signs of his age. Read the rest of this entry

The Miracle Mets: 2012 Edition?

Tuesday May 15th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: The National League East standings right now aren’t what anyone could have imagined at the beginning of the season. A little over a month ago, one would expect to find the Phillies and Braves to compete for first place, with the Marlins stay lurking in the background. Almost the opposite is happening. The Phillies are in last place with the Marlins just ahead of them, and the Nationals (of all teams) in first place. The Braves are a close second and who’s behind them in third place? The Mets. An easy team to immediately disregard at the beginning of the season, the Mets have gotten off to a hot start. David Wright is at the top of the Major League leader board in average and the pitching hasn’t been bad either. Johan Santana (the big key to the season in which I’ll discuss later) has had a solid 2.92 ERA, and Mike Pelfrey with a 2.29 (given he’s only pitched 19 plus innings). The big and obvious struggle that the Mets have been able to and will need to overcome is the departure of Jose Reyes. Ruben Tejada has been doing a good job as Reyes’ replacement so far with a .305 batting average, but that doesn’t compare to the batting champion the Mets had holding down the position last year. Granted, Reyes isn’t performing for the Marlins how he did last year for the Mets, but no one expected him to repeat his numbers. Free agency has a way of boosting numbers…if you know what I mean. Read the rest of this entry

Fantasy Baseball Report: Week of May 14th

Monday May 14th, 2012

Peter Stein (Fantasy Baseball Analyst – MLB reports): I think we can learn a lot from Albert Pujols, Adam Dunn, and Prince Fiedler, namely that it is not an easy transition to switch leagues in the middle a career. Adam Dunn, who also reported to the White Sox rather overweight in 2011, was completely overmatched last season and put up one of the worst statistical seasons in major league history. However, in 2012 he has already matched his home run total from last season and he is actually on pace for a career year with .993 OPS (career .879). Dunn is performing like the guy who blasted 38 home runs or more eight consecutive seasons.  


Like Dunn, Pujols is struggling in his first season in the major leagues. One must figure that in addition adapting to the new surrounding and pitchers, the mental aspect has to be taking a toll on Pujols. Although I expect him to recover, it will certainly be too late in the minds of fantasy owners who took as one of the first two overall picks. I now see him as a nice buy-low candidate for 2013, in the same mold of Dunn. Although Prince Fielder is not struggling to the same degree, his .746 OPS in 2012 is well below his career .926 average. He and Pujols could still both finish the season with 30 plus homers, but it seems unlikely that they will produce at the level they were accustomed to in the NL. Look for them to both get hot at the end of the season and not struggle through the whole year like Dunn. And since Dunn looked to be one his way out of baseball and has recovered nicely, I think we can expect the same delayed results for the struggling first baseman in Detroit and Los Angeles. Read the rest of this entry

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