Red Sox’ Alex Verdugo named fourth-best center fielder in baseball heading into 2021 season by MLB Network

Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo has been named the fourth-best center fielder in baseball headed into the 2021 season by MLB Network.

The 24-year-old, finishing behind the likes of Mike Trout, former teammate Cody Bellinger, and George Springer, only started one game in center field for Boston last year during his debut season with the club.

In said start, which came on the road against the Marlins on September 16, Verdugo went 1-for-1 in his defensive chances, recording a putout on a Miguel Rojas pop fly in the first inning of what would turn out to be an 8-4 defeat.

Per Baseball Savant, Rojas’ pop fly off of left-hander Mike Kickham left his bat with an exit velocity of 84.7 mph, giving Verdugo a 99% chance to catch it, which he did after jogging a few steps to his left.

Other than that, the rest of Verdugo’s playing time came in 2020 came in left or right field, where he did a decent job showing off his arm strength en route to recording seven outfield assists.

Prior to coming over from the Dodgers in that infamous trade last February, the former second-round draft pick patrolled center field quite a bit for Los Angeles in 2019.

Over a 61-game sample size (52 starts), Verdugo logged 475 2/3 innings in center, where he posted a positive-3 defensive runs saved as well as a 1.1 ultimate zone rating, which translates to an ultimate zone rating of 3.6 over 150 defensive games, per FanGraphs.

In that same stretch of games in center for the Dodgers, Verdugo was worth zero outs above average, according to Baseball Savant, which essentially means he was average at that position defensively.

Even with those numbers in mind, the Arizona native appears to be the frontrunner to become the Sox’ everyday center fielder in 2021.

This being the case because Jackie Bradley Jr. still remains unsigned while Andrew Benintendi could apparently be traded any day now.

Take those two options away, and outside of Verdugo, Hunter Renfroe, J.D. Martinez are the only other two outfielders on Boston’s 40-man roster who have major-league experience.

Having said all that, it’s safe to assume that The Shredder, MLB Network’s “player rating formula,” ran with the notion that Verdugo will fill the void left by Bradley Jr. come Opening Day in April.

Seeing how Bradley Jr. is a Gold Glove Award winner and one of, if not the best defensive center fielder in baseball, that could be a sizable void to fill, but Red Sox officials seem confident that Verdugo could handle it if given the opportunity.

“I think Verdugo’s probably the one who — if we were starting today — would probably be most suited to it,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said last month when asked who on the Red Sox could play center field on a consistent basis. “But, it’s just great to have a group of athletes that you feel confident that they could all cover it.”

Red Sox general manager and Bloom’s right-hand man Brian O’Halloran echoed this same sort of sentiment when speaking with reporters in early December.

“I think he did a really good job. He’s obviously a very athletic outfielder who moves around very well,” O’Halloran said of the fiery outfielder. “I have not seen him play center field, but I believe that he could do it. And in terms of evaluations, this year I thought he did a terrific job both offensively and defensively.”

Verdugo’s manager, Alex Cora, also expressed optimism that the 6-foot, 192. lb. left-handed hitter would be able to handle things as the anchor of the Red Sox outfield this coming season.

“We do believe that he’s athletic enough to do that,” said Cora, when appearing on MLB Network Radio in December. “He’s got the instincts. His first step is pretty good. He can do it… We do feel comfortable with Alex playing center field.”

There is still plenty of time for the Red Sox’ outfield outlook to change during these winter months, but for now, let’s just roll with the idea that Verdugo will be Boston’s Opening Day center fielder, likely batting leadoff or out of the two-hole.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Red Sox one of several teams interested in free-agent reliever Alex Colomé, per report

The Red Sox are among the teams reportedly interested in free-agent reliever Alex Colome, per FanSided’s Robert Murray.

Colome, who recently turned 32, is coming off a 2020 campaign with the White Sox in which he posted a superb 0.81 ERA and .460 OPS against over 21 appearances and 22 1/3 innings of work while converting 12 out of a possible 13 save opportunities.

The veteran right-hander is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to net himself a one-year deal worth somewhere around $6 million this offseason, though MLBTR does have him returning to the South Side.

That being said, Colome does have connections to the Red Sox, as the above tweet mentions, thanks to chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom.

Both Bloom and Colome spent plenty of time together with the Rays following the latter’s big-league debut in 2013, which came more than six years after he signed with Tampa Bay out of the Dominican Republic in March 2007.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 225 lbs., Colome works with just two pitches: a cut and four-seam fastball, per Baseball Savant. He posted a 15.3% whiff rate with those pitches last season.

The Red Sox, coming off a 2020 campaign in which they ranked 27th in baseball in bullpen ERA (5.79), are in need of upgrades to their relief corps.

Colome, despite owning a lifetime 5.31 ERA at Fenway Park, certainly fits that mold and could even emerge as the club’s closer if he is indeed signed.

For the time being, though, that remains just a possibility since it is not yet known how aggressively the Red Sox are pursuing the experienced hurler.

Red Sox feel top prospect Jeter Downs needs to gain more experience at second base in minors before getting big-league consideration

While the Red Sox continue to explore their options at second base this offseason, one thing is apparent: Don’t expect top prospect Jeter Downs to fill that gap next year, at least not right away.

This is the case because according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, the Red Sox would like to see the 22-year-old infielder gain more experience at second base at the minor-league level.

“The organizational perception is that [Downs] needs to experience the ups and downs of a semi-normal Triple-A season at this new position,” Bradford wrote over the weekend.

One of the three players (two prospects) Boston got in return from the Dodgers in the blockbuster Mookie Betts trade back in February, Downs has accrued significant playing time as a middle infielder in the minors, but little of that playing time as come at second.

Since being selected by the Reds with the 32nd overall pick in the 2017 amateur draft out of Monsignor Pace High School (Fla.), the Colombia native has played 195 games (1,672 2/3 innings) at shortstop and just 84 games (698 1/3 innings) at second, with just one of those 84 coming above the High-A level in 2019.

FanGraphs does not get too in-depth with defensive metrics for minor-leaguers, but Downs recorded one error and helped turn seven double plays while patrolling second base for High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa last year.

This year, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic prevented the minor-league season from taking place, so coveted prospects such as Downs were limited to working out at their club’s respective training sites, which in Downs’ case was in Pawtucket.

There, as noted by SoxProspects.com, the young infielder primarily focused on improving his defense with coach Bruce Crabbe.

“Crabby’s amazing,” Downs said via Zoom back in August. “Almost everyday now we go out there and we get a little work in with a couple other guys as well. It’s a good learning curve, everybody does extra hitting, so I felt like I wanted to do that same thing with my defense. As much as I hit, I also want to do the same amount of defense. I want to be elite at both sides of the ball, so that’s where I’m trying to get it to.”

As it turns out, Downs did put in the work at the alternate site to improve his defensive capabilities at both middle infield positions. At least that’s what Worcester Red Sox manager Billy McMillon said when speaking with reporters in October.

“He made tremendous strides defensively,” McMillon said of Downs. “There are some things he needs to work on, like his makeup and his confidence and things like that. I think those issues affected how he did offensively. As far as Jeter, I see tremendous upside. His track record of offensive performance indicates that at 7:05, when the lights are on, he shows up at the plate. I’m hopeful his track record offensively meshes well with the strides he made defensively. If that happens, I think you’ve got a pretty good player. I don’t want to give a comp or anything, but I think he would more than hold his own based on what he did defensively and how much better and more consistent he got.

“I think he would be a better second baseman longterm, but I do believe he could play shortstop,” added McMillon. “He made some plays that were just unbelievable at shortstop. I personally would see him a better fit at second base if we were talking about 162 games. I think his athleticism, his skills, would be a little better at second base. But he’s still young. I don’t want it to seem like he can’t play shortstop. I think he could do a fine job over there. In my eyes, I see second base when I see him.”

Depending on how the rest of the offseason pans out, Downs will presumably get the opportunity to play second base on an everyday basis with Triple-A Worcester in 2021.

There, as Bradford alluded to, the Red Sox will obviously be keeping a close eye on the right-handed hitter as he prepares to make the jump to the majors — or at least Boston’s 40-man roster — in the months leading up to him being eligible for the 2021 Rule 5 Draft.

In the meantime, The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier wrote earlier this month that while the plan is for Downs to continue to develop at Triple-A, the Sox could pursue free-agent second base options, like Kike Hernandez or Kolten Wong, who would sign one or two-year deals in order to “serve as a bridge to Downs.”

Of course, as Speier points out, it’s not out of the question that chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. could use Downs as a trade chip in order to acquire a bigger piece from another club.

That possibility likely depends on how the club views Downs, as well as its other second base candidates such as Jonathan Arauz, Christian Arroyo, and Michael Chavis, internally.

Red Sox pitching prospect Durbin Feltman, a Texas native, grew up a Patriots fan thanks to Super Bowl 38

Even before he was drafted by the Red Sox in the third round of the 2018 amateur draft, Durbin Feltman’s New England connections ran deep.

Despite being born and raised in the Houston area, the 23-year-old right-hander grew up a fan of the New England Patriots.

One might think that may be due to former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s rise to stardom in the early 2000s, but Feltman’s fandom actually goes back to the days leading up to Super Bowl 38 in Houston.

Then six years old, Feltman had the chance to attend some of the fan-centered events with his family the week of the big game.

“They came to play in Houston in the Super Bowl in ’04 against the [Carolina] Panthers, so we went downtown to all the fan events,” Feltman explained to BloggingtheRedSox.com last week. “I’m like six at the time and at that age, you have no idea what’s going on in football. So, I was like ‘Ooh, I like this team’ and ever since then I was like ‘All right, well, they won the Super Bowl then.’ I picked them the week before the Super Bowl, and then I was just hooked ever since.”

Still, even though Brady may not have been Feltman’s sole reason for becoming a Patriots fan, the six-time Super Bowl champion certainly helped seal the deal.

“Once I actually got to know what was going on, Brady just solidified it,” the righty said. “Just watching how he works and just being a winner and doing whatever it takes to win. Probably the hardest worker out there [yet] he’s not the most talented guy. He’s got some gifts, obviously, but I try to take that same mindset of: I’m not 6’6”, I’m not super physically gifted, so it’s just ‘Hey you got to work. You got to work.’

“And he goes day in and day out, just does everything he can,” added Feltman. “Does his job, puts his head down, and goes to work. He solidified it, but he wasn’t the only reason — he wasn’t the main reason I picked them.”

Because Brady was not the main reason Feltman chose to support the Patriots way back when, he still closely follows the team today despite their struggles. The flame-throwing hurler gave his prognosis on what’s gone wrong in New England in 2020.

“It’s been a tough year,” he said. “We need some weapons, we really need some weapons. It’s been tough watching Brady. I’m still rooting for him down in Tampa, but man, it’s almost unnatural to watch the Patriots do what they’re doing. They were two plays away from being 8-4, three plays away from being 9-4, now they’re 6-8 after losing to Miami.

“We got to either find a new quarterback — I don’t feel like Cam [Newton] is too bad — but we need some new receivers, new tight ends,” Feltman continued. “We got a whole running back corps, just got to fix up the offense to do something. We haven’t scored a [passing] touchdown since [Jarrett] Stidham threw one three weeks ago, so it’s been tough.”

As a Patriots fan himself, Feltman had the opportunity to live with some native New England football fans when he played for the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod Baseball League in 2017.

“They were awesome,” Feltman said of his host family that summer. “They came up to Lowell and saw me play. I flew up there, we went to a Patriots game together, got to watch Tom Brady beat up on Aaron Rodgers on Sunday Night Football, which was awesome. They were awesome.”

Feltman, then in between his sophomore and junior seasons at Texas Christian University, posted a 1.69 ERA and 1.13 WHIP over five appearances and 5 1/3 innings pitched for Falmouth in 2017.

Red Sox ‘feel comfortable’ with Alex Verdugo playing center field, Alex Cora says

Even as the Red Sox remain interested in bringing back Jackie Bradley Jr. this winter, club officials appear confident that fellow outfielder Alex Verdugo can take the Gold Glover’s spot in center if needed in 2021.

“One of the great things is [Verdugo, Andrew Benintendi, and Hunter Renfroe] all could do it,” chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said via Zoom earlier this week when asked who stands out as the primary centerfield option at this point. “I think Verdugo’s probably the one who — if we were starting today — would probably be most suited to it. But, it’s just great to have a group of athletes that you feel confident that they could all cover it.”

Bloom’s right-hand man, Sox general manager Brian O’Halloran praised Verdugo for what he did on both sides of the ball in his debut season with Boston when speaking with reporters last week.

“I think he did a really good job. He’s obviously a very athletic outfielder who moves around very well,” O’Halloran said of the fiery 24-year-old. “I have not seen him play center field, but I believe that he could do it. And in terms of evaluations, this year I thought he did a terrific job both offensively and defensively.”

Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who described Verdugo as the team’s 2020 MVP back in November, echoed this same sort of sentiment on Tuesday when appearing on MLB Network Radio.

“We do believe that he’s athletic enough to do that,” the Sox skipper said of Verdugo’s ability to play center field. “He’s got the instincts. His first step is pretty good. He can do it.”

This past season, Verdugo managed to start just one game in center for now-ousted manager Ron Roenicke against the Marlins on September 16, a contest in which the Arizona native made one putout over eight innings of work.

Prior to coming over to Boston back in February, though, Verdugo actually saw the majority of his playing time for the Dodgers in 2019 come in center field.

Across 61 games in which he logged 475 2/3 innings in center for Los Angeles, Verdugo posted a positive-3 defensive runs saved and 1.1 ultimate zone rating, which translates to an ultimate zone rating of 3.6 over 150 defensive games, per FanGraphs.

Baseball Savant, meanwhile, states that Verdugo was worth zero outs above average as a center fielder last year, which essentially means he was average at that position in terms of defensive capabilities.

With that in mind, it would appear that the Red Sox would indeed benefit from bringing back Bradley Jr. to regularly patrol center field, and there’s still time to make that happen.

As of now, however, Boston’s current, everyday outfield alignment would have Benintendi in left, Verdugo in center, and the recently-signed Renfroe in right.

“That’s a pretty solid outfield,” Cora said Tuesday. “But obviously the season doesn’t start tomorrow. Let’s see what the offseason brings and what Chaim and the group decide to do. But we do feel comfortable with Alex playing center field.”

Newest Red Sox prospect Tyreque Reed someone club had ‘kept an eye on’ even before selecting him in minor-league phase of 2020 Rule 5 Draft

Even before selecting him in the minor-league phase of last week’s Rule 5 Draft, the Red Sox had been interested in former Texas Rangers first base prospect Tyreque Reed for quite a while, according to the club’s vice president of pro scouting Gus Quattlebaum.

“With Tyreque — a power bat — he’s going to enter his 24-year-old season. [He’s] currently 23,” Quattlebaum said of Reed when speaking with reporters via Zoom this past Thursday. “Big, physical right-handed hitting first baseman with big, big power that you see not only with the scouts’ naked eye, but also with the batted-ball data.”

A former eighth-round draft selection of the Rangers back in 2017 who was previously committed to Mississippi State, Reed has proven that his power tool has plenty of potential in his short time as a professional. The Itawamba Community College (MS) product hit exactly 18 home runs in each of his first two full minor-league seasons.

Before the 2019 campaign even began, Reed entered the year as Texas’ No. 21 prospect, per Baseball America.

In addition to the 18 home runs he belted, the Mississippi native also racked up 24 doubles and 67 RBI while slashing .270/.365/.487 over exactly 100 games played between three minor-league levels.

Despite posting a solid .852 OPS in 2019, Reed also dealt with his fair share of strikeouts, as he punched out in 28.6% of his 126 plate appearances with High-A Hickory. That aspect of his offensive approach is certainly something the Red Sox are aware of.

“There’s some prepotency for some strikeouts,” Quattlebaum added. “We know he’s not immune to that. But, we really believe in the power potential, so we’re excited to bring him into the organization. He’s been someone we’ve kept an eye on even outside of the Rule 5 context.”

A former three-sport athlete in high school, Reed initially played some corner outfield in his debut season upon signing with Texas in 2017, but he has since reverted to becoming a full-time first baseman due to a limited defensive profile.

As noted by SoxProspects.com’s Ian Cundall, Reed, who was not included in the Rangers’ 60-man player pool at any point this past year, is projected to begin the 2021 season with either Low-A Salem or High-A Greenville.

And although he was selected in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft, the 6-foot-1, 250 lb. infielder does not face any kind of roster restrictions moving forward now that he is a member of the Red Sox organization.

Red Sox remove utilityman Yairo Muñoz from 40-man roster, outright him to Triple-A

The Red Sox have outrighted utilityman Yairo Munoz to Triple-A Pawtucket, the club announced earlier Monday afternoon.

Munoz, who turns 26 next month, originally signed a minor-league pact with Boston back in late March following his release from the St. Louis Cardinals earlier that month.

After being added to the club’s 60-man player pool in July, the Dominican Republic native eventually had his contract purchased and was added to the Sox’ 40-man roster on August 31 in the wake of the trade deadline.

In a brief stint with Boston, Munoz impressed, going 15-for-45 (.333) at the plate with one home run, four RBI, and two stolen bases over 12 games played before hitting the injured list due to a lower back strain on September 19. The 5-foot-11 right-handed hitter also proved he could play both corner outfield positions to some degree in addition to his abilities as a versatile infielder.

With Munoz, who does have one minor-league option remaining, being outrighted, the Red Sox’ 40-man roster currently stands at 38 players, which holds some significance as the 2020 Rule 5 Draft is this Thursday.

On another note, as indicated by The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the reason why ‘Triple-A Pawtucket’ has not yet been updated to ‘Triple-A Worcester’ is likely because the team has not moved offices yet. So there’s that.

Red Sox catching prospect Connor Wong ‘made a lot of progress’ in 2020, Jason Varitek says

Of the three players the Red Sox acquired from the Dodgers in the infamous Mookie Betts trade back in February, catching prospect Connor Wong is undoubtedly the least well-known and the least heralded.

Alex Verdugo — the headliner of the deal for Boston — has the makings to be an All-Star caliber major-league outfielder, Jeter Downs is the organization’s top prospect, and then there’s Wong.

This isn’t to say the 24-year-old is not a talented prospect, because he is. So much so that MLB Pipeline has him ranked as the top catching prospect in the Sox’ farm system.

In his last minor-league season with the Dodgers in 2019, Wong posted a solid .281/.336/.541 to go along with 24 home runs and 82 RBI over 111 total games played between High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa.

The majority of Wong’s playing time last year came behind the plate, but he also proved capable of playing multiple positions around the infield, which is something he did quite frequently at the University of Houston since he was originally recruited as a shortstop.

Despite that added dose of versatility, the Red Sox still view the 2017 third-round pick as a catcher primarily. Newly-promoted game planning coordinator and former Sox backstop Jason Varitek made that much clear when speaking with The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham last week.

“I saw him a lot, from spring training and spring training 2.0, and probably three weeks when he was on the taxi squad and around the team,” Varitek said of Wong. “He works extremely hard. He didn’t get in any [major-league] games, but he showed his abilities and made a lot of progress. He can play other positions, but I think he’s a catcher. There’s a lot there we can work with.”

Indeed, Wong did not appear in any games for Boston this past season, but as noted by Varitek, he still spent plenty of time around the club during spring training as well as parts of the summer and fall on account of being included on the 60-man player pool for the entirety of the 2020 campaign.

On top of that, the Houston native was added to the Sox’ 40-man roster earlier this month, so it would appear he is primed to make his major-league debut sooner rather than later.

With Wong being added to the 40-man, the Red Sox currently have four catchers — Wong, Deivy Grullon, Kevin Plawecki, and Christian Vazquez — on their major-league roster.

Red Sox prospect Juan Chacon ‘caught some attention’ at fall instructs, Eddie Romero says

Like fellow prospect Chih-Jung Liu, Juan Chacon’s baseball experience in 2020 was anything but normal.

The 17-year-old was likely going to spend the majority of the year playing in the Dominican Summer League, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that caused the minor-league season to be cancelled prevented that from happening.

Instead of getting more exposure in the Dominican, where he played in the Tricky League last summer, Chacon had to wait until early October to get his first real opportunity of 2020.

Up until then, Chacon had been working out a facility in Miami, which likely gave him an edge in preparedness when he received an invite to the Sox’ fall instructional league in Fort Myers.

“It was our official version of seeing him, finally under supervision,” Red Sox assistant general manager Eddie Romero said of Chacon when speaking with WEEI’s Rob Bradford. “He has a tool-set. He is a plus-runner. It was something when we first saw him he kept getting faster every time and by signing day he was running a 6.6 60. He’s got above-average arm strength. We think he’s somebody who can stay in the middle of the field and cover a lot of range. He’s got a strong arm. And offensively, right now he’s got a projectable frame. He’s very athletic. He’s somebody from an offensive standpoint, he uses the whole field.”

The Red Sox signed Chacon, a right-handed hitter, out of Venezuela for $900,000 last July, making him the club’s highest-paid international signee for the 2019-2020 international signing period.

That is quite the investment, and with that investment comes somewhat lofty expectations; expectations which Chacon lived up to at fall instructs.

“He performed well at instructs,” Romero added. “Which for a first-year signee, usually [with those] those guys, there aren’t many of them we push straight to the stateside instructional league. We wanted to see him and he did well and I know he caught some attention.”

Regarded by SoxProspects.com as Boston’s No. 49 prospect, the 6-foot-2, 170 lb. outfielder will have the opportunity to ascend the prospect ranks some more once he actually gets the chance to see some in-game action. That will presumably happen in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League at some point in 2021.

Who is Eduard Bazardo? Newest addition to Red Sox’ 40-man roster could prove to be important bullpen piece in 2021

At this time last year, it appeared as though Eduard Bazardo had a legitimate shot to be added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster.

The right-handed pitching prospect was Rule 5 eligible for the first time, and he needed to be added to Boston’s 40-man roster in order to be protected from the 2019 Rule 5 Draft.

Among the five players who were added last November, Bazardo was not one of them as left-handers Kyle Hart and Yoan Aybar were the only two pitchers to make the cut.

The decision by the Red Sox to leave Bazardo off the 40-man roster meant the Venezuelan could be snatched up by another club during the major-league portion of the Rule 5 Draft.

Fortunately for Boston, that did not happen, as Bazardo went undrafted and remained with the organization he began his professional career with back in 2014 after signing for just $8,000 as an international free agent.

Even while staying with the Sox, Bazardo did not get too much exposure in 2020 on account of there being no minor-league season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. He was able to appear in four Grapefruit League games back in March before the shutdown, but that was some of the only in-game action he saw up until October.

That being the case because after not being added to the Red Sox’ 60-man player pool at any point during the season, Bazardo was invited to participate in the club’s fall instructional league down in Fort Myers.

There, according to SoxProspects.com’s Ian Cundall, the 6-foot, 155 lb. righty caused quite the stir thanks to what he did on the mound.

“Right-handed reliever Eduard Bazardo was the most impressive arm at Instructs, showing off increased velocity that puts him squarely in the mix to either be added to the 40-man roster on Friday or selected in the Rule 5 draft,” Cundall wrote earlier this week. “At Instructs, all of Bazardo’s stuff was improved, as he sat 93-97 mph and often pitched at 95-96 with, as one scout called it, a ‘silly’ curveball. His curveball elicited some horrible swings, and its spin rate topped  3000 rpm, which is elite. His fastball is now a plus-to-better pitch, and his curveball is solidly a plus pitch as well.”

The way Bazardo pitched at fall instructs obviously caught the attention of Red Sox higher-ups, such as chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, and he was able to leverage his performance to a spot on Boston’s 40-man roster earlier Friday evening.

As indicated above, Bazardo’s pitch mix includes a fastball and curveball, as well as a split-finger fastball, per his SoxProspects.com scouting report. 

With consistent control and improved command, Bazardo was able to fool hitters at a decent rate at fall instructs, and he’ll presumably have the chance to do that again come February.

Cundall predicts that Bazardo will make his major-league debut in 2021 as a reliever, and given the current state of the Red Sox bullpen, it’s not hard to see why that may be a legitimate possibility.