Anthopoulos talks current state of affairs in Blue Jays’ land
Below you can find a transcript of today’s scrum with Alex Anthopoulos. Tomorrow, I will post the transcript of today’s scrum with Paul Beeston. Both individuals joined the Toronto chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for a lengthy interview about how the offseason has gone so far, next week’s Winter Meetings, plus an outlook for 2013.
It’s important to note, these questions are not mine alone. Members from all of the city’s major newspapers were there along with the wire services. During the sit down interview just about every topic was broached including a slew of injury updates, potential position battles, and payroll.
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @gregorMLB if you’re not already doing so.
Q-in Nashville are you actively looking or just fielding calls?
“A bit of both. We’ll still try to be active. We’re trying to do things now.
“We feel better about our club today than we did at the end of the season, but there’s still areas where we can improve. We still can add depth in our rotation, still get better in the bullpen. Offensively I feel pretty good about the team. I feel pretty good about the bench. So I’d say bullpen and rotation depth and if we can upgrade some other spot in the rotation or upgrade a position player, sure we’d look to do that.”
Q- Deal with Marlins shut down some free agents you were looking at?
“It changed things. I think it’s fair to say. Shut down? I wouldn’t say that. It just changed the dynamic of maybe some of the players we had called on and we had started to talk to. At the same time, free agents we had talked to nobody was necessarily ready to move that fast. It certainly changed. We may have been looking at — for the sake of argument — 10 players. We weren’t going to sign all 10, but we might now be down to two or three that might still fit.”
Q- Some free-agent pitchers who are trying to reestablish themselves might be looking for one-year contracts. That the kind of guy you’re looking at?
“We would. The problem is those players probably want guaranteed contracts, so it comes down to, the rotation the way it’s set up — whatever the order is, but, Buehrle, Johnson, Romero, Morrow, Happ — all those guys are, no one’s a zero-three player in terms of service time. We said from the outset we weren’t going to guarantee Happ that fifth spot. He’s definitely a front runner and going to compete for that spot. But we’d have to feel that anybody we get, especially if we’re going to guarantee them a contract, they’re going to want the opportunity to start, that they would be an upgrade over the current five.
“So the likelihood is that a minor-league free-agent signing, probably try to be more active there. I think if you see us give a guaranteed contract to a starter that’s going to be someone we think is going to beat out someone in the current rotation or would be willing to compete and end up in the ‘pen. And some of those guys want a guaranteed starting spot.”
Q- What was it about last year where the depth didn’t work out?
“We had an inordinate number of injuries. I think we had the most DL days in the history of the organization, double the DL days of what we averaged in the past five years or so and I’ve been here for all five of those years. I thought we had enough bodies. We always plan to have 11 guys that have the ability to start.
“After your first five starters, the remaining six, three might get 10 starts, one of them might get two or three. We had enough bodies, but everybody broke down. I think all I can learn from that is to continue to stockpile depth and not rely on as much youth in the starting five. I think we had enough bodies, but out of the guys we were counting on to be in our rotation, the inexperience, the youth, maybe those guys should have been that depth for us. Maybe an Alvarez, last year, as well as he performed at the end of September in 2011, maybe we should have gone into it saying, ‘You know, as good as he looked, maybe he should be optioned and we’ll just have depth and he’ll be sitting there as our sixth starter.’ Rather than pretty much guaranteeing him a job coming into the year.”
Q-In the 6-10 guys, how many bodies do you have in place?
“We have bodies, it’s just: what’s the quality? Some guys, especially the minor-league free agents we signed or guys that we claimed off waivers and so on. Until you get to see them, you don’t know. Some guys emerge. We didn’t know what we were going to get out of a guy like Aaron Laffey last year. Relatively speaking I think he did a solid job for us on a guy that was a minor-league free agent. I don’t think we planned on him getting 18 starts. He probably would have been more valuable if we only had four or five starts out of him. I think you just try to get as much quality as you can.
“But you look at the teams that win, they normally don’t have to us 10 starters or 11 starters. When it comes to that point something’s gone wrong; guys are not performing or guys are getting hurt. Most teams that win use somewhere in the eight range. Obviously health is important for all clubs.”
Q- When you say you’re down to two or three free agents, you’re talking pitchers?
“Ideally. Right now we’re not in the market for any free-agent position players.”
Q- They would have to be upgrades?
“Over what we currently have. We have a bunch of guys in the bullpen that are out of options, so that can impact things as well. But they don’t have guaranteed contracts. In the rotation we would have to feel someone would clearly be an upgrade over the current five.”
Q- Have you been fielding calls about guys you acquired?
“Almost all the guys. Obviously you can’t trade a free agent, so no Izturis.
“But on the two trades — the Marlins trade and the Indians trade — got calls on all the players (calls or emails or texts, he clarified).”
Q- Buehrle was hurt by trade, what’s the reaction been for other guys to coming here?
“I’ve talked to all of them. Spoke to Mark a day or two ago, spoke to his agent today. I think they’re hurt. I can’t speak for them, but from what I understand, the commitment that they made in Florida, they expected to be there for a long time. They were obviously stunned and shocked. I think over time, though, I think there’s a level of excitement to come to a team that’s got a chance to win.
“Josh Johnson knew could be traded because year left on contract … It’s the guys that signed as free agents. John Buck is obviously excited because he’s been here and is very fond of the city. But I’d say Buehrle and Reyes because they signed as free agents last offseason, just more of the shock of being traded because it’s not what they expected to happen after signing those long-term deals. At the same time I think they have turned the page and they’re excited to be here; it’s a chance to win.
Q- How does second base shape up?
“I think Izturis is the front runner. He hasn’t been promised the everyday job so there’s definitely potential to compete there. Izturis would certainly be the front runner for that spot. Bonifacio’s value is that he can play second, can play all the outfield spots, can play the other infield spots as well. But as we sit here today — and it can change at spring training — Izturis would be the front runner but he hasn’t been guaranteed the everyday job.”
Q-Can you explain the catcher for catcher part of the Marlins deal? Equalization of the contracts?
“You’d have to ask Florida. That wasn’t something that we set out to do. We weren’t looking to trade Jeff Mathis. I can’t tell you what Florida was looking to do with John Buck. My understanding with Florida is that they were going to go with the kid they got from Detroit last year … and they wanted to make a change there.
“That was not something that we brought up. We never brought it up at any time. That part of the trade was introduced the last day and I was unwilling to do it. I said ‘No.’ It’s not anything against John Buck. I think he’s a very good player. He had a great year for us here. But we made a commitment to Jeff. He had been here and we weren’t looking to trade Jeff at all. From a loyalty component I didn’t think we needed to go down that path. That was what they felt was the final piece that they needed to get it done.
“So in the morning I said, “No.” The trade was off. If that was what was going to take to get it done, I would not make that trade. And we shut it down. They were pretty adamant that it wasn’t getting done without those two players, so I let the day go by, then at the end of the day, maybe 4 or 5 o’clock, after a lot of talks internally, finally decided that we couldn’t let this deal, the magnitude of this trade and the potential impact on the franchise and the dollars involved, we couldn’t let it not get done because of those last two parts of the deal.”
Q-Did you talk to Jeff beforehand?
“No, spoke to him afterward. It was tough, no doubt about it. I love Jeff as a player, there’s a reason why we signed him. Obviously it’s the largest trade I’ve ever made. In terms of total dollars and bodies it’s probably the largest one the franchise as made. I don’t think Jeff wanted to leave; I think he enjoyed it here, made a commitment here. At the same time, I think he also realizes the magnitude of the trade, he wasn’t shopped. The trade wasn’t going to get done without the two of them being included.”
Q-What’s up with Buehrle and the dogs (regarding the pitbull ban in Ontario)?
“They’re trying to work through it. I just talked to his agent again today.”
Q-How can you work through it?
“I think he’s talking to some groups and looking to where they can live. From what I understand they had to do some things in Florida, they had to do some things in Chicago as well. They had to live farther away from the ballpark.”
“I’m not sure. That could happen. It could be Niagara Falls, I’m not sure. There could be some changes to the laws in April. I’m not well-versed in that. They’re looking at their options, but they’re going to work through it.”
Q- (Phillies catcher) Carlos Ruiz busted for amphetamines, drug for ADD. My understanding is that there are 107 exemptions for different things by MLB. Without naming names, do you have any of these exemptions?
“Sure. I would say every team has players that are exempt from it. You have to do an exam, get it evaluated. But every team has some exemptions.”
Q-Status of Drabek, McGowan and Hutchison?
“Recovering from rehab … Drabek and Hutchison similar Tommy John’s, about a month apart, so they’re going to be during the season or some point late in the season. McGowan is on track for spring training, but obviously we’ll see how he comes along.”
Q-What is McGowan doing now?
“Right now it’s just recovery. He’ll have a date when he starts throwing.”
Q-So he’s not throwing now?
Q-Any change of thought on him moving to bullpen?
“Right now there hasn’t been. It’s just at the point of getting him back healthy. We’ll cross that bridge hopefully when we get to it.”
Q-Any headway on reviewing pitching injuries?
“Not yet. We’ll look at a few things. There are some things that we looked at. I know there are some things specifically that we can address and change. Things I’d rather keep private. It’s not from a training standpoint.
“There’s some things as we review the season we’re examining a little more. Just some things we can look at, workloads and whatnot. Again, we don’t know for certain. We think there may be something there. But we haven’t drawn any conclusions. Right now we have some ideas on some of the things that may have occurred.”
Q-Did Bruce Walton pay the price for all the pitchers that were hurt?
“No, not at all. Bruce has been in the organization a long time and prior to this past year we had great health. Bruce’s first year on the job in 2010 … the top four starters had never pitched 200 innings and they all made it through the season. So I think it was one of those things for John it was tough to make that change but he really felt strongly about Pete and wanted to go with him.”
Q-Could Bruce stay in organization?
“He might. Right now we don’t have a role. Bruce has been here a long time. He’s done a great job. It’s the unfortunate part about being in these spots. We’re not going to rule it out. Right now we don’t have anything, but things change. You get a phone call from a club, a spot opens up. We’re going to do our best, is the guess the best way I can put it. We’re not closing the doors on that at all.”
Q-When pitching went south, did combo of Farrell and Walton cause problems for pitchers?
“I don’t think so. I didn’t see that and I didn’t think so. You’d have to ask them. No one ever expressed that to me. I never had Bruce or John express that to me. If there was anything like that at all it was definitely not expressed to me. I think it was just, guys got hurt and we went through so many bodies and there was just so much turnover. Then we had a bunch of starters go 1/3 of an inning and that just kills your bullpen. There’s just so much turnover there’s no way to have any continuity.”
Q-One guy that’s been given a free pass has been your centre fielder. Is he a guy that people are still interested in or is he your long-term guy you might think of extending?
“You know what, I never talk about who we’re going to extend who we’re not going to extend. With Colby, at the all-star break, I think he was at 17 home runs, I think he had an over .800 OPS. He was having an unbelievable season. The last two months he did not play well at all.
“We’ve talked about it internally, what went wrong and so on. We think there could be a component of fatigue. He played all the time and one of the issues is that he hits all the time. I remember being in Miami and he had a good game against the Marlins, it was on a Saturday, I think he hit a home run or even two in the game. Afterwards, we played a day game, players were going to go out that night and enjoy themselves. He was going to go to the cage and hit. He just wanted to keep going.
“One thing we’re going to talk to him about is maybe learning to work a little smarter. He doesn’t need to work as hard as he does. He doesn’t need to take as many reps in the cage. It seems like now two years in a row he wears down at the end of the season and maybe we have to watch, give him some rest, give him some days off. We were so banged up from a position-player’s standpoint, we didn’t have that much depth on the bench.
“Colby didn’t necessarily get a tonne of days off. He was banged up as well. It’s not to make excuses for him. It’s the only thing that we can point to, that he did seem to wear down and tire, because the first half of the season he played so well.”
Q — Surprising that someone who has played that many years in big leagues is still getting tired?
“If you’re playing every day, and then you’re hitting, you’re taking a million swings in the cage in the morning, a million swings in the afternoon, a million swings at night, I think you can wear down. I think it’s a matter of learning how to work smarter. Roy Halladay was the same early in his career when he overworked himself, wore himself out in the offseason trying to get ready.
“I think over time you learn yourself, you learn your body, you learn how to do things. So, I think some players just have to adjust their routine. He’s still a young player, he’s 26, he has four years in now. I think it’s just learning how to get through a season and I think he had that success in the first half and my thought is to maintain that success, to keep it going, his work ethic, he almost works too hard.”
Q — Have you had conversations, the staff had conversations, with him about that last season?
“No, because it’s something we look back on. You go through the roster and you look at everything, pinpointing, and you start to look at it, start to have conversations. Whether it’s with the trainers, strength guys, and so on. That’s a theory. I don’t know that. Colby might manage his work a little bit better, maybe his results would still be the same. That’s something we’ll talk to him about but it’s a theory that makes a lot of sense from the conversations that I’ve had.”
Q — Regarding catching situation, Arencibia/Buck/Wilson/d’Arnaud…
“Right now, Bobby Wilson is an arbitration-eligible player, he’s out of options. We have a decision to make on him by Friday … I don’t see us carrying three guys to Opening Day. I think things can change.”
Q — On d’Arnaud’s situation…
“Travis wouldn’t come up unless there was a need, someone got hurt, someone got traded. It’s like the year when J.P. was having an MVP-calibre season down in Las Vegas. John Buck was having an All-Star year here so there was no room for him. But things can change.
“Travis has played some other spots, he has played some first, he can obviously DH. If his bat plays that well in the Minor Leagues and you think he can help, we’ll try to find a spot for him. I’d love to be in that position.”
Q – Last season you seemed pretty adamant about d’Arnaud being able to crack next year’s team. What has changed?
“I think I said he’d have a chance to compete. We’d be open minded to him competing, we wouldn’t rule it out. Adam Lind was sent down, he wasn’t promised a job. I think the lineup has changed a little bit now, we have more options, we have a little more depth, we had a young guy in left field but we feel pretty good about that now. The infield, there was just a lot of uncertainty I guess from a positional player standpoint and that’s where Travis is better than some of the guys.
“Lind is in the same spot, obviously he’s not guaranteed anything. He finished the season well, played well the last two months but he has to go out and prove it. d’Arnaud right now, if the season was to start today, we haven’t seen him come back from the injury, he’ll be in the Minor Leagues. But if he does force our hand there are always ways to make trades or find a spot for him.”
Q — On d’Arnaud playing some first base in the Minor Leagues. Is that an option?
“Could be. But right now we see him behind the plate long term. You never know. The fact that we tried that out to see if it he does hit that well, and if we have the need, we’d have the ability to call him up.”
Q — Did Hechavarria’s potential change in your mind?
“No, not at all. When we were doing the trade, we didn’t need a shortstop per say It wasn’t an area of weakness for the ballclub. We were clearly talking about the rotation, that was the priority. Reyes was someone I’ve always liked quite a bit, maybe to a fault, but it’s just what he brings.
“We didn’t want to include Hechavarria in the trade but ultimately if Reyes is under contract for five years, Hechavarria wasn’t going to take away Reyes’ job. As great as it would have been to keep him, he would have been blocked. He could have played other spots in the infield but, we’re hoping Hechavarria is as good as (expected). We think he’s going to be a great player, I don’t know that I can sit here and tell you that Hechavarria can do what Reyes does with the speed, the leadoff component, all of those things. I think he’s going to win some Gold Gloves. I think he’s going to be a very good everyday player but ultimately we got a star player in shortstop that we know what he can do now.”
Q — Insinuated before, Lind would have to play his way onto the roster. Has depth in lineup changed his status?
“No. I’m encouraged by the way he ended the year. David Cooper did a nice job before he got hurt. d’Arnaud if he really opened our eyes, we wouldn’t rule it out again right now. I would expect him to start in the Minor Leagues … But Adam still has to earn his spot and he still has to earn his at-bats. We’re trying to win and if someone is going to be an upgrade over Adam in the lineup and he has to be on the bench then we’ll look at it.
“I think Encarnacion has gotten to the point where he became the everyday first baseman at the end of the year … I think Encarnacion emerged as the everyday guy at first base but between first and DH we have enough guys that can play there.”
Q — Lind’s contract with options, does it make it attractive for other teams?
“Contracts are only as good as the player plays. So, really it comes down to does he perform? If he performs, then he’s a very valuable player to us. Really what it comes down to is trying to come to an agreement on length, we wanted a shorter deal, player wants a longer deal and there’s a trade-off. If we do that, then we want the options. But if he performs then there’s great value.”
Q — But talking more specifically about the Winter Meetings…
“I don’t think that Adam’s contract impacts anything other than the guaranteed commitment. I don’t think those options have any component right now. I think it’s what does he make right now, it’s a $5-million based salary with a $2-million buyout, and what was the production. I think that’s the way he’s looked at. If I was a club, I’d look at it as, if he performs for us, that’s added value, that’s upside. I don’t know that the options are going to be the determining factor if I ever want to acquire a player.”
Q — Lind clearing waivers last summer sober you up on his value?
“No, because at the time he was put on waivers he was hitting .190. To bring his average up to where he did, shows how much better he played at the end of the season. You got from .190 to maybe mid-.200s, and if you look at his left-right splits, if you look at him as a player that doesn’t face the left-handers, he’ll only face right-handers, close to an .800 OPS, which is a pretty good player.
“I think the marker, right now free agency wise, is not that deep and just look at some of the signings of last year, Casey Kotchman got $3.5, two years ago Lyle Overbay got $5-million. I think Adam has a lot of upside and a lot of ability and he’s still young. It’s definitely encouraging the way he played at the end of the year. If you take away the left-handed numbers, if you use him only against right-handers, I still think he’ll be a very good player.”
Q — Has Lind settled into an approach… regarding not working hard enough, working too hard, with the back, has that settled itself?
“We’ve had a lot of conversations with him. I think he’s learning himself as well. He had the back issue, he overworked trying to strengthen it and maintain it and then over time he started getting sore. We changed some of the exercises. You’re learning yourself and what learns for you and I think there was some concern that maybe he was five or 10 pounds more weight than maybe he should have been. He has to watch that as well.
“But I think Adam now understands where he’s at in his career. I think he’s encouraged as well with how he ended the year but I think he realizes where he’s at and what he needs to do to stay on the field and stay healthy.”
Q — Encarnacion everyday 1B so DH for Adam?
“It’s going to depend on everything but obviously Encarnacion is the everyday player, how many days a week he’s at first or DH I don’t know. Whether it’s a d’Arnaud, a Cooper, an Adam Lind, all those guys can play first base so however it works out Encarnacion is one guy that has every day at-bats. Who gets the everyday at-bats from the remaining three, Adam Lind because he ended the season as the everyday player and he played well is certainly the front-runner for that job, but he’s not promised that job. He still has to come out through spring training and earn that job.”
Q — Reyes injury history, leery of turf?
“We talked about it a lot, there’s always concern there, the fact he only missed two games last year was very encouraging, we obviously did a lot of exams on him, our analysis of the turf is if you’re going to get sore it’s going to be your knees and your back, but it doesn’t mean there can’t be some type of impact on your hamstring. But our doctors overall said there is risk, just like every other player, but not enough that we wouldn’t go ahead and sign the player or trade for the player. If we knew there was a direct link between turf and hamstrings, there would have been a lot more pause, but if it’s more knees and lower back.
“I remember when we signed Alex Gonzalez and he had a major knee issue that he had finally recovered from, we didn’t know how the turf was going to react to it, and he didn’t have any problems at all and that’s where something might come up. We feel pretty good that the turf isn’t going to add that much more risk to him, but it’s certainly part of the equation, we just felt pretty good about what our doctors said, that he should be fine.”
Q — What’s Jose Bautista’s status?
“He actually wants to play Winter Ball, wants to play World Baseball Classic, we’re not allowing him to, he feels great, and I explained it to him, we just can’t take a chance right now. Winter Ball for certain, World Baseball Classic, I told him we’d continue to look at it, the thought as we sit here today would be no, but we haven’t closed the door on it.
“I just talked to our staff about it again, we haven’t completely ruled it out, there’s still a chance we would allow him to play in the Classic, it’s just exactly as I told him, if there’s any concern from our staff about playing in the Classic he won’t play, if they feel it’s a good idea and that it would be good for him to do it, then he’ll play. He wants to play, he expressed to me that he doesn’t know how many more chances he’ll get to play in that tournament and so on, but he also understands we have to do what we need to do with what’s good for the club. Right now the lean is no, but we haven’t closed the door, there’s still a chance.
“it’s just an indication of how good he feels.”
Q — Is Dwayne Murphy invited to help with hitters, or expected to help with hitters?
“His primary role is to work with the outfielders and he and Chad (Mottola) have a great relationship. It’s both. If someone wants to go work with Murph, or needs Murph, or Chad needs to bounce something off him, the program is going to be Chad’s, he’s going to run everything, advance meetings, all that kind of stuff, but Murph is there to help as a No. 2 guy and his primary responsibility is the outfield. He’s there to help.
“Just like everything else, I don’t think one coach connects with every single player. Two or three guys might have a comfort of going to work with Murph, a few guys might have a comfort going to work with Chad, there are other responsibilities with that role that Chad is going to deal with, he’s there to help in whatever capacity is needed. And it can only work because their relationship is so strong.”
Q: Looking to do something different offensively that led to Chad being lead guy?
“I don’t think we’re looking to change approaches. There are always ways to get better but from an offensive standpoint, we’ve been a pretty good team the past couple of years, at least in terms of runs scored, we’ve always talked about improving on-base percentage, I don’t know that there’s a hitting coach in the world that’s going to make someone all of a sudden be selective and walk.
“Can you slightly improve? Sure, but at the end of the day our offence has been a strong suit of this club, John ultimately had the final say on the staff, it was very important to me that he made the decisions, and he felt like this was probably going to be the best set up. We need someone who can work with the outfielders, Murph’s won a tonne of gold gloves, very good outfield instructor as well, it’s a way to have both guys on the staff in the right roles to help the team move forward because of Murph’s ability to work with the outfielders.”
Q: Concern about rookies pitching and hitting coaches?
“That’s something that John brought up as well, we talked about it for a day or two, ultimately there was a familiarity with both those guys. The fact that Murph is here offsets a bit of Chad, Pete there’s a comfort level and familiarity with all the players and the staff. If we had brought someone from the outside that didn’t have that experience, there may have been more cause for concern there. Pete has strong relationships and strong ties, if he’s the best guy for the job, he should be fine.”
Q: Any untouchables on your team?
“Earlier in my time as general manager, it’s only been three years, I would have been more adamant but I guess I would say I’ve softened my stance. I’ve never had anybody I wouldn’t trade, I’ve always had players I’m highly reluctant to trade, but at the same time, over time, I’ve realized if we have a chance to make the team better I’m going to be open to it.
“There’s no one we would never trade, there’s just too much risk and too much uncertainty, especially at the minor-league level, we’ve seen it, top guys, they don’t do well. The debate we have is the best prospects in the game were prospects at one time, as well, you do have to be careful with who you do trade.”
Q: How strong is farm system now post-Marlins deal?
“I still feel it’s very strong and as we were going through the Marlins trade, we still were looking at everybody we had in the minor-leagues, who our top prospects were, we were always looking at the remaining list of players and it still looked strong, it still looked good. I still feel we’re in a very good position, we’ve got very good players. The other thing is you’re always trying to manage ahead, trying to say who are some players who might take over from some aging players and expiring contracts and things like that, you want to protect yourself, especially at the premium spots.
“That’s why trading guys like Jake Marisnick or guys like Adeiny Hechavarria, they’re harder to trade because shortstops, centre field, are just tough positions to find. But I think we’re in good shape, I still think we can make more trades involving prospects and assuming we don’t trade everybody, still have a pretty good group of players. We’re still going to be active in Latin America going forward, we’re still going to have a top draft pick again, there are still ways to replenish. We built up enough inventory that we could handle one more big trade if we needed to.”
Q: How far away is next generation of in-house starters?
“I used to try to predict how many years and so on. What I prefer to do now and with the way the rotation is starting to shape up is have hopefully a solid five that are under control, have as many bodies as we can but realize that if we’re to the point that guys are ready to be up here and they have to be optioned, it’s a great problem to have.
“A good example is when Anaheim called up Jered Weaver and I think he went 5-0 or something like that and one of their starters came back and they had to send him down. He was ready to be up here but they had enough depth in that starting five, and they always made sure they were five deep, Tampa is another good example, guys have to be optioned that are ready, I’d love to get to that point, that we’re not relying on those guys, that they’re just sitting there as the sixth starter, the seventh starter, the eighth starter and the only time our hand is forced is when they’re out of options, which means we have enough continuity with the starting five that we’re not going into seasons banking on a bunch of young kids, in an ideal scenario.”
Q: No priority to extend Josh Johnson until season to see how things turn out?
“Years ago I would have been much more apt to try and do extensions with players sooner and I don’t mind waiting now, we’ve got the ability to extend players, we’ve shown that players that are here enjoy being here and as long as we can come up with what everybody feels is a fair contract, we can keep those players. I never feel a rush to extend a player, I always think we have the ability to do it if we had to live up to our end of the bargain, put a good product on the field, make it a good place for them to play.”