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Transcript of Sandy Alderson's Conference Call with Bloggers

On Thursday evening, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson spent a good portion of his evening fielding questions from the blogs, and Eno, Eric, and I have put together the full transcript of the call.

Before we get to that, here are some of the highlights from Alderson's respones.

On the new collective bargaining agreement:

This CBA is going to change the game as dramatically as any CBA has in my history in baseball.

On spending money:

But look, if you’re given x amount of money, you figure out how to use it and use it most efficiently. There are always choices to make whether you have 160 or 110. Sometimes the best decisions are the ones you don’t have to make because you don’t have the resources to make them. I’m happy where we are.

On his first year as general manager:

If you tie those three things together, what I'd hoped to achieve in the first year primarily was to change the perception of the organization. Despite the fact that we didn't finish over .500, I think overall, the way the team played, some of the other things that happened over the course of the year, did help to change the perception of the organization and its direction and its chances of success in the future.

The full transcript is after the jump.

Matt Cerrone (MetsBlog): Hey Sandy, I think I’ve heard you say in other interviews that, in the event that you choose not to re-sign Jose Reyes, that that available money won’t necessarily be allocated towards the current big league roster and that it would be used in other areas of the team. And I’m hoping you could explain that more in detail, to maybe help us understand how else the team allocates revenue throughout the organization, assuming it’s not the 25-man roster.

Sandy Alderson: I think what I’ve said is that we’re going to start with a payroll number, and if we re-sign Jose, we’ll figure out how to accommodate that within the payroll number. If we don’t re-sign him, that payroll will not expand, but it won’t necessarily contract. We’ll just make different player decisions. I know the next question is, ‘well, what about David Wright?’

Don’t assume there’s a direct connection between David and Jose, but I think the point I’m trying to make with what we pay Jose and the overall payroll is that the payroll’s going to be the same whether we have Jose or not, at least conceptually, that’s what we’ll have. There are a number of different variables here, but that’s the intent.

Cerrone: So that allocated money doesn’t necessarily then get applied to other areas of the organization? You’re just going to use it for other major league talent? Is that what you’re saying?

Alderson: Yep.

Michael Baron (MetsBlog): A lot of the discussions I’ve had with the fans online is about how you’re trying to construct the roster, not just for the next season but going forward, about team identity, what sort of brand of baseball you’re looking to build on that field. Can you talk about that, and tell us what you’re envisioning when it comes to that? Does it have to do with what you’ve see within the organization already, and does that translate to how you’re going to try and build going forward, or are you just trying to throw all the pieces out and start over from that sense?

Alderson: I certainly don’t believe that we are or need to start over again. There’s lots of talent in the organization, and there’s lots of talent at a variety of positions. If I were to rough out a blueprint for our team, it would be pretty straightforward. We want outstanding pitching, we’d like to have good defense, we want to score a lot of runs, and we’re … into on-base percentage with power with as much speed as we can find. That’s a rough outline of what we’re trying to accomplish. Whether that’s short term or long term, that’s kind of the template we would use.

All of those elements are not going to be outstanding at any one time for any one team, but that’s what we’re looking for. There’s reason to be optimistic that we will achieve excellence in some or all of those areas. We have a lot of good pitching coming through our player development system. We’ve got some excellent starting pitching at the major league level. No question we’ve got to improve the bullpen, but I think pitching is coming.

Last year I think you a significant improvement in our approach at the plate, which resulted in a much higher on-base percentage. The lack of power last year was, to some extent, attributable to our ballpark, to a large extent attributable to injuries - Ike Davis and David Wright. The return of those players for next year, as well as longer term, bodes well for us.

Defensively, we need to improve. If we keep Jose Reyes and Pagan in center field, we’ve probably got the speed that we’d like to have. If we lose Jose, that will not be a strength. I’d like to think we’re headed in the right direction, both next year and in the longer term.

Greg Prince (Faith and Fear in Flushing): I’m curious of your top line thoughts on the new CBA along with realignment and the change of playoff format. Are there a few ways it’s going to change the way you and the Mets do business?

Alderson: Let’s talk first about player development. I think there are going to be some pretty significant changes in that area in terms of how clubs approach the draft. It’ll be interesting to see whether the limitations imposed on player development will result in greater spending elsewhere, including free agency. Any time you put pressure in one area, it tends to be reflected in others.

As far as realignment is concerned, I’m in favor of the realignment. I think fifteen and fifteen makes sense. I’m a big believer in symmetry, but I’m also hopeful that that will result in a more balanced schedule so we play fewer games with teams in our own division. I think that’s important in the light of the increase in the number of wild card teams. You’ll have two opportunities to qualify for the playoffs by wild card and only one by division play, which means to me that the schedule ought to be more balanced across the fifteen teams in the league so everybody has an equal opportunity with regard to the wild card situation.

I like the one-game playoff format. I think it gives appropriate weight to a division championship. I’ve been involved in one-game playoffs several years ago with Colorado in San Diego. I know how exciting those can be so I think that will be a big plus.

This CBA is going to change the game as dramatically as any CBA has in my history in baseball.

Eric Simon: I have a quick question about the business side of things with respect to the fan perception. The Mets are losing money right now, at least they have been this past year, and from a business perspective, it sort of follows that you’ve either got to generate more revenue or cut expenses in some way, and the latter is presumably why the payroll has dropped from something like $140 million in 2009 to what we’re guessing is something closer to $100 million in the coming year. I’m wondering if you think Mets fans in general understand the business implications here, and if they don’t, how do you convince them that spending something like $70 or $80 million less than a team like the Phillies is in the best interest of those fans as well as the best interest of the team?

Alderson: First of all, a payroll of $143 million doesn’t guarantee an attendance of 3 million, nor does $100 million payroll ensure that you won’t reach 3 million in attendance. I realize there’s some correlation between winning and spending, but it’s not an absolute correlation. From our standpoint, if you look at the dead money that we had last year [laughs], it was quite a significant portion of our overall payroll.

I actually believe that New York fans are as sophisticated as any in baseball, anywhere in the United States, more so in fact than in most places, and certainly more so than any place I’ve been. I do believe they understand the business proposition. Let’s face it, in order to grow our attendance and grow our revenues – because basically that’s our variable source of revenue, everything else is kind of plugged in, television contracts and those types of things – to improve our live gate revenue, we have to put a better product on the field. At the same time, we have to be conscious of our expense, and I think it’s important that we bring those things into equilibrium.

If we want to grow revenues, we’ve got to put a better product on the field, but at the same time, we’ve got to make sure that we’re not wildly outspending the revenues that we have. If we bring our payroll down to what we’ve talked about, it’s still very possible we will lose money as a franchise, but we have to figure out a way to stabilize our expense side, and then allow the expense side to grow at the same time that our revenues grow. Granted, this is going to be a significant adjustment from last year, but not one that needs to be permanent if we can do what I’m here to do, and others that are here currently and have been here, and that is to put a better product on the field – better and more entertaining, that’s what we’re seeking to do.

What is that more entertaining product? Does that have franchise players that people identify with? Yes, it needs those players. We can’t have ten players making $15 million a year, but we need to be cognizant that fans do identify with and bond with a number of players, and you have to be careful about disturbing that bond or relationship, but at some point given the business proposition, it’s necessary. I do believe that many of our fans, most of our fans, understand that. Not all do, not all will accept that there’s any sort of business element to the game, particularly here in New York, but from my point of view, there does need to be. I think that that’s where we are at this point, but it’s very important for us for fans to understand what we’re trying to achieve.

And what is that we’re trying to achieve? Basically it’s to be a good team currently, while at the same time keeping our eye on the future, as well. And some of the things we did last year were with that in mind. Some of the things we do this year will be with that in mind.

Kerel Cooper (On the Black): I wanted to ask you about the upcoming Rule 5 draft, and how active do you expect the organization to be in that?

Alderson: I think we’ll be active. We’ve already had several meetings here internally. We’ll continue those meetings in Dallas. I think we’ve narrowed down the possibilities to a handful or so. There are only a few ways to acquire players in this game, and the Rule 5 draft is one of those. It’s a relatively inexpensive shot in the dark, if you will. We were just looking at some numbers today, 70% of the players that are drafted are returned to their club. Only 30% ultimately stick with their selecting team. Last year, we were 1 for 2, so we had a 50% return rate, that’s above average. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to take a look at a player in spring training, and I think we’d be foolish not to consider it. We took two players last year, and I’m very hopeful that we’ll take one player, or maybe two, this year, depending on whether many of those five or six players we’ve identified are available to us when we draft twelfth.

Howard Megdal (Lo Hud Mets Blog): I just wanted to provide a little context for the question. It’s a bit of a jumping off point from what Eric had asked. In terms of the payroll and where it has been, back in February, you had met with reporters and provided a range of about $130 to $150 million for the 2012 payroll, and then in May after Fred Wilpon spoke to Sports Illustrated and said it’d be $100 million, you pushed back and said $120 million you called a fair number. And then when we got to September, you talked about more like $100 to $110 million, and then recently you said to Adam Rubin that the number may be below $100 million next year.

All that is by way of asking the why and the how this number came to pass. Basically you were saying all the other numbers, besides attendance, stayed pretty static from April to October? The other part of that is how do you go about doing the financial planning that you need to do next year when you just saw ownership just cut 30 or 40 percent of your payroll just in the past nine months?

Alderson: Good question. It’s nice to know that somebody’s keeping track of what I say [laughs]. First of all, when I estimated the payroll between 130 and 150 in 2011, I think it actually came in around 145.

Howard Megdal: And I don’t mean to interrupt, but I just want to be clear that the conversation was about the 2012 payroll.

Alderson: Well, there’s such a thing as called intervening events. When Fred Wilpon pushes back, presumably that has some impact. Let me just get to the bottom line here: I think we’ll be around a hundred million bucks, but we could be a little below that as we start that season, as I like to be starting a season, so that there is some money in reserve to do the things you like to do during the season, whether that’s at the major league level or with respect to things at the minor league level.

I would expect that we’ll be in the area of $100 million, plus or minus, which I think it consistent with what we’ve been saying for the last few months or so. I don’t know exactly when I quoted the 120 number, but certainly 100 to 110 is less than that. That’s where we are now.

Megdal: Is it hard to make the sort of long-term planning, like you said there are intervening events, but even to plan for the next year when things are so significantly changed. Are there contingency plans, or is that something you’ve built in after seeing that number go down on you in the past months?

Alderson: I really think if you go back to the beginning of last season, or when I arrived here, I never had the expectation that our payroll was going to stay at that number. From the very outset, I assumed that number would go down, how far for 2012, I wasn’t sure, but the dynamics of payroll and the fluidity that has to exist, I think, allow us to accommodate some changes. We’re not talking about a change from 145 to 100 that was decided a couple of weeks ago, and it was over a period of time. And also, these payrolls are a function, too, of what your options are, what your options are internally, what you think you’re going to need from outside in the area of free agency or trade acquisitions. While this appears to be a precipitous drop that may not have allowed for proper planning, I really would disagree. We’ve been thinking through all of this stuff for the last ten months or so, and I don’t think any of us are uncomfortable or that any sort of strategic change has been necessitated as a result. I think we’re still pretty much where we expected we would be. I think if there’s any effect, it’s not long term, it’s shorter term.

But look, if you’re given x amount of money, you figure out how to use it and use it most efficiently. There are always choices to make whether you have 160 or 110. Sometimes the best decisions are the ones you don’t have to make because you don’t have the resources to make them. I’m happy where we are.

Steve Keane (The Eddie Kranepool Society): Your first year as a Mets general manager, how would you assess your progress that you and your staff have made in the first year with the Mets? What has been the most challenging situation or thing that’s happened with you as the GM of the Mets, and what’s been the biggest surprise on the positive side and on the negative side?

Alderson: I look at things in three areas. The organization as a whole, the infrastructure, what’s happening in player development and scouting, and what’s happening at the major league level.

Organizationally, I’m very pleased with where we are. We’re not fully where we want to be. In the areas of structure and process and personnel, we’re making a lot of progress. We made some personnel changes last year, we’ve made a few this year. The more important changes organizationally have come in the area of process as we blend the pre-existing staff with newly added staff. From an organizational standpoint, we’ve made some progress.

Player-development-wise, we’ve made significant progress, I think our approach to the draft last year was a departure from previous years, and I think at least early returns are that it was a positive change. If you look at our top prospects, we were able to add to that list not only from not only the further development of existing players, but also from the draft as well as the trade, most prominently the trade for Zack Wheeler. I think player-development-wise, the continued development of Matt Harvey and some others, and remember at this time last year, Matt Harvey had never thrown a professional pitch. I think some very positive things are happening at the player development and scouting level.

At the major league level, I'm very pleased with Terry Collins last year and I think our major league staff will be even stronger this year than it was. Dave Hudgens did a great job in refocusing our offensive philosophy. I think we've made a lot of progress philosophically at least in how we are approaching the game, not just in respect to hitting, but a more aggressive approach, a more accountable approach that Terry has demanded.

If you tie those three things together, what I'd hoped to achieve in the first year primarily was to change the perception of the organization. Despite the fact that we didn't finish over .500, I think overall, the way the team played, some of the other things that happened over the course of the year, did help to change the perception of the organization and its direction and its chances of success in the future.

My biggest disappointment going back to last year was just the way we finished the season. We finished poorly, we started poorly. Part of that was attributable to injury, but some of it was a result of weakening the team later for long-term benefit. I think for example, if we'd kept Frankie Rodriguez, we would have finished well over .500. I think that the lack of a closer cost us a number of games.

But, the overall perception did change. I think that there is some greater confidence in the future for the Mets and that was an important thing to accomplish. I think the way we finished detracted from that somewhat, I think we were able to move people's thinking in that direction.

Ed Marcus (Real Dirty Mets Blog): With Papelbon, Nathan, and such getting these high-money contracts, do you feel that you're going to be forced to go via the trade route instead of delving into free agency for a closer?

Alderson: Very good question. The reliever market, specifically the closer market, both at the top end and bottom end, in terms of cost, has been very robust and in response to that, you have two choices. You can jump in and be part of the feverish activity, or you can sit back and wait. Part of your decision depends on where you think things are headed. I still believe there is lots of supply, and what's happened early in this closer/reliever market is not unlike what can happen early in player markets generally. Somebody always jumps in early, and then somebody follows, and then there's a lull because everybody else is not getting caught up in the hype.

But also, if you look at the supply versus the demand, what's interesting is there are lots of purportedly high-price closers available -- Heath Bell, Cordero, Madson, just as an example, Frankie -- but how many places are there really right now for a top-quality highly priced closer to go? Well, if you look at the vacancies right now, you start with Boston -- but even Boston has Daniel Bard. It's not clear to me that all these guys that are high-priced are going to end up getting what they want.

We have to decide now, as we get into the winter meetings -- because things could explode during the winter meetings, but like anything else, poker, or whatever -- when do you hold them and when do you fold them? We had interest in Jonathan Broxton as a guy who could maybe come in, but given his injury history, from my standpoint it didn't make sense to guarantee the kind of money was able to get.

Now, with regard to the trade market, generally speaking the two are related. If the cost of a reliever goes up on the free agent market, the cost of a trade acquisition is probably going to go up as well. Maybe not in terms of dollars, but it might be in terms of players. But the nice thing is that it does expand the supply. We've explored a couple of trade possibilities, but I prefer actually to go the free agent route because it doesn't cost us anything in player inventory, but we'll just have to see what happens. Good question.

Shannon Shark (Mets Police): My blog is more about the off-the-field stuff, so I don't mean to be disrespectful or goofy, but I'm always curious about off the field -- how much free time do you have left in your life and how do you like to spend it? Do you golf, do you have a favorite TV show, do you fish?

Alderson: Uh, I don't fish. Actually, that's also a good question. When I was here with MLB from 1998-2005 in a very different position, I had lots of time for movies, lots of time for Broadway plays and other things. Now instead of watching Lion King, I'm on the phone with bloggers. {Laughter} It's a different lifestyle. I haven't been to a Broadway play. I haven't been to a movie. I like to play golf, but I've played golf once since I've been here. I try to stay in shape by jogging and some other things, but even that's taken a little bit of hit. Favorite TV show right now is "Homeland" -- I don't know if any of you have been watching -- I think it's great. Most of my time is spent thinking about baseball, and I don't mind that, it's been fun.

Shannon Forde, Mets Media Relations: Shannon [Shark] really wants to know if you watch the Walking Dead.

Alderson: The Walking Dead, by the way, was a Marine battalion in Vietnam, I don't know what it's referring to now, probably Vampires or something...

Joe DeCaro (Mets Merized Online): When the season ended, you met with reporters at Citi Field, and at that time you said there would no preemptive offer to Jose Reyes and that you were going to let other teams set the market. A few weeks later it was reported that you had an understanding with Jose that he would meet with you after he was done shopping and that you would have substantive negotiations with him at that time. There's been so much information and mis-information circulating about Jose Reyes that it's become such a huge blur for Mets fans right now. I don't know if you've kept up with the latest gossip, but apparently there's a report generating some buzz about a potential Mets offer worth five years and $80 million for Jose Reyes. Forget whether or not it's fact or fiction -- I'm leaning towards the latter -- hypothetically speaking, if Jose Reyes came back to you with a five-year, $80 million offer from another team, could you and would you beat that offer if that's what it took to re-sign him? And does your front office consider Jose Reyes a franchise player?

Alderson: Let me start with your last question first: Do I consider him a franchise player? Yes. But a franchise player is only valuable as such if he is contributing to a winning franchise as opposed to simply acting as eye wash for a team that is not very good. So for me, franchise players are critically important -- this goes back to the bonding that takes place with a handful of players on each team -- you need those kinds of players to win. But ultimately, even a franchise player has to make a contribution to a winning team.

Now with respect to what we would do or not do with Jose, that's hypothetical and it would be speculative for me to respond to that, and also very public, and I would prefer not to do that {laughing}. It's fair to say that, in light of his status, at least in my mind, as a franchise player, that there's a number that we would find acceptable. We're very interested in retaining Jose.

As far as his coming back, it has never been my understanding that we would not negotiate until he had made all his rounds, until he got a good offer from somebody else, and then we got a chance to match it or get a discount from it. That's never been my understanding. I do believe that if Jose really wants to be in New York after everything is said and done, he'll talk to us. But I don't know that we can rely on that. So our inactivity at this point, or the fact that we haven't given him an offer, is not based on our confidence that when everything is said and done, he's going to come back to us. I think it's a combination of a lot of other things.

Right now, it's not clear where his market will be. We've never wanted to be a stalking horse for somebody else. We're sincere in our desire to have him back. But we're just going to have to see what develops for him. Now the fact that nothing has materialized to date, doesn't mean that something won't tomorrow or the next day, I'm realistic enough to know that. But I also have a sense of what we can do and what would be beyond our ability to do.

And when I say beyond our ability, this doesn't have anything to do with Bernie Madoff. This really has to do with our vision of where the team can be and what we need to be able to do over the next two-to-four years to create a sustainable, winning roster. I have said on many occasions, that what we need is some roster flexibility eventually that allows us the freedom from a roster standpoint to make some of these decisions that are going to be costly, but to be able to do them in a way that enables us to rationalize the overall roster and the overall payroll.

Joe Janish (Mets Today): Earlier you touched on the CBA and how the restriction on player development, signing amateur players, the draft, etc. is going to affect your business going forward. How is it going to affect what you already had in place before the CBA came about? In other words, were you surprised by these restrictions, and most people are focusing on the Latin American side of the foreign signings, I'm curious to know if these restrictions are going to prevent you and other teams from looking outside of Latin America and into places like Europe and Asia?

Alderson: Very good question. First of all, I wasn't surprised by the limitations imposed on both domestic and international scouting and the signing of players because the commissioner had made it a top-line priority for him, and when that happens, when it becomes an important negotiating point, it tends to happen, even if you have to give up something in another area to get it. So I wasn't surprised. I wasn't privy to the detail of the mechanism for limiting bonuses in Latin America, for example, and in the United States, but I wasn't surprised by them.

Interestingly, I think that the changes to the domestic draft are going to cause clubs to rethink their whole approach to the draft. There are a lot of different strategies to follow. Of course you can blow right through the tax if you'd like, but it does create the risk of losing draft picks, which ultimately is more important to teams than the money.

As far as the international draft is concerned, i think the cap on spending over the next several years is going to make it even more important for clubs, not only to scout and evaluate talent, but also to be able to recruit that talent. In a way, it'll become like college athletics because everybody will have a limited amount of cash and the range of offers is probably going to be narrower than it would have been before, and so a number of things are going to have a greater impact. A number of non-financial things. For example, in Latin America, how good is your academy? How good are your coaches? What kind of educational opportunities are you going to provide the player? What's the home city like? So I think there are going to be a lot of non-financial issues that come into play. We may be well-positioned to take advantage of that. We've got a great complex down there, very well-respected player development staff. Our educational programs have been top-rate; people coming from Latin America, there can't be too many cities that are more attractive to a Latin American player than New York. So I think that may bode well for us.

Now the last question you had is how does this relate to players in Europe and other places, and I think that's a very good question and I think this: If you have a limited amount of money to spend, you're going to spend it in places where you think you have the opportunity for the highest return, and so players from the Dominican Republic or Venezuela are probably going to be more highly valued than players from, well, to use an extreme example, from China or India or Germany, because the likely return on the investment of players in those areas is probably not going to be as high as perhaps in Latin America. So one of the things that I had wanted to see is an exemption, if you will, in certain parts of the world where we're trying to promote baseball, so that clubs would not have a disincentive to scout and sign those players because it was in the best interest of baseball overall to develop the game in those countries. Frankly, I'm not sure how this works in that regard, but I'm hopeful that eventually there will be some exemptions from these limitations so there can be some incentive for players from these other regions, these non-traditional baseball areas, to play the game and be signed and not simply be an afterthought because there's not enough money to go around.

Matthew Artus (Amazin' Avenue): I just wanted to pick your brain a bit about the Winter Meetings next week, namely how you prepare for it in terms of, its on your calendar, it's been there for a while, but do you go into the Winter Meetings with a list of things you're hoping to accomplish in terms of announcing what you're looking for, announcing who's available, or even just seeing what kind of offers are out there. Do you go in looking for specific things or do you have a particular strategy when you're preparing to go to the Winter Meetings?

Alderson: We've got a lot of prep work beforehand so that when we get there we can move quickly and not have to do a lot of ground work while we're there, so when you're talking about the Winter Meetings you're talking about player acquisition and there are really three areas where one can be active: trades, free agents, Rule 5. So we've done our Rule 5 prep, we're in the process of doing that, that's really not something you can do until after November 20 when rosters are set, but we've certainly done that over the last ten days or so.

With respect to trades, there have been telephone conversations, there have been some discussions, some brief, some longer, at the GM meetings, which themselves were abbreviated so probably not as much prep there as usual. We have a sense at least with certain clubs, what they're looking for and what matches we may have.

The third area is free agents, and we've looked over at length and in detail the free agent list. We've broken it down by agent. We've broken it down by position. We've broken it down by ability and so forth, and we've had phone conversations with most of these agents, and we'll continue to do that. As the calendar moves forward, there are going to be agents at the Winter Meetings who are going to want to get their players signed at the Winter Meetings. There are going to be clubs that will want to make deals at the Winter Meetings. Some things will be accomplished there, one can never predict whether things will actually get done there or later. Last year we drafted a couple of players in the Rule 5 draft and we made a couple of free agent signings, and that was pretty much it, but we added a lot of players thereafter.

So we're ready to go, and it'll be kind of an around-the-clock thing while we're there, and then it's a matter of reacting to the changed circumstances. As you get more information, you revise, rethink, and then try to act where it's appropriate.

Mike Silva (NY Baseball Digest): I'll go back to what you were talking about regarding payroll flexibility and roster flexibility. You mentioned franchise players, and I'll use the term that they use in the NBA — max players. Is there a percentage of the payroll where it becomes unhealthy to dedicate those dollars toward those players? Is it fluid? Is that the way you look at this? I'm curious, because obviously those are the core players on your roster.

Alderson: I'm not sure what that demarcation is, but I definitely believe that you can have too much money concentrated in too few players. Flexibility is not only a function of what you have committed currently but when that money is going to come off the books. So if you've got five players and you've got $75 million or more than half of your payroll tied up in five players, year one, and year two, three, four, and five, you look at it a little differently than if you have that kind of money tied up in year one, and it drops to something a lot less in year two, and year three, and so it's a laddered proposition as these contracts expire, then you maintain flexibility even though you have a number of these contracts signed, because they mature at different times. They give you a little more flexibility in planning, and also some comfort that you can make changes year-to-year and aren't simply locked in long-term.

One of the problems with the NBA is that they get locked in so long with some of these contracts, and this is a function of a salary cap as well and the soft cap and Bird exceptions and so forth, that there's no fluidity at all, you just get locked into mediocrity or less and there's no way out, except the poison pill which is just sit tight over years and years until some of those contracts expire. So that's something we very definitely want to avoid.