Thursday's conference call Q & A with White Sox pitcher John Danks, who signed a five-year, $65 million extension.
It really did come out of nowhere. My agent called me, we were both surprised and happy and it went fairly quick. It's exciting and I'm thrilled to death, for sure.
It comes off my worst year of my career, so yeah, I didn't expect this. At the time I wasn't worried about it (contract). More worried about righting the ship.
I've said all along I love Chicago and the people with the White Sox. This was my first choice and I've proven that.
Are you the anchor of this staff?
I don't know. I see myself being a big piece, but on any given day that guy has to pitch well. I like to think of myself as someone who can be depended on for 200 innings and giving us a chance to win. But it will take five of us and maybe more to get us where we want to be. I think of myself as a big piece of the rotation, maybe a guy who can be counted on a little more than some of the other guys. It's about Jake [Peavy] and the whole group for us to get where we want.
Were you prepared to be traded?
You hear a lot of stuff. I was working out and getting ready to come up and finish the year with the White Sox. You hear a lot but I took the attitude that until something happened I was going to be with the White Sox.
Want the ball on Opening Day now that Buehrle is gone?
If you don't want to pitch on Opening Day you are in the wrong profession.
Strange with Buehrle gone?
It will be different, my first time without him being around. He was a great mentor. We will miss him, I wish we would have had him here, but it's a business.
With the team as it stands now, are you good enough to win the division?
I like our chances, I really do. I'm not just saying that. There were a lot of guys, including myself, who underperformed. There are guys with great, long track records who had down years. It was a perfect storm. We have a lot of the same guys back who are very capable of doing the opposite of what we did last year.
Does big contract put pressure on you or take it away?
A little bit of both. I bet on myself the last few years [by not signing long-term deals]. I had no problem doing that, I'm a confident guy. I'm being counted on to help us win. I'm going to do that regardless. It does take a little pressure off because you don't have to worry about it but at the end of the day my job is to win ballgames, contract or no contract.