John Danks and Carlos Quentin both turned down four-year contract offers from the White Sox last offseason, reports Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com. Both players were entering their first arbitration year and rather than take the long-term contracts, each agreed to a one-year pact (Danks for $3.45MM, Quentin for $3.2MM).
As it turned out, Danks and Quentin illustrated both sides of what can happen when a young player takes a risk and passes up a long-term guarantee. Danks turned down a four-year, $15MM offer, and thus essentially made a $11.55MM bet on himself heading into the 2010 season. The risk paid off — after a strong performance (3.72 ERA, 2.31 K/BB ratio, 213 IP), Danks has put himself in line for a much larger contract. We heard in November that the Sox were again looking to extend Danks, and such an extension will pay the southpaw a lot more than $11.55MM over the next three seasons.
For Quentin, however, 2010 was a struggle. We don't know how much his four-year offer was worth, and it's possible he was justified in rejecting it if Chicago made a lowball offer to try and capitalize on Quentin's down numbers in 2009. Still, Quentin's .821 OPS last season was far removed from his MVP-caliber season in 2008, he struggled badly in the field and his name has come up in trade rumors since the summer.
"The White Sox still don’t seem convinced that Quentin can stay injury- or stress-free over a full season," Padilla writes. He wonders if the Sox might again try to make a long-term offer to Quentin (at an even lower price) to keep him under control if he breaks out for another big season that would drive up his arbitration price next winter and his eventual free agent price after the 2012 season.