How Much Will John Danks Earn In 2012?

If they don't sign extensions, starters John Danks, Matt Garza, Jeremy Guthrie, and Jered Weaver will enter fairly uncharted waters in the upcoming offseason as their agents attempt to establish their 2012 salaries.  As I mentioned earlier this month, top starters are unwilling to go year-to-year through arbitration these days.  We rarely see a healthy, ace-type pitcher make it to his third arbitration year, but Danks, Garza, Guthrie, and Weaver are primed to do just that.

Using Danks as a case study, I asked five arbitration experts what they think he'll earn in 2012.  Danks is at an even $6MM this year, and we're assuming a normal platform season from him in 2011.

The ceiling for Danks appears to be around $12MM.  Carlos Zambrano, who received a $5.9MM raise to $12.4MM for the 2007 season, is the comparable Danks' agent at CAA Sports (Jeff Berry) might aim for.  However, none of the five experts I spoke to thought Danks' career or platform year numbers will top Zambrano's.  Everyone instead predicted a salary in the $10-11MM range for Danks.  Zambrano had comparables of his own, by the way, as Chan Ho Park and Kevin Millwood received $6MM raises early in the decade.

There is an interesting possibility, depending on which pitcher in Danks' class settles first.  One arbitration consultant noted, "The best evidence in any arbitration hearing is the current class, and if these guys work together they could really redefine this entire market. I could see Danks getting $10.5-11MM right now. But would not be shocked if this group of pitchers changed that."  He gave an example of the first-time starting pitcher market shifting during the 2010-11 offseason, as Armando Galarraga became the new $2.3MM type and Kyle Kendrick and Kevin Slowey were able to do better.

Chicago pitchers Danks and Garza are particularly comparable, so that'll be an interesting parallel to follow throughout the season.  The 2012 starting pitching arbitration class is loaded with intrigue.  Clayton Kershaw and David Price will duke it out trying to top Dontrelle Willis' first-time record of $4.35MM (it appears both will succeed).  As a third-year arbitration eligible starter Weaver could post a Cy Young season and fly past $13MM.  Tim Lincecum, who is already at $13MM, is headed for an arbitration record-breaking salary.  Cole Hamels is in line for a huge bump as well, entering his fourth arbitration year coming off a $9.5MM salary.  If like many MLBTR readers you're fascinated by this stuff, January and February should be exciting months.

13 Responses to How Much Will John Danks Earn In 2012? Leave a Reply

  1. I just want Danks to sign an extension.

    • JimBaily 4 years ago

      I would like to see the same thing but wouldn’t bet on it. Danks is going to play the FA market and has always made it very clear that he will not sign a long term contact with the Sox. Smart money says he has one year left in Chicago if he’s not traded before then.

      • Beauford 4 years ago

        Danks would sign a long-term contract with the Sox but only at his or his agent’s price. His agent (Jeff Berry) is also Buehrle’s agent who played hard ball with the Sox until he got Buehrle $14M per year for 4 years. I thought at the time this was excessive since Josh Beckett signed for $10M per year for 3 years a year earlier. I assume Berry will once again take a hard line stance with the Sox.

        I agree that the Sox would be wise to trade Danks before he hits free agency after the 2012 season. The trade package (which would likely include a young starting pitcher) would be greater than two draft choices (assuming draft choice compensation for free agents is not terminated by the renegotiation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement after this season).

  2. East Coast Bias 4 years ago

    Weaver is about to get PAID! He has the same amount of wins as the Mets. (lol, sorry guys)

    • phoenix2042 4 years ago

      you know how MLB Gameday is new this year and has this thing called “nasty factor” on pitches? well the NF (as they call it) is stupid, but I did see something cool yesterday. Jered Weaver threw a curveball that was given a perfect 100 NF, which I have never seen before. Highest I had seen was in the 70s or 80s. Now obviously NF is stupid and takes into account basically only location (not speed, movement, pitch type, pitch result, anything), but still it was pretty cool lol. And basically MLB Gameday thinks that Jered Weaver is a boss.

      • bjsguess 4 years ago

        It’s funny how little respect Weaver gets. I’m not totally sold yet but he has been stupid good for all of 2010 and now amazing in 2011. Seems like something just clicked to take him from a solid starter to the top tier of elite pitchers.

  3. Also hoping for an extension of Danks. Buehrle and Edwin Jackson are free agents at the end of the year and Peavy’s a huge question mark healthwise so retaining Danks would be huge.

  4. Made a minor correction, Dontrelle Willis’ $4.35MM is the first-time starter record, not Weaver’s $4.265MM.

  5. I can see Danks making $26 million next year.

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