Examining The John Danks Extension

John Danks agreed to terms with the White Sox on a five-year, $65MM extension and the deal’s impact extends beyond Chicago. Here’s a look at the ways the contract will affect MLB teams and players:

The White Sox

  • The Sergio Santos trade marked “the start of a rebuilding,” according to Kenny Williams and after hearing the GM’s comments it was easier to envision a trade involving Danks than an extension for him. The long-term deal means the White Sox are working with one less trade chip this offseason and makes it harder to decipher the team’s direction. It remains possible that Gavin Floyd will be traded, but it’s hard to get a read on how Chicago’s front office values respectability in 2012 vs. the addition of long-term pieces via trade.

Trade Market

  • The extension helps the A’s, who are listening to offers for Gio Gonzalez, another left-handed starter who was born within five months of Danks. Though Gonzalez doesn’t boast Danks’ career numbers, he’s coming off a better season and will be cheaper in 2012 and beyond. With Danks off of the market, Gonzalez’s value likely goes up. The same should apply to other starters on the trade market.

Free Agent Market

Danks’ Career Earnings

  • Danks will hit free agency again after the 2016 season, when he’s 31 years old. As Danks’ longtime teammate Mark Buehrle and others have shown, durable left-handers who hit free agency in their early thirties are still in high demand. But if anything goes awry and teams have tepid interest in Danks five years from now, he’ll have pocketed $65MM. As a bonus, he’ll have earned the money playing in one city for one team — the club that happens to employ his younger brother.

Extension Market

  • No extension occurs in a bubble, so Danks’ deal could impact other starters’ negotiations. Danks obtained less than what Cain or Hamels would get and probably far more than what Guthrie or Jonathan Sanchez could command.
  • Right-hander Matt Garza, who has been linked to Danks through arbitration for years, could be affected by the deal should the Cubs look to extend him. Danks and Garza are more statistically similar to one another than to any other pitchers in MLB history, according to Baseball-Reference. One factor to keep in mind: Garza is a super two player who won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2013 season. Like Danks, Garza is a CAA client (though they have different agents).