John Danks Rumors

White Sox Looking To Trade Starter

The White Sox are looking to move a starting pitcher, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. While the Sox would love to unload John Danks' contract, they recognize how difficult that would be. Passan adds that Jose Quintana and Hector Santiago are both available. In order to move Chris Sale, the White Sox would need a package even bigger than the one that expected to be needed to land David Price, according to Passan (Twitter links).

Joel Sherman of the New York Post spoke with an executive that has been in regular contact with the Sox regarding Sale (Twitter link) and was told: "We have asked million times about Sale and never felt they would trade him." Likewise, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune spoke with White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf who said that while the only untradeable player he's seen in his time as chairman of the White Sox and Bulls was Michael Jordan, the team isn't looking to move Sale and sees him as a big part of its success going forward.

Quintana has been said to be off limits in trades, though reports last night indicated that the Padres have asked for Quintana in trades for Chase Headley. Quintana can be controlled through 2018 while Santiago is controllable through 2017. Santiago has been said to be easier to acquire than Quintana.

As for Danks, he is owed $42.75MM through the 2016 season — an average annual value of $14.25MM. Still just 28 years old, Danks underwent shoulder surgery in 2012 and has a 5.02 ERA over 192 innings over the past two seasons.


Blue Jays Interested In Gordon Beckham

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is no stranger to the trade market. Early reports have already pegged Hank Conger and Chris Iannetta as potential trade targets for Toronto, and now Scott Merkin and Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com report that the Jays are targeting White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham as well.

Beckham, 27, hit .267/.322/.372 with a career-low five homers in a career-low 103 games this season. A broken hamate bone in his right hand cost him nearly two months of the 2013 campaign, which could have something to do with the decline in home runs. However, Beckham has never lived up to the hype that surrounded him after being selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2008 draft, slashing just .249/.314/.380 in 2,217 big league plate appearances.

Beckham is eligible for arbitration for the second time this offseason, and MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects a raise from $2.9MM to $3.5MM. He is under team control through the 2015 season.

Chisolm and Merkin go on to write that given the Jays' need to improve the rotation, it's possible that they could look to expand the deal to include a starting pitcher. The MLB.com duo notes that lefties Hector Santiago and John Danks are said to be available, also adding that the White Sox covet minor league right-handers Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman. That pair of former first-round picks seems to me to be too steep an asking price for the players that the Blue Jays are targeting, but Merkin and Chisholm feel that Chicago GM Rick Hahn would need to be overwhelmed to part with Beckham.


Quick Hits: Commissioner, Rollins, Diamondbacks

Now that Bud Selig has announced he will retire following the 2014 season, speculation has already begun about who will be Major League Baseball's next commissioner.  ESPN's Jayson Stark thinks it would be "a monumental upset" if MLB doesn't go with an internal candidate, and the favorites are league executive vice-presidents Rob Manfred and Tim Brosnan, and MLB Advanced Media CEO Bob Bowman.  Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan hears that Manfred is the safest and most well-rounded pick, though some sources consider Brosnan to be the better candidate.  Stark and Passan list such names as Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, Mets GM Sandy Alderson, Indians president Mark Shapiro and Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall as other possible choices.

Here are some notes as Yankee Stadium says goodbye to Mariano Rivera

  • Jimmy Rollins is confident that the Phillies already have the pieces they need to succeed thanks to their emerging youth, CSNPhilly.com's Corey Seidman writes.  “That old window's closed," Rollins admitted. "This is a brand new thing. You've still got the pieces, but this is a brand new thing going forward. Obviously we would love to have that right-handed bat, but Darin Ruf has come up and done that so far. We're going to get Ryan [Howard] back, hopefully a healthy Ryan back on his legs and strong."
  • Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers will recommend to ownership that manager Kirk Gibson be retained for next season, Towers told reporters (including MLB.com's Steve Gilbert).  Gibson has a 289-277 record since taking over as Arizona's manager halfway through the 2010 season and he led the team to an NL West title in 2011.  Both Gibson and Towers are only under contract through the end of the 2014 season.
  • While Brad Ziegler has enjoyed being the Diamondbacks' closer, he tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that it doesn't matter if he's closing or in his usual set-up role next season.  Ziegler has a 2.28 ERA and 12 saves over 71 IP and a league-best 76 games this season.  He's going into his third and final year of arbitration eligibility though there has been talk that Arizona will try to work out a contract extension.
  • Jack Zduriencik's mistakes as the Mariners' general manager are recapped by Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times in a piece that chronicles the team's strategies and major transactions over the last several years.  While Baker holds Zduriencik accountable for his own mistakes, he also points the finger at the club's upper management for the larger issues surrounding the Mariners' lack of recent success.
  • John Danks is "embarrassed" by his performance since signing a five-year, $65MM extension with the White Sox before the 2012 season, the southpaw tells MLB.com's Scott Merkin.  "The goal is always to throw 200-plus innings, take the ball every day and give us a chance to win. I've got three years to make everyone believe it was worth it," Danks said.  "That's part of my motivating factor. I want to be the productive player I'm expected to be."
  • "The Cubs are the last-place team poised to contend the soonest. The Astros are the one with the brightest future," Jim Callis writes for MLB.com in his analysis of both teams' young talent.

MLBTR's Zach Links contributed to this post



White Sox Ready To Sell; Won’t Trade Sale Or Konerko

We heard last week that the White Sox had begun to receive calls on their veteran players. Now, rival executives tell Jon Heyman of CBS Sports that the ChiSox are "open for business" and willing to discuss anyone on their roster with the exception of Chris Sale and Paul Konerko.

That means that even John Danks, who just last year signed a five-year, $65MM extension with the Sox, could be had in the right deal. The team also has desirable trade chips like Alex Rios, Alexei Ramirez, Jesse Crain, Matt Lindstrom, Matt Thornton and Jake Peavy (though he's currently on the DL). Heyman also adds that Jeff Keppinger's name has already come up in conversations, despite the fact that he signed a three-year deal just this past offseason.

Not surprisingly, one executive told Heyman that Adam Dunn will be difficult to move. Dunn is owed $15MM in 2014 and is hitting .194/.303/.460 this season. Another said that Peavy will be tough to find a match for as well. The White Sox will have a high asking price on their co-ace, but teams won't have much time to determine if he's truly healthy.

Another executive told Heyman that the Mets could look at Ramirez as a potential long-term option at shortstop. While he's not hitting for power anymore, Ramirez is batting .280/.308/.345 with 18 stolen bases and outstanding defense, according to advanced metrics like UZR and DRS. He's owed $10MM in 2014 and has a $10MM club option for 2015 on his contract as well.


Cafardo On Norris, Overbay, Mortensen, Dodgers

Here's the latest from the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo:

  • Pitcher Bud Norris of the Astros has "drawn interest from at least six teams," but Houston does not appear interested in trading him.
  • The Yankees have had discussions about Lyle Overbay, who could platoon with Juan Rivera at first base in Mark Teixeira's absence. Overbay is currently with the Red Sox, but he has an out clause in his contract that he can trigger on Tuesday.
  • The Red Sox aren't inclined to deal reliever Clayton Mortensen, even though he is out of options.
  • The Orioles, Brewers, Indians, White Sox, and Mets have all had "internal discussions" about surplus Dodgers starters Chris Capuano, Ted Lilly and Aaron Harang, and scouts feel that the Dodgers will ultimately trade at least one of them.
  • The White Sox are looking for another starter because John Danks, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, has struggled this spring, allowing 21 runs in 11 innings.

Quick Hits: Vlad, Lee, Hunter, Crawford

Here's the latest from around the majors…

  • Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers thought Vladimir Guerrero performed well in his tryout with the team but will have to consult with team management before deciding whether to offer Guerrero a contract, reports Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic.  Towers speculated that Guerrero's only possible role with the club could be as a DH during interleague games, a role that Wily Mo Pena filled for the Snakes last season.
  • The Brewers may check in with Derrek Lee in regards to their hole at first base, GM Doug Melvin told reporters (including Scott Miller of CBS Sports) earlier this week.  Lee said he didn't plan to officially retire despite a lack of interest this offseason, though he seemed to be holding out for "a perfect situation."  The Pirates, Lee's last team, would receive a compensatory draft pick if Lee were to sign a Major League deal, though it's likely that Lee would only be offered a minor league contract, if anything, by the Brewers or another club.
  • Torii Hunter tells Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he would consider returning to the Twins next season if he doesn't re-sign with the Angels.  Given that Hunter's stated goal is to play for a contender in 2013, it's hard to see him returning to Minnesota unless he gets no other offers (and, of course, presuming that the Twins would be interested).
  • Carl Crawford has been moved to the 60-day DL to create a 40-man roster spot for the called-up Aaron Cook, the Red Sox announced tonight.  In a corresponding move, Jose Iglesias was sent down to create space for Cook on the 25-man roster.
  • Right-hander Carlos Torres has been called up by the Rockies and filled the last spot on their 40-man roster, reports Troy Renck of the Denver PostJhoulys Chacin has been sent down to Triple-A in a corresponding move that opens a spot for Torres on the 25-man roster.  Torres last pitched in the majors in 2010 as a member of the White Sox.
  • Major League Baseball and the NCAA are in talks regarding increased partnership between the two entities, such as MLB providing funding for scholarships, reports Bryan Fischer of CBS Sports.
  • White Sox starter John Danks told reporters (including MLB.com's Scott Merkin) that he isn't feeling any additional pressure from his offseason contract extension.  After allowing six earned runs in seven innings against Cleveland tonight, Danks' ERA stands at 6.51 through six starts.

Quick Hits: Danks, Mariners, Dodgers

The Giants signed Aubrey Huff to a one-year, $3MM deal on this date in 2010. It turned out to be a tremendous move, as Huff posted a .290/.385/.506 line with 26 homers and the Giants won the World Series. Here are today's links…

  • MLB owners are expected to consider expanding the playoffs in 2012 at their upcoming meetings, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. MLB will "likely" expand the postseason in 2012 since commissioner Bud Selig favors the expanded format. In case you missed it, Selig is set to obtain a two-year extension.
  • John Danks will earn a salary of just $500K in 2012, but the White Sox will pay him a $7.5MM signing bonus between June and October of this year, MLB.com’s Scott Merkin tweets. The entire $8MM sum counts against Chicago’s payroll.
  • Nippon Professional Baseball commissioner Ryozo Kato discussed the possibility of a worldwide draft with Sponichi (via Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker). “Japanese baseball is not an American minor league,” he said. “We have to be tough about things to be tough about.”
  • Two agents say the Mariners claim to have just $3-4MM to spend on remaining offseason needs, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. One of those agents says the speculation linking Prince Fielder to Seattle is "extremely overblown.'' 
  • The court battle over the Dodgers’ TV rights has ended, Bill Shaikin of the LA Times tweets. The Dodgers agreed to honor their existing deal with Fox and Fox will put an end to related litigation.

White Sox Notes: Danks, Williams, Contracts

Here are a few items about John Danks' five-year, $65MM extension with the White Sox, which was officially announced today…

  • Danks has a full no-trade clause for the first year of his contract, reports MLB.com's Scott Merkin.  Danks will have partial no-trade protection for the remaining four years, able to block deals to six teams.
  • The extension "really did come out of nowhere," Danks told media (including CSN Chicago's Chuck Garfien) during a conference call today.  "Obviously, there was a lot of trade talk, and you can’t help but wonder and think…But I think I kind of took the attitude that until something happens I was going to prepare to be with the White Sox. Fortunately, this came along and I couldn’t be happier.”
  • As Garfien notes, this is the first time the White Sox have ever given a pitcher a five-year deal.  Owner Jerry Reinsdorf prefers to keep pitchers on contracts of three years or less due to concerns about health and consistency.
  • From the same conference call, GM Kenny Williams said his comments earlier this month about the White Sox beginning a "rebuilding" phase were misconstrued.  "We are still in win mode,” Williams said. “But at the same time that you’re in win mode, you can be in a little bit of a rebuilding phase, and I tried to articulate that, although I guess that message got lost after I said we were rebuilding. I tried to articulate that it wouldn’t be dominoes falling in terms of a true rebuilding because we have too many good veterans, and veterans looking to bounce back.”

White Sox, John Danks Agree To Extension

Despite many rumors to the contrary, John Danks isn’t going anywhere. The White Sox announced that they have agreed to sign the left-hander to a five-year, $65MM contract extension. Danks will earn $8MM in 2012 and $14.25MM annually from 2013-16.

John Danks

Danks would have been eligible for free agency following the 2012 season, his final year as an arbitration eligible player. Matt Swartz projected a 2012 salary of $7.6MM for the 26-year-old CAA client, who earned $6MM in 2011. That means the White Sox are paying $14-15MM for each of the four free agent seasons the deal buys out (Danks' age 28-31 seasons).

Jered Weaver's recent $85MM extension also covered one arbitration season and four free agent years. However, Weaver has superior career stats, was headed for a massive reward through arbitration and has finished in the top five in AL Cy Young balloting in both of the past two seasons. Weaver's deal was definitely out of reach for Danks and agent Jeff Berry.

Another comparable pitcher, Chad Billingsley, signed a three-year extension worth $35MM this spring. His deal covers his final season of arbitration eligibility and his first two seasons of free agency, which means Danks obtained two more years of security. However, Billingsley signed his deal (it's a team-friendly one) two full seasons before free agent eligibility, while Danks was just one season away from the open market. Danks and Billingsley are similar pitchers who have been compared to one another for years through the arbitration process.

Danks posted a 4.33 ERA with 7.1 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 43.8% ground ball rate in 170 1/3 innings for the White Sox this past season. Only 16 pitchers in baseball have produced more wins above replacement since 2008 (15.6).

Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, Zack Greinke, Jeremy Guthrie, Francisco Liriano, Shaun Marcum, Jonathan Sanchez and Anibal Sanchez are among the 2013 free agents who might look to use Danks' recent deal as a point of reference should they discuss possible extensions with their current teams.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported the news (Twitter links). Doug Seyller reported the agreement on Twitter and appears to have broken the story. Photo courtesy Icon SMI.


What The Danks Extension Means For Garza

John Danks and Matt Garza have a lot in common. Both are above-average MLB starters in their late-twenties who were traded early in their careers. They’re arguably the best starting pitchers on Chicago’s two teams, and Baseball-Reference suggests they’re about as statistically analogous as two players can be. 

Matt Garza

As this table shows, Danks and Garza have had remarkably similar careers to date. Their rate stats are comparable and their career win-loss records and innings totals are nearly indistinguishable (Garza has recorded 17 more outs than Danks over the course of their careers). Not surprisingly, the two CAA clients have been linked to one another for years through arbitration.

Danks just signed a five-year $65MM extension, and Garza's agent Nez Balelo no doubt took note, since his client doesn't yet have a long-term deal. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein says he considers Garza a potential building block, so it's possible the Cubs will discuss an extension if they don't trade Garza this offseason.

Danks has 23 more days of service time than Garza and those three weeks matter a great deal from a contractual standpoint. Unlike Danks, Garza is a super two player. This means the Cubs control his rights for one extra year (through 2013) and means there’s less urgency to extend Garza.

Should the Cubs look to extend Garza, they’ll have more leverage than their cross-town rivals did, since the extra year of control buys Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer time. Garza projects to earn a total of $20MM or more in the next two years and the Cubs may look to buy out an additional two seasons for $14-15MM apiece if they explore a deal. Perhaps a four-year, $52MM deal would work for both sides.

Photo courtesy Icon SMI.