The Braves have agreed to a minor-league deal with left John Danks, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter). Danks, 31, was said to be seeking a comeback opportunity. He’ll earn at a $1.5MM annual rate for any portion of the year he spends in the majors, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets.
Though he pitched in 2016, Danks made his last appearance in May. He never joined another organization after being cut loose by the White Sox after his first four starts of the year. In that span, Danks lasted 22 1/3 innings and coughed up 18 earned runs on 28 hits with 16 strikeouts against 11 walks.
There was a time, of course, when Danks routinely logged around 200 innings of sub-4.00 ERA pitching annually. But those days are well in the past at this point; Danks did top 190 frames in 2014, but has allowed at least 4.7 earned runs per nine in every season dating back to 2012.
That 2012 season was a notable one for Danks and his former organization. He had signed a five-year, $65MM extension the winter before, but ended up making only nine starts before undergoing shoulder surgery. Needless to say, he hasn’t been the same since. And his fastball has never again averaged over ninety miles per hour.
Though the heater bottomed out last year at less than 88 mph, and Danks has shown little to suggest he can return to his form of yore, there’s little risk here for Atlanta. The ill-fated contract extension is now a thing of the past, and the Braves will be happy to add some depth with a minimal commitment. While the club already has added three rotation pieces this winter, and may still be looking for more, it’s a staff that certainly could end up in need of reinforcement at some point.