Mystery pitcher revealed. OK, so John Danks isn’t much of a mystery at all. He’s been a very good pitcher for the past four seasons, and any team would be lucky to have him among their starting five. Last night he came off a DL stint and pitched very well, albeit against a not-so-impressive Kansas City lineup. He would fit right into the Yankees rotation not only in 2011, but also in the future.
Before we launch into the pros and cons of Danks, let’s first look at the White Sox situation. They’re currently 47-51, realistically putting them out of the Wild Card race. That leaves only the division, and while they’re only 4.5 games back in a wide open AL Central, they’ve done nothing this year to show that they’re capable of catching Detroit and Cleveland. Hell, just watch Ozzie Guillen after last night’s game. He sounds precisely like a guy managing a team that is going nowhere.
Yet the White Sox aren’t necessarily sellers. I can’t remember a time since Kenny Williams took over as GM that they were sellers at the deadline, even in their predictably bad 2007 season. In other words, he might not even be discussing Danks. But if the right deal comes along, who knows.
- While Danks has experienced some minor ups and downs, he’s been very good since 2008. He set expectations high that year, and hasn’t quite reached them again, but he’s still put up fine performances from 2009 through now.
- Even though he started off the year poorly, finishing May with an ERA over 5.00, he’s been quite excellent since the calendar flipped to June. In five starts he’s pitched 30.2 innings and has a 0.88 ERA and 1.87 FIP. But don’t let that fool you too much, since he faced Seattle, Oakland, Arizona, Washington, and Kansas City in that span. In four of the five starts he threw at least seven innings. The only shorter one was when he left due to injury. This has brought his ERA and FIP to better than league average.
- He’s a lefty, which is valuable in itself. But he is a lefty with no discernible platoon split. In fact, he’s been ever so slightly better against righties, thanks to his changeup.
- He has another year left of team control, at what figures to be a decent raise over his $6 million salary this year. He’ll probably max out at around $10 million in 2012, which would be an incredible bargain.
- He has pretty even home-road splits, which is a plus for any player getting traded. There’s nothing worse than acquiring a player whose success is based on his home park.
- He kind of, in a way, reminds me of Andy Pettitte. That’s a plus, right?
- His career component ERAs — FIP, xFIP, and SIERA — have him closer to league average than top of the rotation. His career ERA has been very good, though, and he has a good sampling of 848.1 innings.
- All the stuff in the pros column is a good reason that he’ll cost a lot in a trade. He’s not going to come at the price of Ubaldo Jimenez, because he doesn’t have as much team control and he’s not as cheap. But he’s good and relatively inexpensive, meaning the White Sox would have to get a good return for him. Perhaps more than the Yankees are willing to give.
- The Sox really have a rough looking rotation next year, and might need Danks to be there. They might be more willing to trade Edwin Jackson, since he might not be around. But he’s not as good as Danks, and probably not worth the price considering his performance relative to the current rotation.
If available I’d love to see the Yankees make a run at Danks. He’s the kind of pitcher I can see staying in pinstripes for a long time. But if he’d look good in navy blue pinstripes, he’d probably look equally good in black ones. I’m not sure what the White Sox think of him long term, but even if they plan to let him walk after 2012 they might be forced to keep him around, if just for the holes in their rotation.