Scouting The Trade Market: John Danks


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.

Categories : Trade Deadline


  1. Brooklyn Ed says:

    I’m all for Danks. he would be awesome. let’s hope the package doesn’t start with Montero.

  2. JobaWockeeZ says:

    Wouldn’t Danks be the starter that the White Sox want to sign long term? As you said they aren’t sellers and it’s Kenny Williams so he’ll ask the Ubaldo package. I prefer Gavin Floyd or Edwwn Jackson.

  3. Htrap says:

    John Danks would be a great addition. How about this for a deal:

    Yankees: John Danks

    White Sox: Eduardo Nunez, Brandon Laird, Jorge Vazquez, Andrew Brackman

  4. 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.

    Edwin Jackson, 2011: 18 starts, 115.2 IP (6.42 IP/S) 3.97/3.17/3.38 E/F/x, 3.62 SIERA, 7.31 K/9, 2.80 BB/9, 2.8 fWAR, 1.9 bWAR

    He’d be an upgrade over all but two Yankee pitchers, CC and Colon. I think you’re underselling his “performance relative to the current rotation” a bit, JMHO.

  5. Dominik says:

    Midnight blue pinstripes!

  6. DERP says:

    Gavin Floyd please.

  7. Gonzo says:

    You think the Rangers want that trade back.

  8. Mike HC says:

    Nice post. Agreed with everything. Danks may just be a pipe dream though.

    • Mike HC says:

      I guess just one thing to add. The assumption that the next five years of Danks career will be better than the first five is pretty legitimate, considering the numbers he was able to put up for his age on the Major League level.

  9. Mike Axisa says:

    Can I have two of him?

  10. Jimmy McNulty says:

    Isn’t Danks at least a buy low option? His team’s GM is more of an old school guy, so that should count for something, right? Not saying he’ll cost “Melky and IPK” but his cost should be less in line with where his actual value is.

    • Mike HC says:

      Danks may actually be over valued by an older school organization. His peripheral numbers show him to be far closer to average than an ace. But just going by scouting and look, he is a big time pitcher.

      I always have hope that we can swindle the White Sox for something though.

      • But just going by scouting and look, he is a big time pitcher.

        He fills out a uniform real well.

        Old School Scouts

      • MikeD says:

        I’ll be happy to add a couple slightly better-than-league-average pitchers like Danks to the Yankees. Many people thought Pettitte was league average, too. They were wrong.

        I don’t think Danks is as good as Pettitte, but he certainly can fill an Andy Pettitte-like role on the Yankees for the next few seasons. Maybe even Bex will develop a crush on him. Nah, that’s asking for too much!

        • Mike HC says:

          Odds of Bex forming a crush on Danks if he becomes a Yankee = Very high

          Odds of Danks having a career like Andy Pettitte’s if he joins the Yanks = something less than scenario one.

          I really like Danks overall though. Would probably even trade Montero for him if push comes to shove.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Question isn’t whether he’s good, though, it’s how much it would cost to acquire him. Betances, Banuelos, and Montero all look pretty good themselves.

    • Gonzo says:

      I thought Nova+Romine was the new IPK+Melky?

  11. vin says:

    Something I’d never thought I’d say:

    Phil Humber is a FA next year… hmmm.

    Side note:

    How long before Bruney’s 1.596 WHIP, and 6.3 ERA catch up to his 2.30 ERA?

  12. bonestock94 says:

    I really like Danks for a non-Banuelos, Montero, or Betances package. Might be pushing it. The white sox seem to be buyers no matter what so I doubt they’re giving him up.

  13. Jerome S. says:

    Love Guillen

    “F—- this team!… Oh, and Danks pitched well.”

  14. Gonzo says:

    Would anyone feel comfortable giving up a Betances in a trade for Danks?

    I think I would.

  15. Stan the Man says:

    IF you trade prospects for Danks or anyone else to fill out the rotation then who do you remove from the rotation? CC, Colon, Freddy, and Burnett aren’t going anywhere because of performance and contract. Hughes is 25 and on his way back from injury do you just move him to the pen for Danks? To me the only way a trade works is by getting rid of someone in the rotation.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      DL Burnett. He caught a case of the suck.

    • Mike HC says:

      The problem is worth it if you can secure a long term solution like Danks.

    • IRF says:

      Based on what the Yankees have done with young pitchers, I would guess they send down Hughes.

      Based on performance and upside, Burnett has no place in the rotation.

      • Mister Delaware says:

        I’m pretty sure you need to review what “upside” means.

        • IRF says:

          You think Burnett has a higher upside than Hughes?

          • Mister Delaware says:

            I didn’t say versus Hughes.

            • IRF says:

              So who? Im saying Burnett has performed worse than every starter except Hughes. But when you look at their respective upsides, I’d much rather see Hughes in the rotation.

              Anyway, as long as he has that contract, he’ll be in the rotation sadly. So moot point I know.

              • Thomas says:

                Burnett’s upside is huge. He has a very good fastball and curveball with a solid changeup. If he could harness his stuff, he could be one of the best pitchers in the league.

                Now I don’t expect him to harness it and be a top flight pitcher. Hell, I doubt he’ll ever be as good as he was in 2009. However, he certainly has a tremendous upside, he just never has (and likely never will) reach it.

              • Mister Delaware says:

                What Thomas said. There may be arguments for keeping Colon and/or Garcia in the rotation over Burnett, but upside sure as hell isn’t one of them.

    • They’d figure it out along the way. The only one that’s totally irremovable is CC, maybe AJ because of the contract. You can’t have enough pitching.

    • CC, Colon, Freddy, and Burnett aren’t going anywhere because of performance and contract.

      Here, let me fix that for you.

      CC and Burnett aren’t going anywhere because of performance and contract. Colon’s performance is dynamite, so he’s not going anywhere.

      Freddy Garcia has pitched well, but not as well as Colon, and he’s on a short term contract so moving him to longman isn’t affecting the future. So, it’s Freddy.


      Any starter we add (Danks, Floyd, Jackson, Ubaldo, Wandy, whatever) bumps Freddy to the bullpen. He’ll stay there until someone gets hurt or regresses. It is what it is. Freddy’s been very useful, but now that Hughes is back, he’s the low man on the totem pole.

      • Mister Delaware says:

        Plus there’s no rule stating you have to wait until the smoke clears and the mirrors shatter.

      • Stan the Man says:

        Can Freddy actually pitch out of the pen? There aren’t too many junk ball guys coming out of the pen these days.

  16. Bronx Byte says:

    John Danks ? Only because he’s LH and might pitch well in the Stadium. Offer Brackman, Vazquez, and maybe Warren but no more.


  17. Cris Pengiuci says:

    Pass on Danks. Chad Gudin is available for basically nothing, as the Nationals have released him. Expect Cashman to announce the signing of him any minute now …..

  18. JohnnyC says:

    Danks but no Danks.

  19. Johnny O says:

    I love these columns. A good idea would be to add a feature at the end of the columns where the author puts out a FAIR trade that woudl get the deal done for both sides. That would help provide instant perspective and prevent posts like “nunez/laird/brackman should get us danks”.

    • Mike HC says:

      Except their guess is as good as ours.

      Not to discourage them from trying to put a fair trade together in the column.

      • theyankeewarrior says:

        Yes, but it would give us a decent starting point to begin our prospect/cost debate.

        Just because we don’t know what IS enough doesn’t mean we don’t know what’s NOT enough.

  20. Adam B says:

    I would take Danks if we didn’t have to trade our young pitchers… The market is so much against the yankees, they are better off holding onto their young players

  21. ItsATarp says:

    Random thought, if Rays make shields available…would you bite?

    • bonestock94 says:

      Nope, that front office is too smart not to ask for the entire farm and then some.

    • FIPster Doofus says:

      The Rays would want the world from the Yankees in return, so probably not.

    • Mister Delaware says:

      No, Shields is one of those guys who could be great for the next 4 years and when he tanks in year 5 I’ll exclaim “ha, I knew he wasn’t that good”. Just can’t accept that he’s this effective.

    • Stan the Man says:

      No because the Rays like the Blue Jays 2 yrs ago will want more from intra division rival than from other teams. Shields isn’t in the same strastophere of a Roy Halladay.

  22. theyankeewarrior says:

    Danks Joins Yanks

    Yanks New Danks

    Another Day, Another Danks

    Danks Leads Yanks

    Danks’ Yanks


  23. Crime Dog says:

    I’d love for this to happen with the only exception being Banuelos or Montero stay put. Everyone else is open game

    • Stan the Man says:

      Bettances to headline a Danks deal? Really? If the Yanks can get Swisher from the W Sox for Betemit, Nunez, and Marquez then they should be able to get Danks for something outside their top 5 or 6 prospects.

      Maybe Romine as the starting point since their catching is nearly as bad as the Yanks.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        Swisher was largely a salary dump for the White Sox, they were giving him away after a career worst season. Danks is a young lefthanded front-end starter.

  24. David, Jr. says:

    I’m not sure what the match is with the White Sox, other than the fact that anybody would want young pitching. They have two young catchers, Mike Blanke and Tyler Flowers. Both project as being quite good. They seem to need young outfielders, of which we have almost none.

  25. David, Jr. says:

    Which is why I instead think of Minnesota. Mauer has been playing first base. They traded Ramos to the Nationals. They have been using Drew Butera at catcher, he of get this, a .490 OPS. They have virtually nothing there and might drool over somebody like Romine.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      You have to actually want Francisco Liriano though…

      • David, Jr. says:

        Only if he came with Michael Cuddyer, who would upgrade DH, in addition to giving us lots of flexibility. I’m not sure that they would want to sell to that extent, but if they look at themselves in a bit of a transition, I can see where prospects would be extremely attractive to them.

  26. Rob says:

    i would think Montero,Nova and a player like DJ Mitchell for Danks could get it done…Think thats a fair trade

  27. cranky says:

    Danks would be a good acquisition because he’s a solid LH starter. But he’s just a solid LH starter, not a top-end guy, so expectations would have to be realistic.
    And how often are expectations realistic?

    Danks or Liriano. The latter is capable of being more spectacular, at times, but the former may be more consistent and reliable.
    What would be a fair deal?

    For either one of them: Austin Romine+Ivan Nova.

  28. Raul says:

    Just wondering, do you see the Yankees trading for Doug Fister. He has a 3.18 ERA, is only 27, and would come cheap.

    • Htrap says:

      Hey yea I can see the Yanks trading for Fister because he would only cost a prospect or two and he has proven that he can pitch, he had a great start against the Red Sox. The only reason he doesn’t have more wins is a lack of run support. He would be a great pickup.

  29. tommy cassella says:

    derdk jeter should be batting 10th.

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