In addition to losing a tremendously talented pitcher after trading Mark Buehrle, the Chicago White Sox also lost one of the most influential clubhouse leaders in recent memory. Similar to teammate Paul Konerko’s contribution to the offense, Buehrle’s work ethic and consistently superb performance was the backbone of an admittedly volatile Sox pitching staff.
However, now that Buehrle is set to play for the Florida Marlins under former manager Ozzie Guillen, the White Sox are looking for someone to fill that role.
Back in business
The search may be over, though. Although it has not been “officially” announced, the White Sox have signed pitcher John Danks to a 5-year extension for $65 million. Being the largest deal the Sox have ever made for a pitcher, this is certainly a bold move for a team that is in the process of rebuilding.
Sox fans will remember that in 2011, Danks started out very poorly with an 0-8 record and a 5.25 ERA. What is important to note, though, is that he managed to bounce back to finish the season 8-12. Unlike some of his teammates who tend to get in their own heads while underperforming such as Gordon Beckham, Danks’ maturity showed along with his perseverance. There is no doubt that Danks’ turnaround kept the White Sox in the hunt even as fellow starter Jake Peavy continued to struggle down the stretch.
Many are criticizing this trade since signing Danks to a $65 million contract doesn’t exactly look like a move that a rebuilding team would make. However, even though they are recovering from their 2011 failures, the Sox are still looking to make moves that will help them win in 2012. This Danks contract is one of those moves and could potentially benefit them many years down the road.
At the Winter Meetings a few weeks ago, general manager Kenny Williams made it clear to other ball clubs that Danks was a potential trade prospect. Even though no other teams seemed all that interested in him, this could work out for the Sox. By signing him to 5 years, Danks could not only fill Buehrle’s shoes, but become a franchise player that will break many records himself.
Only time will tell if this contract was the right move or if it will begin to look like a complete mistake such as the Adam Dunn situation. Hopefully, Danks puts forth a strong showing in Spring Training to give Sox fans some hope of taking home the pennant in 2012.
John Danks: Here to stay