Originally written on Baseball Prospectus  |  Last updated 12/22/11

The White Sox finished 16 games behind the Tigers in the AL Central last season and 12 games shy of the Rays for the wild card. Their farm system was one of the shallowest in baseball coming into the 2011 campaign, so there aren’t any immediate reinforcements to propel the ChiSox back into contention. A wholesale rebuilding process this offseason seemed inevitable.

General manager Kenny Williams did little to dispel that expectation when he traded Sergio Santos to the Blue Jays for lefty pitching prospect Nestor Molina. Though Santos is controllable at a reasonable salary through 2017, as a reliever, he was not going to be as valuable to the White Sox’s future as a potential mid-rotation starter, which Molina projects to become. The rebuilding process was still on track.

Then, last night, news broke that the White Sox had agreed to a five-year, $65 million extension with John Danks. In a vacuum, it’s a fine deal for both sides. It gives the 26-year-old Danks some financial security, while leaving open the possibility of another lucrative deal after his age-31 season. It gives the White Sox a solid number-three starter, in his prime, at a reasonable price.

The problem is that this deal throws a wrench into the rebuilding effort. Danks was one of the White Sox few truly valuable trade commodities, a player who could have brought back a couple of nice prospects from a contender in need of rotation depth.

Unless Jerry Reinsdorf is planning to open his checkbook for a free-agent binge in the near future, the ChiSox are unlikely to be in the pennant chase until at least 2014. The Tigers trump them in big-league talent; the Royals and Indians have superior farm systems. Danks does not change the former, but as a trade chip, he offered Williams an opportunity to put a dent in the latter.

By committing $65 million to Danks, the White Sox have effectively scrapped their fire sale for an attempt to contend while rebuilding. That might be fine, if they hadn’t sent the exact opposite signal with the Santos trade two weeks ago. In Keith Law’s words, they appear to be lost.

 From the Jake Peavy trade, to the Alex Rios waiver claim, to the Danks extension, Kenny Williams has shown a greater flair for bold moves than any GM in the league. Unfortunately, without a coherent plan, there’s a fine line between boldness and absurdity. The White Sox had better choose a direction soon, because they’re now on the verge of crossing it.     

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Miguel Cabrera headed to disabled list for 1st time in career

Report: San Antonio Spurs to sign LaMarcus Aldridge

WATCH: Serena Williams wags finger at Wimbledon crowd, says, 'Don’t try me'

Report: Rajon Rondo headed to Sacramento Kings

Dez Bryant deal with Cowboys could be announced Monday


Brandon Saad, Ryan O’Reilly sign long-term contracts with Columbus, Buffalo

Mavs solidify future, sign Wesley Matthews, DeAndre Jordan

A-Rod, Yankees settle dispute over home run milestone bonus

Report: Robin Lopez, Knicks finalizing four-year deal

Becky Hammon will coach Spurs' Summer League team

Jimmy Butler on Derrick Rose: ‘I don’t think we have any issues’

Tennis: How can Rafael Nadal regain his dominance?

NBA Rumors: Cavs and Spurs vying for David West

Damian Lillard is the Blazers’ new franchise player

Bryce Harper flaunts patriotic bat, hits home run

Report: Magic will sign Tobias Harris to 4-year deal

The top American sports moments since the last Fourth of July

Nine former college football rivalries that need to come back

The most patriotic uniforms in American sports

Jeanie Buss: Brother Jim will step down if Lakers don't make deep run within two seasons

DeAndre Jordan to Dallas: The Los Angeles Clippers are literally mad men

Remember when the Cincinnati Bearcats were the scariest team in America?

Are the Angels now the worst organization in baseball?

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.