The trade of Jon Lester opened up a void of veteran leadership and a lefty in the starting rotation. The Red Sox have a kid with a bright future in Henry Owens, but he may need more seasoning next year down in AAA Pawtucket. An intriguing possibility for the Red Sox could be Chicago White Sox lefty John Danks.
Danks is currently 29-years-old and is signed to two more years after this season. The original deal he signed in 2011 was for five years worth a total of $65 million, making $8 million in 2012 and $14.25 per season each year after. The money is hefty, but the years are just where the Sox would like to be without a long-term risk.
Danks has had some health issues having had surgery on August 6, 2012. He came back last year to pitch and kind of reinvented himself under pitching Coach Don Cooper in Chicago to become “crafty”. He still can throw in the low 90’s, and mixes things up with an arsenal of a sharp cutter, a very good straight change, a big slow curve ball and a two- seam fastball; he has gotten stronger since his return.
His best year to date was in 2008, his first full year in the starting rotation, going 12-9 with a 3.32 ERA (fifth in the American League) and 1.23 WHIP in 33 starts. He finished just shy of the coveted 200 innings mark with 195. He pitched a one game playoff that year, defeating the Minnesota Twins 1-0 to clinch the American League Central Division, which was dubbed the “Black Out” game—all fans in Chicago wore black.
The White Sox were rumored to have been having talks with the Yankees at the trade deadline, but in the end nothing materialized. There were some sniffs by other teams, but GM Rick Hahn decided to stand pat as nothing made sense at the time to get better for the short or long-term benefit of the team. Some groundwork was laid for a future deal though with these discussions and if the Red Sox weren’t already in them, they may be in the future.
With the trade deadline passed, waiver deals are the next steps if any teams are looking to still make moves. (A player would have to clear waivers first which is always kind of risky.) The good news is the Red Sox have a worse record than the Yankees, so they would get a chance at him first if they act on him this year. If not, then I would expect them to talk in the off season.
John Danks is not Jon Lester talent wise, but is from Texas and is a grinder who has battled adversity and keeps on fighting.