Coming off of a 79-83 season, the Chicago White Sox are in the "In between" stage of contention. This essentially means they really aren't that good, but they really aren't that bad either. When a team is in this stage, they'll usually look to make a move or two that could swing them into contender status or start to reload.
One of the moves the White Sox could make is dealing LHP John Danks. Last week, FOXsports.com's Ken Rosenthal quickly mentioned Chicago is drawing interest on the Austin, TX native.
If the White Sox do decide to move Danks, let's take a look at the pros, cons, and which teams would be interested in his services.
Since 2008, Danks has been one of the more consistent pitchers in baseball. He's averaged a 3.77 ERA, 7.0 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, and a 1.26 WHIP in 195 innings. His 15.6 WAR over that time frame is higher than James Shields', Chad Billingsley's, and Roy Oswalt's, and his free agent teammate Mark Buehrle's.
Danks is a four-pitch pitcher, who relies on his cutter and changeup to get hitters out. In 2011, Danks threw his cutter (27.3 percent) and his changeup (19.2 percent) more than any other pitches and his 26.4 wCB is good for 13th in all of baseball amongst starting pitchers.
Danks also has really improved his control over the years. 2011 represented the third year in a row in which Danks' BB/9 has declined. It was 3.3 in 2009, 3.0 in 2010, and 2.4 in 2011.
If a team is looking for a low-cost, No. 2 starter that they will have under control for next season, then Danks is their guy. I would rather trade for Danks and hope to sign him to an extension rather than shell out $80-plus million for C.J. Wilson. I think in the next five years, Danks will outperform Wilson.
Danks really struggled away from home in 2011. His road ERA was over five and hitters had an OPS 60 points higher against Danks on the road than they did at home. This hasn't been a trend for Danks before 2011, so teams shouldn't be too alarmed by this.
Perhaps the biggest con concering Danks is that he is a 26-year-old (will be 27 in April), left-handed pitcher, who will have a reasonable salary for 2012. Those type of pitchers don't grow on trees.
I imagine the White Sox would ask for quite the package for Danks. And that is what GM's are going to have to ask themselves; Do I give up a couple of prospects for potentially one year of Danks?
Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of trading for Danks, let's look at the teams that potentially could be interested in the ninth overall pick of the 2003 June Draft...
Texas Rangers: The team that drafted Danks with that ninth overall pick in 2003 was the Rangers. I would imagine if the Rangers lose Wilson to another team, they would love to have Danks back.
Boston Red Sox: With John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka done for 2012, the Red Sox really could use another starting pitcher. A starting rotation of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, and Danks would be pretty formidable.
Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays are building themselves a nice foundation in Toronto, but they still need a couple of more pieces. One of those pieces is another starting pitcher to go along with Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow.
Miami Marlins: The Marlins are in on just about everyone this winter and if they miss out on Wilson and Buehrle, then Danks would be a nice third option.
Colorado Rockies: Probably a long shot and I am not sure if Danks' game translates well to Coors Field, but at some point the Rockies are going to need to get some established pitchers. Asking Alex White and Drew Pomeranz to help carry the load in 2012 might be asking a little too much.