The New York Yankees are interested in possibly acquiring White Sox' left-hander John Danks, reports ESPN's Jayson Stark. According to Stark, Chicago has had scouts watching the Yankees' farm system over the past few days, particularly their numerous catching prospects, which may be a further indication that the two sides are discussing a deal that would send Danks to the Bronx.
The 29-year-old Danks has a 4.40 ERA, 4.63 FIP, 2.00 K/BB, and 1.2 WAR this season, and hasn't been the same pitcher since returning from shoulder surgery in 2013. Prior to landing on the DL early in the 2012 season, Danks had a 115 ERA+ and 18.5 WAR in an 832 innings stretch from 2008-2012, but has just a 89 ERA+, 4.85 FIP, and 2.1 WAR in 269.1 innings since. He has over two years remaining on a five-year, $65 million extension signed in December of 2011. He will make $14.25 million in each of the next two seasons, and carries a six-team no-trade clause, though it is unclear if the Yankees are on it.
The Yankees are desperate for starting pitching, despite their recent acquisition of Brandon McCarthy, who has pitched well in his first three starts with the club. The Yankees' rotation ranks 16th in baseball this season with a 3.88 ERA and 3.96 FIP, but is without CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, and Masahiro Tanaka, all of whom are dealing with injuries that could keep them out for the remainder of the season. The Yankees' situation has gotten so dire that the club has been forced to scour baseball's bargain bin, with guys like Jeff Francis and Chris Capuano each appearing for the club within the last week.
Behind McCarthy, Hiroki Kuroda, and David Phelps, the Yankees don't have much in the rotation other than the hope that Tanaka beats the odds and forgoes Tommy John surgery. It is essentially a necessity for them to add at least one more starter to have a reasonable chance at surpassing Baltimore and Toronto in the AL East.
Chicago's interest in New York's catching prospects isn't surprising considering the organization seems to have a surplus of them. Between names such as JR Murphy, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez, Luis Torrens, and Peter O'Brien, the Yankees are chalk full of young talent behind the plate, and seem to have little room for them with Brian McCann and Francisco Cervelli locked into spots at the major league level.
Stark also mentions that the Yankees and White Sox have had trouble matching up in past trade discussions, noting that the last significant deal between the two organizations was the trade that brought Nick Swisher to New York, which happened six years ago.