John Danks of the Chicago White Sox. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Could John Danks be a target for the Yankees as they try to improve their starting pitching?
In reporting Freddy Garcia's return to the New York Yankees, the New York Post speculated that Chicago White Sox left-hander John Danks could be a potential Yankee trade target as they try to strengthen their starting rotation for the 2012 season.
Would Danks be a good fit in New York? Joel Sherman recently speculated that Danks is the most likely pitcher for the Yankees to acquire in a trade. Do the Yankees have the right trade pieces to make a deal with the White Sox become a reality?
Let's start with the fact that Chicago GM Ken Williams has admitted that the 26-year-old Danks could be traded if the price is right.
Danks is coming off an 8-12 season with a 4.33 ERA, 1701.1 innings pitched, 1.339 WHIP and a 97 ERA+ that was his worst season since his 2007 rookie year. In the three previous season he had gone 40-31 and pitched from 195 to 213 innings.
SB Nation's MLB Daily Dish recently assessed the trade market for Danks -- and did not include the Yankees as potential partners.
Still, Daily Dish's reasons for dealing for Danks are instructive:
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 made $6 million in 2011, has one season left on his contract and is arbitration eligible this offseason.
What would it take for the Yankees to get Danks from Chicago? The Chicago Tribune speculates that the top Yankee prospects (catcher/DH Jesus Montero and pitchers Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances) would not be available to the White Sox in exchange for Danks.
The Yankee Analysts said "the making of a deal are there" and speculated that one could be built around young catchers Francisco Cervelli or Austin Romine and some of the Yankees' mid-level pitching prospects might be enough to make a trade happen.
So Yankee fans, is Danks a guy you would like to see the Yankees target?