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Yankees potential trade target: John Danks

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We should probably hope this possibility never gets out of the preliminary stages.

David Banks

On Tuesday Jason noted a report from Jon Heyman that the Yankees had contacted the White Sox about veteran left-hander John Danks. My initial reaction was "Hey, I remember that guy was pretty good at one point!" and had my interest piqued as to the possibility of Cashman swiping another quality arm from a team out of contention. That isn't really in play here, however, as Danks hasn't been particularly good in quite a while. Consider my enthusiasm greatly tempered.

From 2008-2011 Danks averaged over 3.0 fWAR a season with a FIP under four. On the strength of that stretch, the White Sox were confident enough to ink the then 25 year-old lefty to five year, 65 million dollar extension. Of course being young and effective is no guarantee when it comes to pitchers as a shoulder injury cost Danks most of his 2012 season and he hasn't been the same pitcher since returning. Before the injury Danks' fastball velocity sat consistently in the low nineties, but this season has been at an average of 88.1 miles per hour. He was worth only 0.3 fWAR in 2013 with a 4.7 ERA and FIP over five and has only been marginally better thus far in 2014, generating 0.8 fWAR with a 4.35 ERA and 4.7 FIP. He has 6.3 K/9 and 3.34 B/9 rates, so we're not looking at a guy with great stuff or impeccable control. And his 40.1 groundball percentage is not exactly suited to Yankee Stadium, either.

Perhaps the Yankees brass is banking on Danks slowly rounding into form as he moves further away from his shoulder issues. He had posted a 2.69 ERA over his last ten starts prior to his getting shellacked his last time out against the Houston Astros. Even then, he is still owed 14.25 million dollars in each of the next two seasons in addition to about 5 million for the remainder of 2014, which is an awful lot to pin to the hopes he return to his past successes. Any conversation about Danks surely revolves around how much of the contract the White Sox are willing to eat, since in spite of the Yankees overflowing coffers they still made Arizona and San Diego fit part of the bill in their recent dealings. They clearly like not paying money as much as the rest of the world.

If Chicago were to take on the majority of the responsibility for Danks' contract, it would be hard to get too annoyed at the acquisition. Then again, that might make the asset the White Sox want back of a higher quality than the Yankees should be willing to give up. Chase Whitley's promising start on Tuesday may have Cashman rethinking the team's need for a mediocre fourth/fifth starter, so perhaps this flirtation with the White Sox and Danks will amount to nothing more than that. I've been a fan of the team's moves thus far because I think they've been upgrades, have not cost much in prospects and kept the books clean for next year. I'm not sure if acquiring Danks will fit that criteria in any way.