White Sox trade rumors: John Danks-Yankees rumors persist

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Hannah Foslien

New York appears to be the only suitor for the remainder of the contract, which means they could wait until a waiver deal in August

With the off day and lack of White Sox news, Monday felt very much like Frank Thomas Hall of Fame Observance Day.

Today, it’s a different story on at least one front, as the White Sox head to Detroit for three games with the Tigers. Whether any rumors follow is a different matter, but with the deadline fast approaching on Thursday, now would be the time.

Unfortunately, the scuttlebutt is rather limited. John Danks is the only trade asset giving off any heat, but it’s only coming from one team — the New York Yankees.

For a while, only one source had reported the interest from the Bronx with any kind of on conviction. CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman tied the Yanks to Danks in a few different posts, most recently on Sunday.

The Yankees are still looking at White Sox left-hander John Danks as a trade possibility in what appears to be a diminishing starters market for them.

Danks may be among the most likely rotation candidates for the Yankees, if not the most likely, as there’s no evidence they’re even talking to the Padres about Ian Kennedy. And several other available pitchers aren’t possibilities for them. The Yankees, who’ve lost four of their original five starters to injury, already added right-hander Brandon McCarthy, who looks like a superb pickup so far; however, a second rotation piece won’t be easy.

ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark gave Heyman some company with his Monday “Rumblings & Grumblings” column.

The White Sox had scouts watching the Yankees’ system, particularly the minor league catching surplus, in the past few days. It is yet one more indication the Yankees are focused on John Danks in their search for another starting pitcher. Danks’ $14.25 million salary the next two years wouldn’t be as big an issue for the Yankees as it is for other clubs. But what might be a factor is that these are two teams that have had a lot of trouble matching up in recent years. In the past decade, the only significant trade the Yankees and White Sox have made was the deal that sent Nick Swisher to the Bronx — six years ago.

Maybe the Sox can’t deal with the trauma from hearing Brian Cashman’s voice over the phone. Or maybe Cashman keeps making ridiculous offers since the last one worked.

If Danks’ contract is that onerous to the rest of the market, then that thickens the plot of any potential August deal. The White Sox could (and might, or probably will) put Danks on waivers, and it’s possible the Yankees could claim him, figuring the worst-case scenario has them paying all of his salary while keeping the prospects that may have been discussed over the last few weeks.

That means the question is, “How bad do the Sox want to get out from under Danks’ contract?” Daryl Van Schouwen says financial freedom might be good enough for Rick Hahn.

“The question posed to the White Sox then is, would they let him go for nothing on a waiver claim? I think they would,’’ the source said. “But I just don’t see someone taking that contract on.’’

It’s not that the Sox don’t like or have no use for Danks. It’s just Business 101. Getting rid of Peavy, Alex Rios (after the non-waiver deadline) and others last season gave Hahn enough payroll flexibility to pursue Jose Abreu in the offseason. The Sox also stepped up their investments in the draft and international signings.

Unless the Sox have fears about Danks’ shoulder that his performance masks, I don’t think they would be that desperate, because the other strategic reasons just aren’t that compelling.

Salary? The Sox will be taking Adam Dunn’s salary off the books in 2015, or earlier if Hahn can find a taker. Chris Sale and Jose Quintana will still be making far less than they’re worth, and the last two rotation spots are league-minimum guys at the moment. Danks’ presence isn’t prohibiting any significant action on the payroll, and getting rid of him for nothing in return means that money will have to be spent on a starter.

Rodon? He already has his choice of two rotation spots without bringing Danks into the question.

Left-handedness? Not really, because all of them handle righties well enough. In fact, Danks has better splits against righties over his career, while Quintana’s splits are dead even and Sale can face anybody on any day.

From here, it looks like it comes down to whether the Sox think they’re on borrowed time with his post-surgery shoulder. If they are, they have a funny way of showing it — he’s thrown at least 110 pitches seven times, and crossed the 120-pitch mark twice. There’s nothing wrong with that if he’s as healthy as any pitcher can be in July, but shoulders can be fickle.

If there is no special cause for concern and the contract inspires tepid-at-best interest around the league, the Sox would probably be better off waiting until the offseason or 2015, when dollars and time come off the commitment. It’s possible they have a huge splash in mind, but considering they made a strong run at Masahiro Tanaka last offseason after their current payroll had been allocated, it seems like Hahn will have some spending money available even if Danks remains on the books.

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