John Danks, the longest tenured member of the White Sox heading in to the 2016 season, saw his White Sox career come to an end yesterday when the team announced he has been designated for assignment after refusing a minor league assignment. Danks, who is 0-4 with a 7.25 ERA this season, is in the final season of his contract and is due $14.25 million this year.
Danks was acquired by the White Sox, along with Nick Masset, from the Rangers for Brandon McCarthy following the 2006 season. He broke camp with the Sox in 2007 and made his major league debut on April 8, picking up the loss against the Twins at US Cellular Field. Danks, along with the rest of the White Sox, struggled through 2007, finishing the year with a 6-13 record and a 5.50 ERA.
2008 was a different story for both the White Sox and Danks. Posting a career-best 3.32 ERA, Danks finished the year at 12-9 and had quite possibly the best outing of his career in game 163, throwing 8 scoreless innings of 2 hit ball against the Twins to secure the Central Division title. Less than a week later, he picked up the lone White Sox victory in the ALDS against the Rays.
Danks had continued success in both 2009 and 2010, combining for a 28-22 record over the two years, with an ERA in the 3.70s both years. 2011 went south for both the White Sox and John Danks, as his ERA jumped to 4.33 while manager Ozzie Guillen lost control of the team before leaving in the final week to head to the Marlins. Following the season, the White Sox signaled their faith in Danks, signing him to a 5 year extension worth $65 million.
Danks struggled through 9 starts in 2012 before hitting the disabled list with a mysterious shoulder injury. When he finally underwent surgery, doctors found a torn shoulder capsule. Very few pitchers have undergone this surgery, and even fewer have successfully returned to the same level they were before the injury.
Sadly, Danks’ recovery did not happen as anyone would have wanted, though not for a lack of effort. He returned in 2013, making 22 starts and going 4-14 with a 4.75 ERA. 2014 was more of the same, as his ERA was 4.74, though his record improved to 11-11. And last year, again, saw Danks put up an ERA of 4.71 in 30 starts.
With the White Sox in contention after a successful April and John Danks earning half of the teams losses, being an innings eater was no longer good enough. Unfortunately, the injury robbed him or what should have been his prime, and one hopes he can reinvent himself somewhere and continue his major league career.