White Sox

White Sox lock up Danks for his prime

619360.png

White Sox lock up Danks for his prime

It turns out that Derrick Rose isnt the only Chicago athlete to get a new extension on Wednesday.

Sources close to the situation have confirmed to Comcast SportsNet that John Danks has agreed on a multi-year deal with the White Sox, putting to rest the swarm of rumors that the White Sox were going to deal Danks before the start of the 2012 season.

A team source said Wednesday night, We have no announcements scheduled at this time. Expect it to become official soon after Christmas. Multiple reports have the deal at five years, 65 million.

Its a surprise move by the White Sox, not only because it conflicts with Kenny Williams assertion at the MLB Winter Meetings that the White Sox were in rebuilding mode, but at five years it would be the longest contract the White Sox have ever given to a pitcher. Since getting burned by the four-year, 20 million contract they gave Jaime Navarro in 1996, the team has been reluctant to sign pitchers to such long-term deals. Navarro proceeded to go 25-33 in three seasons with the White Sox before they traded him to Milwaukee in 2000 for Cal Eldred and Jose Valentin.

There had been one exception to this: Mark Buehrle, who signed a four-year extension in 2007. Now theres a second.

As the news spread of the Danks deal, manager Robin Ventura was preparing for his special appearance in A Christmas Carol at the Goodman Theatre. When told of a possible contract extension, Ventura was certainly all for it.

It would be huge, Ventura said. Obviously I have a tremendous amount of respect for John and what he brings as a talent, but just his intangibles that he brings everyday, and the competitiveness. Hes an important part of what youd like to have as a person in a locker room. With Mark Buehrle going, theres room for that person, and I think he kind of fits that.

Despite starting last season with an 0-8 record, Danks was able to turn it all around, going 4-0 in June and July with a 0.98 ERA. He finished 8-12 with a 4.33 ERA.

Danks was set to be a free agent after this season. Now at the age of 26 (he turns 27 on April 15), hes locked up by the White Sox during what could be the prime of his career.

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

0219_alec_hansen.jpg
AP

Strikeout machine Alec Hansen wants to be the best ... OK, one of the best

GLENDALE, Ariz. — On a day when Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada took live batting practice for the first time this spring, off in the distance was a lanky White Sox prospect standing in the outfield grass.

But Alec Hansen was doing more than shagging flies. He was watching both hitters very closely.

“I was looking to see how much pop they had,” Hansen said of Abreu and Moncada. “I kind of look at that to see the difference in power between minor league ball and the major leagues. It’s nice to see it’s not a huge difference. That makes me feel a bit more comfortable.”

At 6-foot-8 — actually 6-foot-8-and-a-half, according to his spring training physical — Hansen is a big man with big plans for his baseball career. He might be quiet on the outside, but he has booming expectations for himself on the inside.

“I want to be the best,” Hansen said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

The best? The very best?

That’s what Hansen aspires to become, though later in our conversation, he did dial back a notch, settling for becoming “one of the best.”

Either is fine with manager Ricky Renteria, who is overseeing these uber-confident White Sox prospects and accepts their lofty expectations.

“I think their mindset is where it’s supposed to be,” Renteria said. “None of these kids are concerned or consumed with the possibility of failure. Much more they’re consuming themselves with the understanding that they might hit some stumbling blocks, but they’re going to have a way to avoid overcoming them and push forward and be the best that they can be.”

In his first full season in the White Sox organization, Hansen led the minor leagues with 191 strikeouts. He’s proud of that accomplishment but admitted something: He’s not that impressed because he didn’t do it where it really matters — in the major leagues.

When you watch Hansen pitch, it’s easy to see that the talent is there. His coaches and teammates rave about his ability. With his enormous size and power arm, he is loaded with strengths.  

Though there is one weakness that Hansen acknowledges he needs to work on.

“Sometimes I have a tendency to think too much and worry. I think worrying is the worst thing that I do just because I want to be perfect,” Hansen said. “I think everyone wants to be perfect, some more than others, and I worry about things getting in the way of achieving perfection.”

To Hansen, that doesn’t mean throwing a perfect game. He actually takes it one step further.

He wants to strikeout every single hitter he faces.

“I love striking people out,” Hansen said. “Not having to rely on anyone else and just getting the job done myself and knowing that the hitter can’t get a hit off me. That’s a great feeling. That they can’t put it in play. Like a line drive out. That’s terrible.”

At some point, Hansen will have to lower these impossible expectations for himself. This is an imperfect game. There’s no place for nine-inning, 27-strikeout performances. Players end up in the Hall of Fame because they learn how to succeed with failure.

In the meantime, Hansen is here in big league camp watching and learning anything and everything.

“I’m a good observer. I listen. I don’t really talk too much. I’m a pretty quiet guy. I like to sit back and observe and see how these guys go about their business. Just trying to be at their level, hopefully one day surpass them.”

Surpass?

“It’s kind of hard to surpass some of these guys. I mean, they’re at the tip-top, like the pinnacle of the sport,” Hansen said. “I guess you could say, to get on that level and then be one of the best in the league.”

He might be on his way.

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

0218-dylan-covey.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox free up spot on 40-man roster by outrighting Dylan Covey

The White Sox freed up a spot on their 40-man roster Sunday, outrighting pitcher Dylan Covey to Triple-A Charlotte.

Covey pitched in 18 games last season, making 12 starts for the South Siders. Things did not go well, with Covey turning in an 0-7 record and a 7.71 ERA in 70 innings.

While there was an outside chance that Covey could have provided at least some starting-pitching depth heading into the 2018 season, the team's recent additions of Miguel Gonzalez and Hector Santiago — not to mention Covey's results from last season — wiped out that idea.

At the moment, the White Sox starting rotation figures to look like this by Opening Day: James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Gonzalez and Carson Fulmer, with Santiago seeming like a good option to provide depth as the long man in the bullpen.