John Danks has called Chicago his home since 2007. But after nearly 10 years on the South Side, the White Sox have decided to part ways with their longest tenured player.
Danks will be designated for assignment later this week, the team announced Tuesday, ending his time with the White Sox.
“It’s always tough,” manager Robin Ventura said. “You don’t really know what’s out there, but at this point, we’re going in a different direction.”
Entering Tuesday, the White Sox held the best record in the American League at 18-8. Danks started in four of those contests, but all resulted in losses in which he had an ERA of 7.25.
That was enough for the White Sox to make a change.
“It’s just one of those things how we’re doing so well and he didn’t get a win. That’s just the way it goes sometimes,” Todd Frazier said. “I’m sure he could’ve came around in his next start or maybe the next one after that. But he’s a bulldog.
“He’s a guy that wants to contribute and he has. He’s done it for years and just cause he hasn’t gotten a win in the first three or four starts that he’s had doesn’t signify what he’s done in the past.”
The success Danks had in the past convinced the White Sox to sign him to a five-year, $65 million contract extension prior to the 2012 season.
Danks struggled to find consistency with his game from 2012-16, going 25-48 with a 4.92 ERA in 97 starts.
His results ultimately proved that he didn’t live up to his contract. But off the field, the impact he had on his teammates is something you can’t put a price on.
“Everybody loves him, he’s a great teammate, he’s a great pitcher,” catcher Dioner Navarro said. “Just going through a tough stretch right now. Part of life, I guess it’s part of him going home, reflecting on things and seeing what he wants to do.”
When Frazier arrived to Chicago during the offseason after being acquired by the Cincinnati Reds, Danks was one of the guys who helped him get acclimated to the Windy City.
“We became real close quick,” Frazier said. “Great guy. We’re about the same age. He came up a lot earlier than me. I know he’s had some really good years. Just one of those guys you really look up to. We’re gonna miss him. I’m especially gonna miss him.
“He kind of taught me a little bit about the Chicago Way. He’s just one of those guys who’s going to be in the back of your mind a little bit every couple days just thinking about how he’s doing.”
In addition, Danks used his experience to mentor young players like 23-year-old starter Carlos Rodon. The two would hang out most of the time during games, and sometimes away from the diamond, too.
“It was huge,” Rodon said of Danks’ presence. “A veteran like that, you'd figure a young guy coming here, kind of would ignore him or wouldn't really be around for him. He was different, a different guy. He took me under his wing and taught me a lot of stuff about this game.”
For the White Sox, the clubhouse will be a bit unusual not having that familiar face that’s been around for so many years.
But as the White Sox learned earlier this season, adapting to change is something that comes with the game.
“The game will go on, but our thoughts and prayers go out to him, his wife and his future family,” Adam Eaton said. “Saying goodbye to him was tough for all of us, but like I said it's part of the game. It's sad to see him go.”