White Sox

Backup role suiting Danks just fine

786102.png

Backup role suiting Danks just fine

Jordan Danks has played in at least 100 games in each of his full seasons since leaving the University of Texas to join the White Sox organization. Barring something unforeseen, he won't come close to the century mark in 2012.

Since being called up from Charlotte about a month ago, Danks has appeared in 14 games, starting four of them. He's mostly been used as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement, but that's the life of a backup at the major-league level.

"It's a little bit different," Danks said. "You're basically kind of chilling for the first four or five innings of the game before you start getting ready. It's definitely different, but it's a role I'm definitely willing to play."

Not everyone can flip the switch from playing every day to riding the bench, not knowing when the next opportunity to play will be. To Danks' credit, he has a hit in every game he's started and has totaled eight in 22 trips to the plate this season.

"It's something I've never done," Danks said of his backup role. "But I'm making the best of it, getting ready sort of later in the games, never knowing when you get to go in, so it helps having the cage nearby so you can get in there and get a sweat going, making it feel like I did start the game."

Danks, 25, spent parts of four seasons in the White Sox farm system, going from someone with blue-chip billing to being unprotected by the organization in last year's Rule 5 Draft. Any team could've selected Danks and given him a chance to win a spot on their 25-man roster in spring training. No team did.

He got his break when Kosuke Fukudome went down with a ribcage injury in early June. The Sox placed Fukudome on the disabled list and added Danks to the 40 and 25-man rosters. With the incumbent backup on the shelf, Danks earned his way on to the roster, and the Sox cut Fukudome loose rather than send Danks back to the minors.

The ultimate goal for Danks is to start, just like everyone else occupying a spot on a minor-league roster or major-league bench. But for now, Danks is just happy to in the major leagues.

"Anything's better than being back down there," Danks said of the minors. "I'll stay up here, I'll wait my turn and that's pretty much all I can do."

Luis Robert leaves Arizona Fall League game with injury

Luis Robert leaves Arizona Fall League game with injury

White Sox prospect Luis Robert headed to the Arizona Fall League to get more playing time after injuries limited to 50 games in 2018.

He just got hurt in the Arizona Fall League.

Robert is playing with the Glendale Desert Dogs in the AFL and left Friday's game with an injury.

It's not clear what the injury was, but Robert walked off on his own power. He also has pulled out of the Bowman Hitting Challenge (a modified home run derby) that will take place Saturday.

Robert, the No. 4 White Sox prospect and No. 44 overall prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was 1-for-3 in Friday's game before exiting. He has hit safely in all four games in the AFL, going 5-for-17 (.294) with a walk and three strikeouts, but no extra base hits.

The 21-year-old is the third youngest player on the team and the AFL is a respected offseason league for prospects. A good showing from Robert would be a sign that he is beginning to develop his talent into playable tools.

The injury could be minor so no need to ring the alarm bells yet, but the AFL season is barely more than a month long. Even a short-term injury could prevent him from making up for some of the lost playing time from the 2018 minor league season.

Sonny Gray is available: Could he be a one-year stopgap for the White Sox?

1012_sonny_gray.jpg
USA TODAY

Sonny Gray is available: Could he be a one-year stopgap for the White Sox?

The White Sox have a hole or two to plug in their starting rotation. Could Sonny Gray be an answer?

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Friday that he's looking to trade Gray away from the Bronx this winter.

Gray isn't as attractive an add as he was a few years back, when he was coming off a sensational 2015 campaign that saw him post a 2.73 ERA and log 208 innings. He went to the All-Star Game and finished third in the AL Cy Young vote that year.

Since, he's been less successful. He made just 22 starts with the Oakland Athletics in 2016 and had a 5.69 ERA. The following season, he started with a strong 3.43 ERA in 16 starts for the A's before the midseason trade that sent him to the Yankees, where he made 11 starts with a 3.72 ERA. This season didn't go too well, earning Gray a move to the bullpen. He finished with a 4.90 ERA in 30 games, only 23 of those being starts. He threw just 29.1 innings over his final 10 appearances of the season, three of which were starts. He had a 5.26 ERA with 50 walks in 113 innings as a starter in 2018.

Those numbers won't leap off the page (in a positive way) for anyone, but there's no doubt that a potential deal for Gray would be a low-risk move for the White Sox. For a team looking to add 40 percent of a starting rotation, being able to do so cheaply — be it from a dollar or prospect standpoint — would be a good thing, especially if the strategy ends up being to simply add one-year fill-ins while Michael Kopech recovers from Tommy John surgery and Dylan Cease makes his way to the major leagues.

However, Gray's 57-walk total from the 2018 season could be something the White Sox would want to stay away from. After all, White Sox pitchers led the AL with 653 walks this season. They also had five of the top 21 walk-issuing pitchers in the Junior Circuit: Lucas Giolito led the league with 90, James Shields was third with 78, Reynaldo Lopez was fifth with 75, Hector Santiago was 15th with 60, and Carlos Rodon was 21st with 55. Gray slotted in right ahead of Rodon.

But Gray has obviously produced results in the past, and whether the White Sox are looking to simply plug the holes in the 2019 staff or potentially find a sign-and-flip candidate for the 2019 trade deadline — he's slated to hit free agency after the 2019 season — Gray could fit that bill. One thing's for sure: He's available.