Earlier this month, White Sox GM Kenny Williams used the word rebuilding for the first time during his tenure. Its never a popular word to use with a fan base.
However, rebuilding can happen by making moves that set up your future without trading the most valuable assets on your roster. The White Sox did that Wednesday night with the extension of pitcher John Danks. By locking up Danks, the White Sox can still rebuild, while making a commitment to make him the cornerstone of their rotation. The move also gives fans hope for both the short and long term future after a disappointing 2011 season and what thus far has been one of their roughest offseasons, at least emotionally, with the departure of fan-favorites Mark Buehrle and Ozzie Guillen.
The news of the extension was a surprise, especially with Danks. Most expected Danks to pitch elsewhere in 2012 as the White Sox were reportedly shopping the southpaw for a package of prospects. Ive never been a huge fan of that, trading a pitcher in his prime for a package of unproven hope. Outside of budgetary reasons, these moves rarely work out. Teams trade assets in hopes of landing the guy they traded. In other words, if the Sox traded Danks, they were hoping to get a prospect that turned out to be the next Danks. Makes no sense.
This deal, though, does. It gives the Sox a solid front-line starter with the ability to shop other parts of their roster to provide salary relief and still get decent talent in return.
At the winter meetings, I felt the best move the White Sox could make was locking up Danks for four years.
They did one better, by making him the richest pitcher in White Sox history.
SportsTalk Live is on location for White Sox Authentic Fan Night. Phil Rogers (MLB Network), Mark Carman (WGN Radio), David DeJesus and Ozzie Guillen join Kap to talk about Manny Machado Mania, Anthony Rizzo’s struggles and the White Sox plans for calling up their best prospects.
Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:
Not long after the White Sox brought Michael Saunders into the organization, another outfielder with major league experience is joining Triple-A Charlotte.
Alex Presley — a 32-year-old who played 71 games last season for the Detroit Tigers and has also spent time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers — is the latest addition to the Knights’ outfield. He’s a guy who could potentially be used to help the White Sox outfield, which has seen two Opening Day players go on the disabled list for extended periods of time.
Avisail Garcia is in his fifth week on the DL while dealing with a Grade 2 hamstring strain. Nicky Delmonico is expected to miss the next four to six weeks while recovering from a broken bone in his hand. The White Sox might feel that the collection of Adam Engel, Trayce Thompson, Leury Garcia and Daniel Palka might be enough to get them through those injuries. But the results have not been great from that group. Engel and Thompson are both hitting under .200, while Leury Garcia and Palka have on-base percentages just above .300.
Presley, like Saunders, could be an option for a midseason promotion should he hit well in the minors. He hit .314 with a .354 on-base percentage in those 71 games with the Tigers last season. This year, he was playing in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization, where he hit .275 with a .347 on-base percentage in 26 games.
It’s possible we won’t see either veteran outfielder on the South Side this season (though having Presley here for Elvis Night would be pretty excellent), but it gives the White Sox options should the lack of production from their current crop of outfielders and the injuries to Avisail Garcia and Delmonico keep them out longer.
It’s also quite possible that none of the names mentioned to this point will have a role to play in this team’s long-term future, not an outlandish thought considering Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Micker Adolfo, Blake Rutherford and Luis Alexander Basabe are all still developing in the minor leagues.