White Sox

White Sox pleased with John Danks' recovery

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White Sox pleased with John Danks' recovery

John Danks has plenty of work ahead, but the White Sox are pleased with how he has progressed thus far.

Five months after he had shoulder surgery to repair a capsule tear and remove debris in the rotator cuff and biceps, Danks, the teams opening day starter last season, has successfully completed the long-toss portion of his rehab.

Team trainer Herm Schneider said in a team-released video on Thursday that Danks, who went 3-4 with a 5.70 ERA in nine starts last season, hasnt had any glitches in his rehab program thus far. Danks began his long-toss program a few days ahead of the planned Nov. 1 start date and completed it late last month.

Johnnys doing extremely well, Schneider said. He did the entire long toss program and completed it without a glitch. Our philosophy is a slow climb, not peaks and valleys, just a slow climb, and thats exactly what he did. Nothing but progress all the way through and completed it without a flaw. Were extremely pleased.

Reflecting upon last season, Danks isnt quite as pleased with his output. The left-hander is cognizant of the fact big things are expected of him after he signed a five-year, 65-million extension in December 2011. So an injury-plagued season, one in which he exhausted every effort to rehab before his Aug. 6 surgery, isnt quite up to Danks standards.

I felt like I was a waste of money last year to put it lightly, Danks said. I didnt do my job. I hurt the team more than I helped the team and that bugs me a little bit, a lot of bit. I want to get back to being a guy that is counted on, thought to be able to take the ball every fifth day and give us a chance to win.

Danks -- who was 40-31 with a 3.61 ERA in 608 13 innings from 2008-10 -- sounds as if he has taken the motivation from the last two seasons and instilled it into his rehab program. Schneider said Danks has adhered to every detail of the plan, which the trainer said is somewhat aggressive in order to get the pitcher on the mound as quickly as possible. The team is hopeful Danks can contribute in the 2013 season, but hasnt set any dates.

Surgerys like 10 percent of fix and 90 of the fix is the rehab and the time you put into it, Schneider said. As were seeing with Derrick Rose, theyre being careful with him. Were being careful, but were still being somewhat aggressive to get him back throwing because the longer you stay away from it the harder it is to get back into the swing of things, especially with the rhythm of pitching.

Johnny has worked very hard (he has) been diligent on everything weve asked him to.

Without any previous rehab experiences, Danks said because hes in unfamiliar territory, he determines his status based on Schneiders reactions. Thus far those conversations have been positive, Danks said. He looks forward to spring training, which begins in just over one month. White Sox pitchers and catchers hold their first workout on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Ariz.

Hes pleased, Danks said. That makes me feel good about things. I know that Im not where I need to be by any means but Im definitely making huge improvements every week. Im looking forward to getting on a mound and before we know itll be spring training.

White Sox free-agent focus: Nathan Eovaldi

White Sox free-agent focus: Nathan Eovaldi

This week, we’re profiling some of the biggest names on the free-agent market and taking a look at what kind of fits they are for the White Sox.

Few free agents to-be made their mark on the postseason like Nathan Eovaldi. A starting pitcher by trade, he stepped into a relief role for the Boston Red Sox in each of the first three games of the World Series, highlighted by his six innings of one-run ball in that marathon Game 3, the longest game in the history of the Fall Classic.

That was the exclamation point on a great run since the Red Sox acquired him from the Tampa Bay Rays in a midseason trade. His numbers after arriving in Boston were very good: a 3.33 ERA with 48 strikeouts and 12 walks in 12 appearances, 11 of which were starts. That solid performance for the World Series champs earned him what’s expected to be a large number of suitors this winter.

It’s hard to argue that the White Sox wouldn’t be a nice fit. They’re in the market for starting pitching, needing to fill a pair of holes in their starting rotation due to Michael Kopech’s recovery from Tommy John surgery and James Shields’ departure. Eovaldi’s just 28, lining him up nicely with the team’s long-term plans. And as an added bonus, he’s a Tommy John success story, throwing harder now than at any other point in his seven-year big league career. Kopech likely doesn’t need a confidence boost, but Eovaldi could be a nice guiding hand in the battle back from the surgery.

There are a few flags — they're not bad enough to be red flags, though I’m not sure what color they’d be; pink, maybe? — with Eovaldi, chiefly the fact that his career numbers weren’t that great prior to the second half of 2018. He missed the entire 2017 campaign while in recovery mode, and from 2014 to 2016 with the Miami Marlins and New York Yankees, he turned in a 4.42 ERA in 84 appearances, 81 of those starts. His 8.2 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 were good showings in 2018, but during that aforementioned three-season stretch, those numbers were 6.8 and 2.5, respectively.

Those numbers alone shouldn't stop Eovaldi from getting a deserved payday. But they’re worth noting to some White Sox fans who might want the South Siders to make a run at him.

The White Sox connection to Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom that once and for all proves pitcher wins are meaningless

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USA TODAY

The White Sox connection to Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom that once and for all proves pitcher wins are meaningless

Jacob deGrom was excellent for the New York Mets in 2018, and his sensational campaign was rewarded Wednesday with the NL Cy Young Award.

The Mets' ace led baseball with a 1.70 ERA and struck out 269 batters in 217 innings. The other end of that spectrum was Lucas Giolito, who in his first full season in the big leagues had the highest ERA in baseball (among qualified pitchers) at 6.13. He struck out 125 guys in 173.1 innings.

It would seem to be two dramatically different seasons, but in one area the two were very much the same. Just look at this factoid dug up by ESPN's Sarah Langs:

That's right, the White Sox were just as good in Giolito's starts as the Mets were in deGrom's starts, and the two pitchers finished with an identical number of victories on the season.

So if there was still any doubt that the pitcher win has become a meaningless stat, this ought to erase it.

That's not to come down on Giolito, who said he learned an awful lot from his struggles during the White Sox rebuilding season, lessons the team expects will benefit him down the road in seasons when the White Sox are contending for championships. Instead, it's to point out that the pitcher win, which has long since fell out of favor as a stat used to analyze how good someone is, is officially dead. After all, deGrom ranked 47th in wins and still managed to be arguably the game's best pitcher last season.

Obviously deGrom had no control over what the rest of his Mets teammates did in games he started. He allowed an average of fewer than two runs every time he took the mound. The Mets averaged fewer than three and a half runs in games deGrom started, more than half a run fewer than they averaged over the course of the 162-game season.

White Sox fans familiar with the Jose Quintana Era can relate.

Again, Giolito is expected to improve with experience as his career goes on. And it's important to remember that 2018 was never supposed to be about what his numbers looked like at the end but what they'll look like in the future.

Another lesson to take from 2018, though? The pitcher win is deader than disco.