White Sox

Why didn't the Sox build around Santos?

White Sox

Given that the Sox traded Sergio Santos and his team-friendly deal, why did the Sox turn around and sign John Danks to an extension?

Former Mets GM Jim Duquette raised that question in a phone interview on Chicago Tribune Live today, saying that the Danks extension raised mixed signals about what the team is doing.

Two things: First, I argued the Sox never were actually rebuilding. And second, no team should ever build around a relief pitcher, even one with a six-year, team-friendly contract.

You build around starters and position players -- guys who can provide much more value. An elite season for a reliever is around the two-win mark. For a position player or pitcher, an elite player is worth five or more wins, roughly.

Danks isn't elite, but he could very well be a three or four-win pitcher for each of the next five seasons. Santos, on the other hand, is very good. Maybe he'll be elite, but an elite Santos will be worth less than just a good Danks.

And if Nestor Molina develops into a mid-rotation starter, he'll be worth more than Santos over the course of his six years of team control.

Again, the White Sox, in dealing Santos, traded from a position of depth. That doesn't signal a rebuild. And, obviously, neither does the Danks extension.