Chicago White Sox: Will John Danks Stabilize an Otherwise Unsettled Rotation?

Matthew SmithCorrespondent IIIOctober 16, 2012

May 03, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher John Danks (50) prepares to throw a pitch against the Cleveland Indians in the first inning at US Cellular Field.  Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE

Chicago White Sox general manager Kenny Williams has his work cut out, especially in regards to the 2013 starting rotation.  Stability, it would seem, should be his primary focus following a season of injuries, innings and youth for the White Sox pitching staff. 

John Danks, who was 3-4 with a 5.70 ERA prior to going on the 60-day disabled list, may be just the man for the job.

According to MLB reporter Scott Merkin, Danks is not that far away from resuming baseball activities. Merkin reported on October 6 that Danks is in line to begin throwing again on November 1 following a successful surgical procedure in August to clean up his throwing shoulder and bicep

Although it may not be the prevailing sentiment among Sox fans, that is actually good news.

As it stands, the White Sox are going to need Danks in the worst way since the rotation will, most likely, lose at least two pitchers to free agency.    

Jake Peavy (11-12, 3.37) has a $22 million team option and Francisco Liriano (3-2, 5.40) was not very productive for the White Sox, so expect both of them to be wearing different uniforms next year. 

Gavin Floyd (12-11, 4.29), on the other hand, has a relatively reasonable $9.5 million option for the 2013 season and has the best chance of remaining in the White Sox starting rotation.

It seems to be a given that lefty Chris Sale is the No. 1 starter going into next season, and, if there are no major additions during the offseason, Floyd will most likely open as the No. 2.  With Danks as the hump guy in the rotation, the White Sox may have some legitimate stability, which is something they lacked in 2012. 

A strong No. 3 starter can ultimately be the difference between making the postseason and watching from home, just ask the Detroit Tigers.  Even with the offensive collapse the White Sox went through at the end of the season, if the Tigers do not have Doug Fister, they are not playing the New York Yankees in the ALCS.

A solid bridge starter also takes some of the pressure off the lower half of the rotation.  Jose Quintana (6-6, 3.76) will look to improve from his effort last season, and with the fifth spot in the rotation unknown, the more help the White Sox have at the top, the better the team’s chances are of winning the AL Central.

Many correctly argue that Danks is overpaid and that Williams made a foolish move by giving Danks, who was 8-12 with a 4.33 ERA in 2011, a five-year, $65 million extension last year.  

The bottom line, however, is that the White Sox missed Danks this past season and his return may be the stabilizing force the 2013 rotation needs.