White Sox looking to sign John Danks to long-term deal

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John Danks is already under team control in 2011 and 2012 as an arbitration eligible player, but Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com reports that the White Sox are interesting in signing the left-hander to a long-term contract that extends “at least through his first free agent year in 2013.”

Danks earned $3.45 million this season and is in line for a big raise after going 15-11 with a 3.72 ERA and 162/70 K/BB ratio in 213 innings. Combined over the past three seasons Danks has a 3.61 ERA in 608 innings spread over 97 starts and he’s still just 25 years old, so pursuing a long-term deal makes a lot of sense for Chicago.

Padilla speculates that the White Sox could offer Danks a four-year deal “in the $20-million range,” but I’m not sure why he’d be motivated to sign that cheaply. He’d likely get more than $5 million via arbitration for 2011, with another raise expected in 2012, and then his first two years of free agency should be even more expensive. Perhaps a three-year deal worth $20 million would make some sense, but Danks should realistically be asking for closer to $30 million in a four-year deal.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.