White Sox aim for Montero, Banuelos in Danks talks with Yankees

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SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports that the White Sox have asked the Yankees for both Jesus Montero and Manny Banuelos in a John Danks deal.

Danks, 26, is coming off a year in which he went 8-12 with a 4.33 ERA, but he will be highly coveted by several teams in trade talks. The durable left-hander finished with ERAs of 3.77 and 3.72 the two previous year, and he’s fanned seven batters per nine innings over the course of his career. He’s been on the disabled list just once as a major leaguer, that coming last season due to a strained oblique.

But while a lot of teams would love to slot Danks into their rotation, the Yankees aren’t going to give up their top two prospects for him. It’s doubtful they’d part with either Montero or Banuelos. Danks has just one year left before free agency, limiting his trade value, and he’s due to make $8 million or so in arbitration next year.

A Danks trade could be expanded to include left-handed reliever Matt Thornton, but that still wouldn’t pry away Banuelos from the Yankees. The White Sox will need to aim a little lower.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.