John Danks’ five-year, $65 million contract extension with the White Sox was reported last week and became official today.
Danks will get $8 million in 2012 and then $14.25 million per season from 2013-2016.
If not for the extension Danks would be heading into his final season of arbitration eligibility after earning $6 million in 2011, so the White Sox likely end up saving a little bit of money for 2012 and then essentially buy out his first four seasons of free agency for $57 million.
Danks certainly isn’t an elite pitcher, but the 26-year-old left-hander in the second tier of top-notch No. 2 starters and borderline No. 1 guys, posting ERAs of 3.32, 3.77, 3.72, and 4.33 during the past four seasons while calling a hitter-friendly ballpark home in the American League.
Among all the pitchers to start at least 100 games from 2008-2011 he ranks 23rd in ERA and 17th in adjusted ERA+.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.