Earlier this month, White Sox GM Kenny Williams used the word rebuilding for the first time during his tenure. Its never a popular word to use with a fan base.
However, rebuilding can happen by making moves that set up your future without trading the most valuable assets on your roster. The White Sox did that Wednesday night with the extension of pitcher John Danks. By locking up Danks, the White Sox can still rebuild, while making a commitment to make him the cornerstone of their rotation. The move also gives fans hope for both the short and long term future after a disappointing 2011 season and what thus far has been one of their roughest offseasons, at least emotionally, with the departure of fan-favorites Mark Buehrle and Ozzie Guillen.
The news of the extension was a surprise, especially with Danks. Most expected Danks to pitch elsewhere in 2012 as the White Sox were reportedly shopping the southpaw for a package of prospects. Ive never been a huge fan of that, trading a pitcher in his prime for a package of unproven hope. Outside of budgetary reasons, these moves rarely work out. Teams trade assets in hopes of landing the guy they traded. In other words, if the Sox traded Danks, they were hoping to get a prospect that turned out to be the next Danks. Makes no sense.
This deal, though, does. It gives the Sox a solid front-line starter with the ability to shop other parts of their roster to provide salary relief and still get decent talent in return.
At the winter meetings, I felt the best move the White Sox could make was locking up Danks for four years.
They did one better, by making him the richest pitcher in White Sox history.