Danks released, ending 10-year run with White Sox

Veteran lefty had solid seasons from 2008-10, but injuries led to struggles

May 3rd, 2016

CHICAGO -- The decade-long run of John Danks with the White Sox came to an end on Tuesday, when the team released the veteran southpaw, as announced by general manager Rick Hahn prior to the game against Boston.

Danks, who turned 31 in April, struggled through one of the worst months of his career by losing all four of his April starts and posting a 7.25 ERA. The veteran has long been considered a strong clubhouse influence and one of the more respected players on the roster, but with the team losing eight games in April and Danks starting four of them, the White Sox decided to make a change.

"It's never easy to make a move like this when you have as much respect for the player involved as we all do for Johnny," Hahn said. "He's been a tremendous teammate for everyone in that locker room this year and throughout his entire White Sox career, and obviously an extremely hard worker."

"Obviously, he wasn't doing too well, but if you walked into this clubhouse you could never tell," White Sox pitcher Carlos Rodon said. "Just a great influence on everyone in this clubhouse and a great clubhouse guy. Sad to see him leave."

After being acquired from the Rangers in a trade on Dec. 23, 2006, Danks became one of the steadiest starters in the American League from 2008-10, going 40-31 with a 3.61 ERA during that time. His 2012 season was cut short due to arthroscopic surgery to repair a capsular tear and minor debridement of the rotator cuff and biceps in his left shoulder, and he basically came back as a different pitcher at a different level of effectiveness.

Since that time, Danks has not produced an ERA below 4.71. Yet, through the struggles, he never made excuses to the media, his teammates or the higher-ups in the organization.

"Everyone's first thought was, 'Man, we love this guy. He's one of the best teammates you could possibly ask for,'" said ace Chris Sale, who now has the longest White Sox tenure on the current roster. "Not only that but what he's taught me, Rodon and countless other teammates.

"He was here for a decade. That's a long time to be somewhere. He will leave a lasting impression on this place for obviously great reasons."

This move becomes official on Thursday, when Erik Johnson arrives from Triple-A Charlotte to start for the White Sox. Rodon moves up one day to take the mound on Wednesday.

There's no guarantee for Johnson past Thursday. The White Sox also will look at right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who already made one start for the team in Toronto, and righty Jacob Turner and top prospect Carson Fulmer, although his potential promotion from Double-A Birmingham would be down the line. 

A team representative will be on-hand Friday for free agent Tim Lincecum's open workout.

"We've got scouts everywhere," said a smiling Hahn, without confirming the Lincecum interest.

Danks is still owed more than $11.9 million in the final season of a five-year, $65 million extension. He will be remembered for brilliance during the 2008 1-0 victory over the Twins in the Blackout Game that sent the White Sox to the postseason and his consistency of character over 10 years. 

"We're going to miss him," third baseman Todd Frazier said of Danks, who ranks sixth in club history among left-handed pitchers in starts and quality starts. "I'm especially going to miss him. He kind of taught me a little bit about the Chicago Way, and he's just one of those guys who's going to be in the back of your mind a little bit every couple days, just thinking about how he's doing."

Danks has a career record of 79-104 with a 4.38 ERA in 247 games, all starts for the White Sox.