Danks happy in Chicago with one-year deal
Quentin, Pena avoid arbitration; Humber claimed
CHICAGO -- John Danks wants to remain with the White Sox as long as humanly possible, and then probably a few years after that.
It's the White Sox who have allowed the southpaw to develop into one of the elite starters in the American League, and it's the city of Chicago that has become a second home for the Texas native. But on a day when Danks and the White Sox agreed to a one-year, $6 million deal, avoiding arbitration, the 25-year-old rotation staple didn't seem worried about the lack of a multiyear deal.
"I know our camp is extremely happy with the deal signed today, for sure," Danks told MLB.com of his salary increase from last year's number of $3.45 million. "It's not at the point where it's do-or-die for a [multiyear] deal. Neither side is panicking."
Along with Danks' deal, the White Sox announced a new one-year, $1.6 million contract for reliever Tony Pena and a one-year, $5.05 million deal for outfielder Carlos Quentin. The White Sox have no arbitration-eligible players remaining, which is nothing unusual, considering the White Sox last went to arbitration in 2001 with Keith Foulke.
Pena, 29, received a raise from $1.2 million earned in 2010. Although he finished with a 5.10 ERA over 52 games, Pena proved extremely valuable to the White Sox through his versatility -- including three spot-starts -- and topped American League relievers with 81 2/3 innings pitched. Pena could step into the April rotation if Jake Peavy needs more time to rehab his 2010 season-ending detached latissimus dorsi muscle in his posterior right shoulder.
Quentin's salary jumped from $3.2 million after the right fielder launched 26 home runs, drove in 87 and finished with an on-base percentage of .342 in 2010. It was during Spring Training '09 when Quentin, Danks and Gavin Floyd were offered basically the same four-year, $15.5-million extension with a 2013 club option.
Only Floyd accepted the offer, with the new father earning $5 million in 2011 and $7 million in 2012. Danks said on Tuesday that the offer he turned down two springs ago was the last serious multiyear extension discussed by both sides.
With another year of arbitration eligibility, Danks understands an extension not happening today doesn't mean one couldn't get done in the near future.
"We are all happy," Danks said. "I'm here, and there isn't really a need for them to do that. I'm really not sweating it. They have to do what they have to do, but everyone knows I'm extremely happy with where I'm at and I'm extremely happy here in Chicago."
Danks continued his yearly ascent into the upper echelon of AL starters with his 15-11 record and 3.72 ERA over 32 starts in 2010. Of greater importance to Danks were his 213 innings pitched, marking his second straight year surpassing that total, along with his 21 starts during which he surrendered two earned runs or less. That showing left him behind AL Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez (25) and C.J. Wilson (22) in this particular category of stingy excellence.
Yet, Danks certainly wasn't completely satisfied. He is in Week 3 of an offseason throwing program and is trying to figure out a way to shorten or flat-out avoid hitting that proverbial wall in late July or early August.
"My goal is to be thought of as one of the elite starters in the American League, but [White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper] and I talk about being thought of as one of the best in the game," Danks said. "Every pitcher wants that.
"I'll get the ball 33 times this season, and my goal is to go out and try to win 33 games. I can't control what people think of me and say of me. I just want to go out and give the White Sox a chance to win, and the more times I do that, the more credibility you get. I'm really not worried about any of that. If I'm doing my job, I'm extremely happy."
Tuesday's trio of contract announcements brings the 2011 White Sox payroll to just short of $123 million. It's an all-in approach causing Danks to express excitement for the championship position the team has put its players in for 2011 and to not worry about a personal multiyear deal down the line.
"Just talking to [Mark] Buehrle and Coop and [Gordon] Beckham, we are super excited to get the season started, to go to Spring Training," Danks said. "I think right now, we are one of the teams to beat.
"The same thing was said by our team before last year and we came up short, which was disappointing from all angles. But we've added some huge pieces."
Phillip Humber, 28, also was claimed off waivers by the White Sox from Oakland on Tuesday. Humber is best known as the third-overall pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft and as part of the return talent package the Twins received from the New York Mets in the 2008 trade of Johan Santana. The right-hander, whose addition raised the White Sox 40-man roster total to 38, could figure into the middle-relief competition or even emerge as a spot-starter for Peavy despite just two career starts on his limited resume.