When the White Sox signed Kosuke Fukudome last week to a major league contract, they seemed to not only be locking up their 4th outfielder slot, but their 5th outfielder slot too, since Brent Lillibridge is essentially Jordan Danks with more power and versatility at this point.
Pick one of the no-hit middle infielders (Escobar and Martinez), and that's a wrap, you've got a roster.
And yet, there's the this year Jordan Danks is really trying to make the team story, in the same place it was last year. It also has a Best Shape of His Life bit in there to boot.
When Jordan Danks arrives Tuesday at Camelback Ranch, he hopes the White Sox's coaching staff takes notice of the additional 15 pounds of muscle on his 6-foot-5 frame that could help result in a major league roster spot in the near future.
Danks, the younger brother of Sox left-hander John Danks, isn't discouraged by the prospect of starting his third consecutive season at Triple-A Charlotte after being left exposed but not selected in the Rule 5 draft in December and then seeing the Sox sign Kosuke Fukudome to a one-year contract on Tuesday.
"My motivation preceded all of this," Danks said Friday in a telephone interview.
Well geez, I imagine it would have to. Generally people don't get super-hyped about proving themselves after their window of opportunity closes
It's only natural that Danks continues to gear up as much as possible to engage Delwyn Young and Tyler Kuhn in a battle for who deserves a spot if some guy gets hurt and they can't find anyone waivers worth a shot; the alternative is quitting. And perhaps Mark Gonzales can't really be blamed for searching for a Spring Training story given the lack of any exciting prospects. Perhaps he can't be blamed for any Spring Training story, since good God, what is there? Sure, his chances at the big leagues were formally dismissed twice this off-season, and he lost all standing as the key to the John Danks extension, but at least he used to be important.
Clearly older brother John wasn't too irritated by Jordan being left off the 40-man roster to sign a 5-year extension, but he wasn't exactly charmed by the decision either.
So, it's curious to see how this situation will continue forward for the next few years or so. Danks certainly isn't showing any big hints of going anywhere or breaking free of his AAA ceiling. A disastrous end to 2011 showed his contact issues to be very much alive and well.
There are few times where a player posts a 29% K-rate in AAA and provokes the reaction of "Call 'em up!", and they usually involve the guy being able to hit the ball a ton, or a bunch of guys in front of him breaking their hands. Even Adam Dunn only struck out 20% of the time in AAA for goodness sake. That reminds me of the best part of the piece:
"Danks compared his notes with [Drew] Stubbs, who struck out 205 times with Cincinnati in 2011"
Oh, oh no.
The safe bet would be that John Danks witnesses the slow erosion of his brother's career, shrugs, murmurs "it's a business", and moves on, which he'll probably have to do, given that this unfortunate story figures to play out over-and-over until another outfield prospect of note emerges from the White Sox system, and removes Jordan from being tantalizingly close to the show.
Until then, Jordan Danks--John Danks' brother!--will be beating the door for a major league roster spot every Spring, putting up half-decent AAA numbers and doing his darnedness, and the White Sox will look at his contact issues (which probably aren't getting improved with muscle mass) and be forced to block him with a veteran stopgap.
Only you can end this, Brandon Short.