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Danks Brothers Ditch Boras

The White Sox just completed their 4th perfect homestand in team history--Did I hear that right?--about which I'm sure I'll write at some point before I call it a night, but for right now I'd like to focus on a seemingly small item that, thanks to recent events, will fly under the local media's radar.

Vinny Del Negro is the new Bulls Coach. Cedric Benson is drunk, again, and is no longer be part of the Bear organization. The Cubs have the best record in baseball. Even the Sox themselves have the largest division lead in baseball. There are plenty of legitimate local stories today to fill column inches. Heck, even ESPN conducted a chat centered around the Sox and Cubs. So, I don't expect anything more than a blurb from Mark Gonzales on the Danks brothers ditching Scott Boras in favor of Jeff Berry in any of the local dailies.

This is big news. Huge news for the White Sox. The Sox have a long history with Boras, dating back to draft picks Bobby Seay, Bobby Hill and Jeff Weaver before finally culminating in the A-Rod free-agency. Because of those, let's call them talent valuation differences, the Sox have avoided dealing with Boras and his clients at every opportunity.

The Danks brothers switching agents signals two things.
  1. Jordan Danks is about as sure to sign as a 7th round "signability" pick can be.
  2. John Danks will likely be open to talking about a long-term contract buying out his arbitration years, which Boras is loathe to do.

It interesting, to me, at least, how this all went down. While I have no way to confirm how the changing of the guard developed, I imagine that it all dominoed on Thursday night, Day 1 of the MLB first-year player draft. The Sox, who had drafted Jordan in the 19th round in 2005, reportedly making him an offer in the 7-figure neighborhood, called up the younger Danks to see if he'd be open to signing if picked in the '08 7th round. Excited at the chance to possibly play with his brother, the younger Danks was open to signing. His agent, however, presented a problem.

Boras-represented players often fall in the draft, and they are often directed to sit out a year to increase their leverage (see: Stephen Drew, Luke Hochaver, et al). For Jordan, this would mean returning to Texas for his senior season. It would also mean that he would be far more likely to be drafted by a team other than the White Sox at no guarantee of more money. It appears that the opportunity to play with his brother was a more motivating factor than money for Jordan, who is going to get his money--He'll likely get the second-largest bonus (behind Gordon Beckham) of any of the '08 White Sox draft class. For reference, third-rounder Brent Morel has already signed for $458K.

The elder Danks switch to Berry should help to keep him around long enough to make seeing both Danks brothers on the field at the same time a definite possibility. And given his possible breakout season, his switch is the larger story. I don't know if I can name a high-profile Boras-represented client who has signed a deal to buy out his arbitration years, but you don't even have to look outside the Sox own dugout to find a young, talented, left-hander who signed a Berry-negotiated deal at a relative discount (twice).

Today was a good day for the Sox, and that's even before taking into account what happened on the field.