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Today in White Sox History: December 22

A free agency gift — and a contract extension flub

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Baltimore Orioles
By 2016, John Danks was more a doubtful debt than a legit starting pitcher for the White Sox.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Brett Ballantini started at South Side Sox in 2018 after 20 years of writing on basketball, baseball and hockey, including time on the Blackhawks and White Sox beats. Follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and email your site feedback to brettballantini@yahoo.com

1980

The Red Sox mailed Carlton Fisk (as well as Fred Lynn) their new contracts — two days late. Because the MLBPA’s labor agreement with MLB specified contracts be mailed by December 20, the players were declared free agents the following February. Boston’s gaffe led to Fisk signing with the White Sox on March 18, 1981, and eventually playing longer and in more games with the White Sox than his hometown Carmines.


2011

The White Sox signed presumptive ace John Danks to a five-year contract extension for $62 million.

True ace Mark Buehrle had held out some hope of returning, and that there was room in the rotation for two sharp southpaws. However, the White Sox made it clear they were moving on from the franchise icon, and Buehrle inked a deal with the Marlins for four years and $55 million. The crafty lefthander earned 11.1 WAR over that time, with a 3.77 ERA and 107 ERA+.

The Danks extension was such a disaster that in an almost unheard-of Jerry Reinsdorf move, the White Sox ended up buying Danks out of his contract, freeing up a roster spot in May 2016 and simply eating the final $12 million or so left on his deal.

Over his final five seasons, Danks was paid $62 million for 0.6 WAR, a 4.92 ERA and 81 ERA+ — making it possibly the worst contract extension in White Sox history.