Normally, 31-year-olds earning minor-league deals don’t warrant much publicity, but Danks has had quite a bit of success in his career. The Texas-born former first-round draft pick parlayed his very solid first five seasons (4.o3 ERA, 7.0 K/9, 19.9 WAR) into a contract extension worth $65 million. The contract ran from 2012-16, and did not go nearly as swimmingly, with Danks posting a 4.92 ERA and 1.2 WAR over only 92 starts over the course of the contract (that’s about $707K per start!). Danks was designated for assignment on May 3 after allowing twenty runs in his first four starts of the 2016 season.
With the contract being of the minor-league variety, the Braves don’t have to expect much from Danks in 2017. It’s a low-cost flyer that they’re hoping to strike gold on, but they can move on swiftly and easily if he’s not at all improved from his dismal 2016. The Braves have a pretty set rotation, with four locks in Julio Teheran, Bartolo Colon, Jaime Garcia, and R.A. Dickey. Mike Foltynewicz, Matt Wisler, Josh Collmenter, and Aaron Blair are expected to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation, and while Danks could sneak into the battle, it’s far from likely. If Danks pitches well in spring training but doesn’t break camp with the Braves, he could interest another team and latch on with them as he attempts to make his way back to the majors.