Updated: July 28, 2014 10:11PM
DETROIT — It’s one thing to count down the hours to the trade deadline with a stockpile of veterans that other teams really want.
It’s another to be the White Sox, who have an assortment of serviceable vets with varying degrees of value — none of it off the charts —for teams needing a piece or two to make a run at the postseason.
John Danks is proving to be a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter again, but his contract makes trading him difficult. Danks is not the hot commodity Jake Peavy was when general manager Rick Hahn cleared that big salary and acquired Avisail Garcia from the Tigers in a three-team deal at last year’s deadline. Even though starters who pitch 200 innings with ERAs in the low 4.00s are valuable commodities, you can be sure Hahn wouldn’t mind finding a taker for Danks (9-6, 4.40 ERA) because the 29-year-old lefty has this season and the next two left on a five-year, $65 million contract.
The Yankees need starting pitching and are known to be asking about Danks, but they might not be willing to give up much, which could pose a predicament for the Sox.
“I think they’ll have a hard time moving him,’’ a major-league source said. “Anybody who throws 200 innings in the big leagues is worth his weight in gold. But I don’t think his weight is worth $30 million worth of gold.’’
Trades through waivers can be made after Thursday’s deadline. If Danks isn’t dealt by then, he’ll likely be run through waivers.
“The question posed to the White Sox then is, would they let him go for nothing on a waiver claim? I think they would,’’ the source said. “But I just don’t see someone taking that contract on.’’
It’s not that the Sox don’t like or have no use for Danks. It’s just Business 101. Getting rid of Peavy, Alex Rios (after the non-waiver deadline) and others last season gave Hahn enough payroll flexibility to pursue Jose Abreu in the offseason. The Sox also stepped up their investments in the draft and international signings.
Hahn probably can find a replacement for Danks, perhaps in free agency next year, and he is already touting No. 3 overall pick Carlos Rodon (a left-hander) “as a premium front-end starter with the ability to help us in Chicago at some point in the not-too-distant future.”
As for the Sox’ other tradable pieces, Adam Dunn is the only other one with a too-big salary, but he is in the last year of a $56 million deal that pays him $15 million this year.
As for the Sox’ other money-makers, there’s just not an overwhelming amount of demand for Gordon Beckham (slumping), Alejandro De Aza (streaky), Dayan Viciedo (very streaky) and Matt Lindstrom (injured).
All-Star Alexei Ramirez ($9 million this season, $10 million next), who turns 34 in September, could bring a nice return, but the Sox don’t seem to have a major-league-ready every-day shortstop in their farm system.
NOTES: Pitching coach Don Cooper’s ongoing encounter with vertigo is expected to keep him out of the series in Detroit. Cooper has missed five consecutive games.
◆ Bench coach Mark Parent is expected back after missing the Twins series to attend a family funeral.
◆ Class AAA Charlotte first baseman Andy Wilkins was named International League Player of the Week for the second consecutive week. The 25-year-old left-handed hitter, who hit eight home runs and drove in 16 runs in eight games, is batting .286 with 26 doubles, 26 homers and 70 RBI in 97 games.
◆ The Sox’ home attendance of 1,055,283 through Sunday, an average of 21,105, ranks 28th of 30 major-league teams. Only the Indians (18,402 average) and Rays (17,360) rank lower.