Rumor mill heating up on John Danks

CHICAGO -- Kenny Williams’ decision to shut down his trading post at the winter meetings could be paying dividends soon.

When he felt there were no satisfactory trade proposals for some of his veteran talent, especially starting pitcher John Danks, Williams not only said he wasn’t prepared to make a deal at last week’s meetings, but he claimed that he now wasn’t interested in trading any pitching before the start of the season. That comment came after Sergio Santos was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Williams’ statement was perceived to be a bluff, though, and that once the offseason moved on and teams became more intent on trading for pitching a suitor figured to ultimately surface.

That scenario appears to be playing out now as SI.com’s Jon Heyman reported Monday, via Twitter (@Jon_Heyman), that the Yankees could be interested in trading one of their three top prospects for Danks. The White Sox reportedly asked for two of them.

The Yankees don't seem too intent on getting this deal done right now, though.

The group of Yankees prospects apparently under discussion includes right-hander Dellin Betances, an eighth-round draft pick in 2006 out of Brooklyn. Then there is Manuel Banuelos, a left-hander out of Mexico, and catcher Jesus Montero, a Venezuela native, who was ranked as the Yankees’ top prospect entering the 2011 season.

A different Danks-to-the-Yankees trade rumor during last week’s winter meetings in Dallas had the White Sox asking for both Montero and Banuelos for Danks.

The White Sox have also reportedly talked about Danks with the Boston Red Sox, but not much is known about the players under discussion in that potential deal.

Helping to move a Danks trade to the forefront was the fact that both top free-agent starting pitchers, Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson, found new teams late last week. Danks is not only available for the right deal, his salary in 2012, estimated at around $7 million, will be half what Buehrle and Wilson will make.

Heyman also tweeted over the weekend that the Blue Jays and White Sox were talking about a Carlos Quentin deal, but those talks are “cool now.”