The contract extension signed by Danks this past week stunned just about everybody in baseball who assumed the White Sox were rebuilding and thus were going to trade Danks. Instead, Kenny Williams turned about and signed Danks to a 5 year deal, buying out the final year of arbitration in the process.
When one compares the last two seasons of Wilson, versus the 2009-10 seasons of Danks (being charitable and ignoring his mostly awful 2011), one sees Wilson has stats the equal or slightly better of Danks' in every major category: Better WHIP, better ERA+, fewer hits per game surrendered, more strikeouts, 6 CG to Danks' 2. One stat which was eye-popping to me showed Wilson gave up just a half a HR per game over those two years, while pitching half his games in Arlington, while Danks averaged one per game.
[Special bonus: While Danks is younger at 27 next April 15, he has 917 IP on his arm's odometer, while Wilson, who just turned 31, has but 708.]
So against that tableau, look at the deal Danks signed with the White Sox: $65M over 5 years. Assuming that he would have won about $9M in arbitration for 2012 anyway, the deal for the remaining four years works out to $14M per season. The contact Danks just signed will be used as a benchmark for other pitchers in their negotiations, which means Wilson most likely would have cost us more if Danks' deal had been concluded first.
Compare that to Wilson's AAV of $15.5M, and Wilson begins to look like a bargain. Given his excellent ability to keep the ball on the ground, combined with the very good defensive play by the Angels' infield, and Wilson may have his best season yet in 2012.