Philip Humber threw a perfect game on April 21 of last year, but the degree to which he’s fallen apart since then is amazing.
Humber, who was claimed off waivers by the Astros from the White Sox in November, has thrown 111 innings and faced 523 batters since the perfect game. During that time he has a 7.52 ERA.
That includes a 7.39 ERA in 88 post-perfect game innings for the White Sox last season and a 7.99 ERA in 24 innings for the Astros this season. Humber has started five games for Houston, going 0-5 while allowing a league-high 21 runs and a .346 opponents’ batting average.
The obvious thing to say here is that Humber probably doesn’t belong in the big leagues right now, but I’m more fascinated by the whole situation and how a decent back-of-the-rotation starter can go from the peak of his professional career to immediately being completely unable to do his job.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.