Former top prospect Humber reaches bottom of barrel, signs with Royals

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Philip Humber was the third overall pick in the 2004 draft following a brilliant college career and went from the Mets to the Twins as part of the four-player package for Johan Santana, but just two years later he could manage only a minor-league deal from the Royals after being cut by Minnesota.
Humber twice cleared waivers after the Twins dropped him from the 40-man roster during the season and really hasn’t been the same since undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery in 2005, showing nothing since the Santana deal to suggest that he can be a useful major leaguer. He coughed up 14 runs in 21 innings for the Twins, allowing opponents to bat .329/.430/.518, and posted a 4.96 ERA in 254 innings at Triple-A.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Humber pitch in the big leagues again and maybe he can even find a niche as a long reliever for the lowly Royals, but as a 27-year-old who cleared waivers twice in the past six months and could manage only a minor-league deal from one of MLB’s worst teams as a free agent it’s safe to say that any pretense of upside has vanished. College stud, third overall pick, top prospect, part of the Santana trade package … and zero big-league wins.

Rays to start relievers in all three games of weekend series with Orioles

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays will start a reliever in each of the three games of the club’s weekend series at home against the Orioles. Sergio Romo will start Friday, Ryne Stanek will start Saturday, and Romo will start again Sunday. The Orioles’ starters are TBA at the moment.

This continues the trend that drew attention last weekend, resulting in Angels third baseman calling the strategy “bad for baseball.” I wrote about the potential labor impacts of this strategy as well. The Rays did it against the Angels because they had a right-hander-heavy top of the lineup and didn’t want lefty Ryan Yarbrough to have to face that top of the lineup three times.

The O’s have a righty-heavy top of the lineup as well, as various combinations of Trey Mancini, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, and Jonathan Schoop have batted 1-2-3-4 for most of the season. Romo has limited right-handers to a .702 OPS this season.