Astros claim RHP Philip Humber off waivers from White Sox

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Update: And the Astros have already signed Humber to a one-year deal with a club option for 2014. No word on the terms yet, but a guarantee around $2 million seems likely.

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The White Sox were planning to non-tender Philip Humber before Friday’s deadline, but they went ahead and placed him on waivers beforehand, thinking they might pick up a few bucks in process. The Astros took advantage, grabbing Humber with their No. 1 waiver priority.

Humber threw a perfect game against the Mariners in April, yet he finished the season 5-5 with a 6.44 ERA in 16 starts and 10 relief appearances for the Pale Hose. It was quite a comedown after a fine 2011 season in which he went 9-9 with a 3.75 ERA in 163 innings.

Assuming that the Astros work out a contract with Humber, he’ll join a rotation set to include Bud Norris, Lucas Harrell (another guy who was claimed off waivers from the White Sox) and Jordan Lyles. Humber is eligible for arbitration for the first time, so he wouldn’t stand to make more than $1.5 million-$2 million in 2013.

The White Sox also today announced that first baseman Dan Johnson and minor league right-hander Anthony Carter have been non-tendered. Those two could be offered minor league contracts to stick around.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.

Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.

While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.