Humber Joins A's, Again
There was a brief moment before the 2011 season that it seemed likely that Philip Humber would be part of the Oakland A's starting rotation. The A's claimed Humber off of waivers from the Kansas City Royals in December 2010 and he appeared set to compete for a rotation spot that spring. However, on January 8, 2011, the A's acquired Guillermo Moscoso and DFA'd Humber to make room for Moscoso on the 40-man roster.
Humber would be claimed by the Chicago White Sox later that month and nearly a year later, he would make history with the Sox. On April 21, Humber tossed the 21st perfect game in major-league history. The feat came against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. He struck-out nine and recorded five groundouts and 13 flyouts. Brendan Ryan made the final out for the Mariners.
It has been a struggle for Humber since that perfect game, however. He finished the 2012 season with a 6.44 ERA in 102 innings for the White Sox and he spent some time in the minor leagues. Before the 2013 season, the White Sox waived Humber and he was claimed by the Houston Astros. Humber split the 2013 season between the big leagues and Triple-A. With Houston, Humber was 0-8 with a 7.90 ERA in 54.2 innings. With Triple-A Oklahoma City, Humber posted a 4.88 ERA in 50 innings.
Before the perfect game, Humber was best known for being one of the prospects acquired by the Minnesota Twins from the New York Mets in exchange for Johan Santana. Humber was the Mets' first-round pick in 2004, the third-overall selection. The Rice alum reached the big leagues by the tail-end of the 2006 season, pitching two scoreless innings for the Mets. He would appear in three games for the Mets in 2007 and was a well-regarded prospect at the time of the trade in February 2008.
Humber struggled in the Twins' organization, never posting an ERA under 4.50 in two Triple-A seasons and making only 13 relief appearances with the Twins over those two seasons. He was granted his free agency after the 2009 season and he signed with the Kansas City Royals.
Humber's best season was the 2011 campaign, when he made 26 starts and two relief appearances for the White Sox. He had a 3.75 ERA and a 116:41 K:BB in 163 innings for the South Siders that season.
The 30-year-old Humber still has a decent fastball that can touch 95 and sits in the 90-92 MPH range. He also features a curveball, slider and change-up. Humber has been mostly a starter in the minor leagues, although he does have experience out of the bullpen at the major league level. A relief role could suit Humber, who held right-handed hitters to a .189 average last season (left-handers batted .433 against him).
Longtime A's farmhands Travis Banwart, Carlos Hernandez and Bruce Billings are all expected to leave the organization this off-season via minor league free agency, and Humber will help replace some of their innings with Sacramento. He will also serve as another reclamation project for the A's major league and minor league pitching coaches, who have had success turning around several minor league veterans over the years (most recently Jesse Chavez).
Russell Plays In AFL All-Star Game
A's top prospect Addison Russell played in the Arizona Fall League's Fall Stars game over the weekend. Russell earned the start at shortstop for the Eastern Team, which lost to the Western Team, 9-2.
Russell went 0-for-2 at the plate, but he made a decent stop defensively before his day ended. Russell is batting .245/.328/.396 in 53 at-bats for the Mesa Solar Sox this fall.
Smyth Starring In Venezuela
After allowing runs in his first three appearances of the Venezuelan Winter League season, reliever Paul Smyth has gone on a hot streak for the Bravos de Margarita. Smyth has seven consecutive scoreless appearances. He has a 2.84 ERA and a 12:2 K:BB in 12.2 innings for the Bravos. Smyth had a 2.56 ERA and a 55:20 K:BB in 59.2 innings for the RockHounds and River Cats this past season.
A's Exercise Two Options, Decline Two Others
On Friday, the A's exercised their team options for 2014 for CF Coco Crisp and LHP Brett Anderson. They declined to pick-up their 2014 options for OF Chris Young and C Kurt Suzuki. Young and Suzuki are now free agents.
LaRussa, Martin In Consideration For The Hall
Former A's managers Tony LaRussa and Billy Martin and former DH Dave Parker are among 12 former players, managers and executives on the 2014 Expansion Era Hall of Fame ballot. These are candidates "whose greatest contributions to the game were realized from 1973 through the present."
In addition to LaRussa, Martin and Parker, Dave Concepcion, Bobby Cox, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Marvin Miller, Dan Quisenberry, Ted Simmons, George Steinbrenner and Joe Torre are on the ballot. Any candidate to receive votes on at least 75% of the ballots cast will be inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of the 2014 class.
LaRussa managed the A's from 1986-1995. He won four division titles, three AL titles and one World Series during his time with the A's. LaRussa also managed the Chicago White Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals. He won two World Series titles with St. Louis.
Martin managed the A's from 1980-1982 and he won an AL West title in 1981. He also introduced an era of A's baseball called "Billy Ball". Martin also managed the Detroit Tigers and the Texas Rangers, but he is best known for his stints with the New York Yankees and his battles with Yankees' owner George Steinbrenner. He was a native of Berkeley and an alum of Berkeley High. Martin played 11 seasons in the big leagues. He passed away in 1989 in a car accident.
Parker spent two seasons with the A's (1988, 1989) and he was part of two AL pennant winners and one World Champion. Best known for his time in Pittsburgh, Parker also starred for Cincinnati before finishing his career with the Brewers, Angels and Blue Jays. He had 339 career homeruns and an 810 OPS. Parker was also one of the best throwing right-fielders of the 1970s and early 1980s.