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

Dec 21, 2009, 1:51 PM EDT

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.

  1. Neon Noodle - Dec 21, 2009 at 2:02 PM

    HEY, Wins are no means to quantify the value of a pitcher.
    Now those other numbers.. eww

  2. John Pileggi - Dec 21, 2009 at 2:19 PM

    It’s a shame. These are not stats in a fantasy league. These are human beings with dreams and hopes and families that share them. I hope this young man (and, despite what age is in “baseball years”, a 27-year old is a kid) can hook up with a team and get on track. Perhaps the Mets, assuming the Royals do not work out, may have an interest.

  3. Neon Noodle - Dec 21, 2009 at 3:27 PM

    Mr. Pileggi, I sort of hear what you are saying, but this kid made over 1 million dollars last year.
    According to the Census Bureau there are currently about 6,791,300,000 living in this world. How many of these poeple do you think deeserve your concern more than Phillip here?
    Unless, of course, you are related. Then, by all means, take offense.

  4. John Pileggi - Dec 21, 2009 at 4:53 PM

    Yup, $1 million is a lot of money. But the chances are he is not going to make a lot more if things continue as they are. And thank you for worrying about my stretching of my limited level of concern for the world’s populace. I cannot make it to 6.8 billion for sure, but having some compassion for a young person is not too taxing of my limits, I assure you. And “take offense”?? ? This is a posting on a sports blog. While I feel badly for a young person who may be seeing the end of a childhood dream, I try and keep things in perspective. This is baseball, not a world crisis. Thanks for the reply.

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