Friday Afternoon, the White Sox announced that the Astros claimed Right Handed starting pitcher Phil Humber off waivers. Humber, 29, is a good bet to fill a rotation spot for the Astros in 2013. In 316 major league innings, Humber posted a 4.87 ERA (4.53 FIP) with a 6.71 K/9, 3.10 BB/9, and 2.17 K/BB. Humber's most successful season was in 2011, when he had a 3.75 ERA in 163 innings.
Humber was a 1st round (3rd overall) pick of the New York Mets in 2004 out of Rice University. He made his major league debut in 2006, but never logged significant innings until 2011. In the minors, his ERA was 4.49 in 681 innings with a low walk rate and high SO/BB rate.
He lost time in 2012 due to an elbow strain, which may have contributed to his high ERA for the season. There's no reason to think that Humber will perform as poorly as he did in 2012, and he figures to be a middle of the rotation starter for the Astros in 2013.
This move makes a lot of sense for the Astros. Though Humber has not lit the world on fire, he has had major league success, is a hometown guy, and has the pedigree of a top draft pick. At 29, he is still below the peak age for starting pitchers, and could continue to improve as he spends more time in the majors. It is a minor surprise that Humber was even available, but he was suspected to be a non-tender candidate because of the White Sox' comparatively strong rotation and his projected arbitration salary cost (about $2 million, which the Astros can well afford).
The Astros made a smart grab to add a rotation pitcher with a perfect game on his resume, without giving up any assets or a significant amount of cash.