Chicago White Sox: The Phil Humber Experience Is Coming to an End

Chris MurphyAnalyst IAugust 11, 2011

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 13:  Philip Humber #41 of the Chicago White Sox is taken out of the game by manager Ozzie Guillen in the seventh inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on May 13, 2011 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

There has not been a bigger surprise for the Chicago White Sox than Phil Humber.

Okay, let's say there's been no bigger, positive surprise on the south side. Certainly the seasons of Alex Rios and Adam Dunn have been quite the surprise, but only because neither player showed up.

The 28-year-old Humber came to the White Sox as 2004's third overall pick by the New York Mets with only 51.1 innings pitched under his belt in 16 games in the big leagues. In those 51.1 innings pitched, Humber had given up 30 earned runs, 59 hits, 24 walks and seven home runs.

Humber was as close to being branded a flop as any pitcher could be.

In 130 innings with the White Sox, Humber is 8-8 with a 3.67 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 83 strikeouts and has given up 116 hits and 33 walks.

Great numbers for a guy who barely made the rotation. Unfortunately, what those numbers don't show is that his productivity is coming to an end, which most people had to see coming, considering he's never pitched this many innings and at this level. 

After pitching seven innings of shutout ball against the Chicago Cubs five starts ago, Humber's ERA was 2.69.

Humber's next five starts, four of which he's lost, have been a disaster.

He didn't make it out of the fourth inning against the Minnesota Twins, giving up six runs and 11 hits in 3.2 innings. Humber went 5.2 innings against the Detroit Tigers, but gave up four runs on seven hits, even though he had eight strikeouts. Against the Boston Red Sox, Humber couldn't make it out of the fifth inning, giving up four runs on six hits in 4.2 innings.

Humber's latest couple of starts have been better, but more proof of how much he overachieved early on in the season. Against the New York Yankees, he went 6.1 innings and gave up four runs on five hits. Against the Baltimore Orioles, he gave up four runs on 11 hits, including two home runs, in 6.0 innings.

Humber is the last person to point fingers at for this season, but clearly it would seem he's hit his peak.

Which brings into question why Edwin Jackson was traded. Any person who knew anything about baseball had to know Humber would hit a wall based on the fact he's never pitched this much or this well in his MLB career.

So why trade a workhorse type like Jackson for a reliever (Jason Frasor has given up five earned runs and two home runs in four innings for the Sox) and a former third-rounder in Zach Stewart?

Basically the White Sox traded Daniel Hudson, who they traded for Edwin Jackson, and Jackson for Frasor and Stewart.

Kind of reminds you of when the White Sox basically traded Gio Gonzalez, who they traded for Nick Swisher, and Swisher for nothing (after trading Gonzalez for Swisher, the White Sox traded Swisher to the New York Yankees for Jeff Marquez and Wilson Betemit, who are both gone, and Jhonny Nunez, who pitched 5.2 innings for the White Sox in 2009 and gave up six earned runs), doesn't it?

Not exactly sure who is giving GM Kenny Williams information, but those are some pretty awful moves. A rotation of Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Jake Peavy, Daniel Hudson and Gio Gonzalez would look pretty good now and for the future.

But, back to reality.

Trading Jackson was understandable, but what didn't make sense was not receiving another starter for him. Did you really think Humber was not going to hit a wall? If any player on the White Sox deserves some wall-hitting, it's Humber.

Not to mention, are you really confident enough in Peavy to stay healthy, to have a guy like Stewart, who had 16.2 innings pitched under his belt, be the backup plan?

The White Sox have basically gone from a six-man rotation to a three-and-a-half man rotation, considering Peavy could get hurt at any minute, Humber is crumbling and no one knows anything about Stewart.

Not the formula to win a division, let alone a terrible one, Kenny.