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8/15/2006

WHAT TO DO WITH MARK PRIOR

Oddly, of late anyway, I find myself in agreement with Phil Rogers. Phil writes today about Cubs fans being nuts to want to get rid of Prior.

I don't even like looking at Prior much these days, let alone watching him pitch--when he is on the active roster, of course. But Rogers makes solid points.

The best point, in my opinion, is that you will get nothing in return for a HUGE investment. By my rough estimate the Cubs have paid Prior around $22 million. Certainly they have received some return from that. But to then let him go--a 1st round pick--for nothing is the stuff that really bad teams are made of. They sell low and buy high. The Cubs have been guilty of this before. They can't do it with Prior.

And as much as I think that Prior is soft and/or injury prone, let's face it--in 2003 he was as fierce as anyone pitching in the game. Whether or not he can harness that ferocity again is yet to be seen. It's hard to say yes at this point. But at the least you have to get him serviceable on the mound and then trade him. You just have to get something for him.

My main concern is that he will be healthy but then when the slightest thing happens to him he will recoil and return to the softness he has demonstrated.

Rogers writes: "You think two runs in Greg Maddux's first 20 innings for the Los Angeles Dodgers is bad? That's a smudge on the glass of a window at the Sears Tower compared with the nightmare of watching Prior go somewhere else and succeed.

Getting Prior healthy and back on top of his game has been the first priority for the Cubs since he got drilled in his right elbow by a Brad Hawpe liner in 2005. It remains their most important mission. If they are going to compete again, there's a better chance of doing it behind Prior and Carlos Zambrano than anyone they could go outside the organization to get."

And that's the biggie. It would be so Cubs to get rid of him for nothing and then he goes out and dominates the league. As much as I'd like to part company with Prior, Cubs fans need to give him one more year. I'm not saying full reliance on him to come out and help the Cubs win the title, but at least more time to at least get something in return. And if he happens to come out and be the 2003 version, then great.

3 comments:

Mike O'Donnell said...

Good points. I agree with what you say about hanging on another year. It is almost a guarantee that if they get rid of him now they will get someone like Jay Payton, and then Prior will win 20 two out of the next five seasons at least and win an LCS MVP.

Those are some impressive stats, by the way. You've got my vote for MVP this year.

MOD

Big D said...

I had this conversation recently with baseball fan, although not a Cub fan. He said that the Cub's need to give up on Wood and Prior and move on. I had a hard time grasping with that notion. I can make an argument for keeping both, although the Wood arguement is the weaker of the two. Here's my reasoning:

Wood - Club option for $13m next season. Not even the Cub's are that dumb. They have a buyout for $3m. I can see Hendrey working something out that offers some incentive filled contract for next year. What team will offer more? or any? And don't expect much; spot starter, middle reliever, long relief (think Rusch). I like Wood. He's got stones.

That leads to Prior. No stones. But smart. I always felt he was trying to milk as much out of his career as posible. Every time he feels the slightest twinge, "shut'r down". Saving himself for the long run. That act has gotten old. He is nearing the end of his contract. Free agency is around the corner. He realizes he needs to turn it on again. Maybe pitch with some pain (old time baseball). And he is young. And he has known what it was like to pitch well. And he knows what it takes to win. And he is relatively inexpensive, for now.

The thing is, the Cub's can not go into next season relying on Wood or Prior. If the team can make some moves to bring in two quality starters, then Prior becomes the #4 or #5 on the staff. He could do well in that spot. And Wood could do well in the pen.

The Zoner said...

Big D and Mike D respond at nearly the same time--circadian rhythm working.

Good to see you both commenting!

Isn't it sad that "Prior as 4 or 5" is even a legitimate option?

As for Wood, I think they should buy him out, obviously. Then the question is can they get someone better than him for the money. What will that money be? I don't know. But where I disagree with Big D is that someone will throw him a few mill guaranteed. And the Cubs will not do that. So it's buh-bye to one of the greatest pitching prospects ever.