Mark Prior is a Free Agent and Other Bullets

Feels like it’s been ages since the Cubs played a double-header.

  • So, Mark Prior is once again a free agent. The 31-year-old former Cub was released by the Red Sox, for whom he’d been pitching in relief at AAA this year. He was striking out a ton of guys (13.7 per 9), but also walking an absurd amount (8.3 per 9). What are your thoughts on a low risk reunion with the Cubs? Setting aside that connection, doesn’t Prior seem like the kind of guy that Theo and Jed would be looking to snap up for AAA? No, there isn’t a high probability that he’d be able to contribute effectively out of the pen this or even next year at the big league level (where he hasn’t pitched since 2006), but there’s no real risk. And it’s clear that he still has good stuff – he just can’t control it. Some team is going to take a chance on him, and with a new front office in place, it just might be the Cubs.
  • Dale Sveum thinks at least part of the reason Travis Wood was knocked around last night is because he was facing the Reds for the second time in a row, and he had gotten himself so amped up for the first outing that he didn’t have much left this time around. “I think he just probably spent everything he had last outing against his old team and tonight he came out and he didn’t really have a whole lot on the ball,” Sveum said. “Everything was flat. He didn’t have the velocity or anything. He was out there basically in a gun fight with a knife I think tonight.”
  • Albert Almora and his Boise Hawks came in for some love on Baseball America’s hot sheet yesterday. “Almora spent his first three weeks in the Arizona League, where the sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft came as advertised. Upon his promotion to the Northwest League, Almora homered in his first game with Boise on Wednesday. It’s been an auspicious debut for Almora, who has hit .353/.367/.518 in 20 games between the two levels. If there is such thing as a stacked short-season lineup, it has to be Boise, where the Hawks now have Almora, first baseman Dan Vogelbach, third baseman Jeimer Candelario and second baseman Gioskar Amaya. The best of the group, though, is Almora, whose feel for hitting is beyond his years.”
  • Ryan Dempster has been scratched from his upcoming start in Toronto, reportedly, because he lost his passport. Dempster is Canadian. I don’t really have the words on this one.
  • Hope you guys enjoyed the fantasy contest last night. I had a decent showing, finishing in the top 1/3, but I wasn’t among the top ten: BBenny629, reeeveey10, dizzydofpa, TayoSanto, robert007, pistons20, dfcochran16, chastang8121, blackmamba10, and billg. Congrats!

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

39 responses to “Mark Prior is a Free Agent and Other Bullets”

  1. Boogens

    “Ryan Dempster has been scratched from his upcoming start in Toronto, reportedly, because he lost his passport.”

    It feels like he’s really a bit of a goofball, but not in a nice way, as some of his goofy behaviors are now coming to light. Seems like the Cubs and his wife/ex-wife must’ve been propping him up and are no longer around to cover up his gaffes.

    1. J R

      Dempster is an idiot. I am glad he and his nanny’s are down in Texas now..

  2. Montellew

    Brett, I love most of what you write. That being said -bringing back Prior? Next time you’re eating ‘Cracklin Oat Bran’ for breakfast – make sure there’s not so much crack in it! LOL Any spot being filled by Prior even in AAA is being taken away by someone that hopefully has a shot at a long career in the majors someday. Prior at best would be a short termer before it was time to hang up his glove. I know Kerry Wood did OK a while before he fizzled, but Prior (thanks to a certain former manager) has had far more setbacks. Do I love Prior and respect him for trying? Hell yeah. But I don’t want to risk the path we are on just to attempt resurrecting a one time fan favorite.

    1. BleedingCubbieBlue

      How is that a risk?

    2. hansman1982

      It wasn’t just Prior, it was (and still is industry wide) an insistence for the organization to only do what is necessary now to win. You see the same thing with Strasburg, people don’t care that shutting him down now might be the best thing for the organization for the next 10 years it only matters about the playoff hunt this year.

      1. Cubs1967

        becuz if you don’t go for it………….shit can happen like 104 yrs w/o one. NO way do you shut down strasburg. you skip his starts so he can pitch in the playoffs.

        1. hansman1982

          *cough* Mark Prior *cough*

          Talent is only good if you can provide the organization with your next start. Is Strasburg pitches 200 innings this year but blows out his shoulder next year you just lost another 2 pennant chances to injury.

          1. Frank

            There are two approaches–look at what the white sox are doing with Chris Sale versus what the Nationals are doing with Strasburg. The Nationals have never been to the playoffs, and who knows if they’ll have the chance to get there again, after this year. There are numerous examples of teams or players that should have had more opportunities for championships than they did, the most obvious being the Cubs’ not even being in a WS since ’45. Look at that ’69 team–4 Hall of Famers–the best team that never won a thing. Dan Marino never having made it to the Super Bowl after the one he lost and the Bears of the mid-80s are other examples. The question is, has their GM gone too far in one direction and closed off any other possibility?

            1. DocPeterWimsey

              The difference between the Nats and ChiSox is that the Nats are built to win for several years: but part of that is having a healthy Strasburg for multiple years. The ChiSox are a not-built-to-win team having a flukey good year. My bet is that they do not make post-season regardless of what they do with Sale: but part of the ChiSox flukey good-luck has been an underperforming Tigers team that I think will get it together.

        2. Carew

          I actually agree with you…

    3. ssckelley

      Have you seen the players the Cubs have been signing to fill pitching spots at AAA? Bring Prior back and let him pitch a few games at Iowa. Omg, you might have to give him Seth McClung’s spot and his mighty 17 era.

      1. Chet Masterson

        Totally right. I saw Horatio Ramirez started for Iowa last night. I could legitimately see the I-Cubs giving a shot to Dave Dravecky this season. It would be nice to have Prior back.

      2. João Lucas

        Exactly. First, bullpen arms are never in excess in the minors – it’s not like what happens with starting pitchers or position players in which sometimes there’s just no room for newcomers. Second, even if that was the case, it’s not like the Cubs have tons of good young relievers who should have priority over veterans. And third, I believe Mark Prior has a better chance (although still remote) to contribute than a number of guys we have at AA and AAA right now.

  3. Matt

    I loved Prior 9 years ago; that being said, Cub fans are terrible for their insistence in living in the past.

  4. Carew

    Bring him back! Veteran presence..

    1. MontelleW

      He’s Done. Stick a fork in him already.

    2. MichiganGoat

      What is Prior’s scrappy factor? That will determine if he will succeed as a Cub?

  5. OCCubFan

    Having recently moved, I understand how Dempster could be unable to locate important documents such as passports. It doesn’t make him an idiot.

    1. Karena

      I agree, but you would think he would have packed his passport along with his glove. I like to image he flies with the team, Canada let’s him enter, but upon return, the US, a Cubs fan, won’t let him cross the border.

  6. Chad

    “The 31-year-old former Cub”…..does the thought of Prior only being 31 make any one else sick?

    1. koyiehillsucks

      Yes… what could have been…

    2. Carew

      it makes me really, really sad. Imagine if the Cubs had the healthy lights out Prior and no-injury Wood..

      1. MontelleW

        Understood. Agreed. I don’t think many here would not stand alongside you with the same tears in our eyes over it. But that’s an unfortunate product of Dusty Baker. It’s time to wipe the tears and look to the future. Whether everyone understands it or is patient to accept it, Theo and Jed are constructing a happier future for us shortly ahead.

        1. Carew

          Im with ya. Im really lookin forward to what Theo and Jed for the rest of their tenure

          1. cub2014

            be prepared next year wont be much fun, but was does it matter if we win 75 or 65 either way your going nowhere. might as well get a high pick.i think lineup will look something like this to start out year
            cf jackson (if he can hit at all through end of this year)
            ss castro
            1b rizzo
            lf soriano
            rf dejesus
            c castillo/clevenger
            3b stewart/vitters/lake?
            2b barney
            bench:valbuena,campana,clevenger,vitters?, FA outfielder

            starters: garza,samardzja,wood,germano?, and(raley,free agent,prior?,rookie)
            bullpen: marmol,vizcaino,maine,camp,corpas,russell and from this group(parker,dolis,ascencion,bowden,coleman,caridad,bautista,chapman,bellievue)

            be a tough year but better than 2012 I think. then they will use second half of 2013 to target prospects and evaluate some of these young infielders along with solar

  7. Dean

    Pitching depth right. Sign him up. If he has good stuff, maybe a change of scenery/coaching back with the cubs might help find the strike zone. When he left, it wasn’t because he couldn’t throw strikes, it was because he couldn’t throw period. Is there any legitimate prospect at AA that he would be blocking?

  8. Karena

    Sure, Bring back Prior. Maybe, he will finally realize he needs to give it up, throw his glove into the stands and then retire a few days later.

  9. 5412

    Hi Brett,

    THERE IS ONE BIG REASON NOT TO EVEN THINK ABOUT PRIOR. Brett are you aware of the nickname his teammates laid on him? “Mr. Bitterman”

    We had occasion to stay at the team hotel on a couple of occasions. You see the players at breakfast and things like that. It appeared to us that Prior was a loner. He took a couple of walks around the hotel…..by himself. Ate alone, things like that where other players might sit at a table together.

    I am not so sure I would want a guy with that nickname, probably deserved, around our young kids telling them war stories.

    regards,
    5412

    1. HotRuta

      Well, that kind of attitude certainly would be a big negative (and I seem to recall some articles about how he never wanted to be a Cub. But after 5 years “lost in the wilderness”, you never know. Sometimes, adversity brings humility.

      As for young, developing players, having Cubs fans focus on Prior might give them a little breathing room, by lifting some of the pressure the fans always seem to have for management to rush prospects up the ladder before they have a chance to actually learn how to play baseball. And given that young players sometimes have a problem staying focused on the action (I give you Starlin Castro …), he could give them a lesson in how fleeting success can be — and how important it is to make the best of every opportunity. I could see Prior having some success as a set-up guy.

      As for taking up space — if we have room for Mather on the ML Roster, then we evidently have a pretty loose interpretation of the importance of that …

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        and I seem to recall some articles about how he never wanted to be a Cub.

        Those articles were by the same people who constantly asserted that there was nothing actually wrong with Prior. A vocal segment of the Chicago sports media just could not be dissuaded from the idea that Prior was a head case who was either faking or imagining his injuries because he did not want to be on the Cubs.

        And if Prior is bitter about life after his experiences, well, I for one cannot blame him in the slightest. Heck, I’m only a Cubs fan, and I’m bitter on his behalf!

  10. Adam1680

    HA! I almost posted this yesterday that we should bring him back to eat up some innings.. Can’t be worse than what we’ve already got.. A independent league 32 year old and Seth McClung??? Our young pitchers are not ready for AAA, we just need some people to eat up the innings for the rest of the year..

  11. ferrets_bueller

    The Dempster thing. Its…it just blew my mind.

    Sooooo funny.

  12. JoeyCollins

    Bring him back. Its just AAA and it might be cool to see.

  13. Cub Style

    Dozens of Mark Prior jersey owners are pushing this signing.

    1. Tommy

      hehe, that was funny Cub Style.

  14. fortyonenorth

    Bring back Prior? Sure. Even if it’s just to say, “Hey, we ruined your career. Here’s a paycheck.”

  15. ramy16

    Prior… Are you kidding me? Dusty Baker ruined his arm, Mark Prior can thank Dusty Baker for that! Hey Mark give Dusty a call…LOL

  16. Bret Epic

    No real risk in giving him a contract. We’re rubbish anyways and probably will be for this year and most likely next year. Where’s the harm in giving someone a chance who has potential of a high pay off and a low risk? He deserves more of a chance to prove himself than Joe Mather. Prior has proven in the past he is capable of dominating and I can’t honestly say that Joe Mather has dominated in the MLB, except for maybe Spring Training 2012.

  17. Spriggs

    I desperately want to see Mark Prior in a Cubs uniform again… in something other than my dreams. Make it happen Hoystein! Please dear God in heaven. Make it happen! Lead us to the promised land, Mark Prior. Like you almost did once before. Long ago. Come back Mark Prior!