Today, it was announced that the San Diego Padres and free agent pitcher Mark Prior agreed on a one-year contract with a base salary of $1 million (worth a max of over $3 million with incentives).

Any discussion with the 26-year old righty is going to begin with his history of injuries so let’s just get that out of the way. I tried my best to piece everything together in the chart below (if I missed any, let me know) so we can get a clearer picture of what we’re talking about here:


The reasons for concern are self-evident. Over the span of five years, Prior has been on the disabled list eight times, and only once during this time was he able to become active at the end of the 15 days.  What’s even more worrying is that seven out of the eight injuries were related to the his pitching elbow and pitching shoulder. Now I’m no sports physician (and I’ve never stayed at a Holiday Inn Express), but those sound like really important parts of any pitcher’s body. Even now, we’re not exactly sure if Prior’s going to be ready to step on the mound anytime soon.

prior.jpegSo why am I actually jealous that the Padres signed Prior?

Because this winter’s proving to be difficult for anyone to improve. Unless you have top-level prospects that you’re willing to part with, bolstering your lineup or rotation considerably is looking next to impossible. But this deal has about as much upside as anything else I’ve seen so far this off season. Sure, one can’t neglect the past injuries, but you can’t ignore these points either:

  • Even if Prior’s rehab goes terribly awry, the Padres lose only $1 million.
  • He has been a flyball pitcher throughout his career, which means Petco Park will feel like heaven  compared to Wrigley.
  • The surgery he underwent that killed his 2007 season was actually the first time (believe it or not) that Prior went under the knife. His previous injuries were”treated” in the “wait-and-see” school of medicine. According to James Andrews (are there other doctors out there aside from this guy?), Prior had a good amount of chips just floating around in his shoulder that were previously undiagnosed.
  • He’s not pitching for Dusty Baker anymore and thus won’t be asked to throw 211 1/2 innings in 30 starts as a 22-year old who had never previously come even close to hitting that innings mark.
  • He’s still Mark Prior and he’s only two years removed  from a pretty good season despite the elbow injuries. And maybe it’s because the guy’s only two weeks older than I am that I’m saying this, but at 27, he’s still young enough to rebound.

To me, it looks like even the worst case scenario can’t be all that bad. He’s either hurt and can’t pitch (with the Pads out a million bucks) or he’s healthy enough to take the ball every five days and pitch what I suspect will be roughly league average numbers with a good amount of upside.

I don’t think that any team aside from San Diego really had a shot to grab him. Not only was he born in San Diego, he stayed in Southern California for college, attending USC. After the media attention he received in Chicago, a year of reestablishing his market value pitching in the pitcher’s park of pitcher’s parks that just happens to be in your old neck of the woods sounds mighty appealing, doesn’t it?

So I think that the Padres quite possibly have upgraded their rotation by a couple notches, replacing David Wells with Prior. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ll be pulling for Mark to make good in 2008. I loved seeing him pitch a few years ago, and I hope to see it again. Well, maybe the Cubs fans will disagree…

One Response to “I’m a bit jealous of the Padres right now.”

  1. It’s becoming clear that the Padres’ pitcher friendly park and sunny location is a big asset. First Wolf and now Prior have signed for less money so that they could pitch in San Diego.

    I wonder if the Phillies will ever get a bargain on a free agent hitter who wants to pad his stats at the Bank for a season?

Leave a Reply

    Recent Comments

    • planet hobbywood: This is very interesting.
    • Bren: He is a awesome player and a good man.. sweet.. polite.. friendly.. down to earth.. he never acted as though he...
    • HADAJUN( Japanese): Okajima a Japanese hero?
    • Rickt: I am the biggest Cal Jr fan around but one of my good friends played minor league baseball in the Orioles...
    • HADAJUN: I wish for play in Japan. The death is regrettable.


    Subscribe via email

    Enter your email address:


Featured posts

December 5, 2011

Will anybody get elected to the Hall of Fame this year?

Last week, we asked you to vote for who you would like to see enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame. The verdict? If it were up to UmpBump readers, nobody would make it in. The leading vote getter (so far) is Jeff Bagwell, who has 60% support. Of course, in the real voting, players need […]

January 5, 2011

Annual UmpBump Hall of Fame Balloting: 2011 Edition

In what has become an annual tradition, we here at UmpBump cast our ballots for the Hall of Fame on the eve of the announcements of the voting for the real Hall of Fame. Voters can vote for anyone ever who has been retired from baseball for at least five years and is not already […]

October 19, 2010

Crowdsourcing the Greats: The Top 10 Managers of All Time

Now that we’ve looked at every position on the diamond, as well as relief pitchers, we are nearing the end of our “Crowdsourcing the Greats” series. But before we finish, let’s turn one more time to the internet hoi polloi for answers on who the greatest baseball manager of all time was. As usual, we […]