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Should The Cubs Give Mark Prior A Look?


I searched the name Mark Prior on Baseball Reference today. To my surprise, I found a pitcher that has been a relatively successful minor league pitcher over the course of the past few seasons. We all know that Prior was once a Cy Young Candidate for the Cubs, but that is in the past. The Mark Prior that is taking the mound for Minor League teams this time around is different from the Prior that won 18 games for the Cubs during the 2003 season.

Prior has not appeared in a Major League game since 2006. After a 4 year hiatus from baseball, Prior first began his comeback attempt in 2010 when he signed a Minor League deal with the Texas Rangers. While Pitching in the Rangers Minor League system, Prior did not allow an earned run in a total of 12 innings pitched. Prior continued his comeback efforts in 2011 while pitching in the Yankees’ system on a Minor League contract. Prior had a combined ERA of 2.25 while pitching for the Yankees’ rookie, Class A, and Triple A affiliates in 2011. The closest Prior may have gotten to returning to the Major Leagues may have come during the the 2012 season. Prior signed a Minor League contract with the Boston Red Sox and his been pitching with the Red Sox triple A affiliate. Prior posted an ERA of 3.96 in 25 innings pitched for the Pawtucket Red Sox. The 25 innings is the most Prior has pitched in a single season since 2006. Despite having a relatively successful season with the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Red Sox still opted to release Prior. The release came after speculation that Prior could have been a possible September call-up for the Red Sox this season.

Given the success that he had with the Pawtucket Red Sox, the 32 year old Prior likely will not give up on his attempt to return to the Major leagues. The Cubs should help Prior reach his goal. With a new front office in place led by Theo Epstein, it could be a greater possibility than what it once was. This season. Epstein has shown a willingness to give veteran pitchers a second chance while adding some much needed pitching depth to the Cubs’ top minor league levels. Ryan Rowland Smith, Horacio Ramirez, Seth McClung, and Manny Corpas have all been given second chances by Epstein and the Cubs. While Rowland Smith, Ramirez and McClung are all currently pitching with the Iowa Cubs, Corpas has been a respectable reliever for the Chicago Cubs this season. This may just be speculation, but if you ask me, the Cubs would not be making a mistake if they were to sign Prior to a Minor League deal.