Chicago Cubs: Five players who would benefit from a mulligan

Craig Kimbrel / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Craig Kimbrel / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs, Mark Prior (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Mark Prior

During this quarantine, I’ve been re-watching some games from the 2003 season. It’s amazing how hard that manager Dusty Baker rode the young Mark Prior down the stretch that year. In six September starts, the then-23-year-old right-hander made at least 124 pitches in five of those starts. Then, in three postseason starts, he made 133, 116, and 119 pitches. This would be unheard of in today’s game.

Of course, it’s been debated to death whether Baker “overused” Prior that year and whether that contributed to all the injuries that ended his career way too soon in 2006. What we do know is that Prior was one of the most hyped pitching prospects in MLB history, not just Cubs history. His career should never have ended with only 657 innings pitched and 42 wins.

I think most Cubs fans have nothing against Prior; he simply couldn’t stay on the field during his brief career. Still, it would be nice if he could get another chance at it. Would he, Baker, or the Cubs’ coaching and training staff have done anything differently? I don’t know the answer to that.

I did consider Kerry Wood for this list, as his career too wasn’t all that it could have been due to injuries. However, he did have a much longer career than Prior did, re-made himself as an effective reliever late in his career, and is still beloved by Cubs fans. It could have gone much better, but it was still a good ride for the big Texan.