Smile Politely

Prior Takes the Low Road Back Home

Big Surpise

So Mark Prior went home after all. San Diego, like Chicago, wanted him to sign a one year plus club option deal, but Prior again refused. Unlike the Cubs brass, Padres GM Kevin Towers, a neighbor of Prior’s and fellow morning neighborhood jogger, removed the club option and decided to pay him a couple million for (possibly) two months of pitching. Towers isn’t taking a huge gamble. If Prior pitches poorly or simply doesn’t regain his control or velocity, then he’s out $2 million, which for a baseball club is the equivalent to the cost an iPod for your everyday fan.

If Prior does pitch well, Towers hopes that he’s built a proper rapport enough to re-sign the still youthful San Diego native to a multi-year deal.

I can see him in his office now next December:

“Now Mark, I know the Yankees are offering you $20 million more, but consider this: I dropped the club option on your contract last year when we knew you wouldn’t pitch until July, you’ll be pitching in San Diego right here in your hometown where these great people love you, Maddux is coming back for another year, and hey – we’re neighbors for God’s sake, what the hell are you going to say to me every morning when you pass me in those awful sweatpants?”

Prior will take the money. Sardonic statements like the ones quipped to Chicago media last Spring (“I’m just an employee. The goal now is to go down and help that team win and try to make the Triple-A All-Star team. Maybe I can get invited to the Futures Game or something. I’m still 26.”) tell you all you need to know about the former USC pitcher. Yes that’s right, since little league insiders have been bubbling over Prior right on up through Tom House’s comments about Prior being the best pitcher he’s ever tutored after the Cubs drafted him. And with good reason – he was, arguably, until his body quit on him and let’s face it, some people deal with adversity better than others. Prior didn’t care that the Cubs paid him millions to sit on the pine most of the last three seasons. He didn’t return the favor by trying to make his comeback with the team that drafted him. No, he simply needed a “launching” team to showcase him for a two month window so he can score a big multi-year paycheck. Is he the next Carl Pavano? They have the same doctor!

Cleaning House

This past weekend my ma came over to watch my son while my wife and I cleaned out our closets. In the midst of sifting through stuff we never wear anymore my wife found her three Cubs shirts…Prior, Farnsworth, Theriot… which one do you think I delivered to goodwill this morning? It definitely wasn’t Farnsy.

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