Mark Sheldon reported that the Cincinnati Reds have signed Mark Prior to a minor league contract on March 1. Prior has been idle since 2006 due to numerous shoulder injuries. He started his career in 2002 with the Chicago Cubs and played there his brief five year career.
In 2003-2006 Prior pitched under the command of Dusty Baker. In 2003 Prior finished third in voting for the CYA. He finished that season with an 18-6 and posted a neat 2.43 ERA. He was second in the National League in strikeouts that season with 245, just 21 off the pace set by teammate Kerry Wood.
Since pitching his last game in ’06 Prior has been signed by the San Diego Padres twice, the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. He has pitched a total of 49 innings in the minor leagues since 2010. He has pitched in all levels, from rookie to Triple-A. At Pawtucket in 2012 he was 1-0 with a 3.96 ERA with a save in 25 innings of work.
Prior asked Baker for a chance to prove himself. Many accuse Baker of ruining Prior’s career by over-using him. Although it seems he has been around forever, he is only 32.
“He said ‘hey man, I’d like to try it one more time,’” Baker said. “I said I would try to make the opportunity available to you. I called Walt. He had been throwing and working out so he got into camp.”
If there is anything left in the tank Prior could still prove useful. His has a career record of 42-29 and a good ERA of 3.51. In his five-year career he has an ERA+ of 124 and his K/9 ratio is 10.4.
Baker said that he realizes that people blame him for the ruination of Prior and Wood. “It’s going to open old wounds,” Baker said.
Is this a manager just giving an old teammate a second chance, or is it a man trying to help another man while being guilted by the media.
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