Here’s wishing the best to Mark Prior, hoping that he manages to resurrect his career as a professional baseball player and pitch something close to the Hall of Fame-type career that his fans originally dreamed was possible.
And no, I’m not just saying that to aggravate Chicago Cubs fans, who had hoped Prior would be the pitching ace who would lead their pathetic ball club to many championships and World Series titles in coming years.
Instead, Prior became the talented ballplayer who suffered injury after injury, which is why the Cubs let him go at season’s end and why he was available to sign a contract at a (relatively speaking) bargain basement rate.
The San Diego Padres (who happen to be Prior’s hometown team, he’s a Southern California native) signed him to a contract that will pay him $1 million, and up to $4.5 million if he is physically fit all season and achieves certain statistical goals.
Considering that Prior is still recovering from surgery to the shoulder on his pitching arm, it is unlikely Prior will reach those goals. But he could still have a hand in strengthening the Padres’ pitching at season's end as they contend for a National League championship in 2008.
You have to admit, it would be so Chicago Cub-ish if Prior were to finally get his act together and help a ball club win something after years of getting Cubs fans all worked up about a whole lot of nothing while the best pitcher in Chicago baseball -- ol' number 56 -- toiled away on the South Side.