Yankees sign Mark Prior


The one that got away has finally come home. The Yankees took Mark Prior with the 43rd pick of the 1998 draft, but he decided to attend college at USC instead. Three years later he was the consensus top talent in the draft, and after the Twins took Joe Mauer with the first pick the Cubs selected Prior. His career is well known from there, starting with dominance and seemingly ending with injury. Last week we heard that the Yankees and the Rangeres were looking at him on a minor league deal. Now ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Yankees have indeed signed him. There’s no risk to the move, though there’s also little upside. Prior is now 30 and hasn’t thrown in the majors since 2006. Since then he has thrown just one minor league inning, and that came last year for Texas’s AAA affiliate.

On the RAB Radio Show today Mike and I talked about taking as many chances as possible on guys coming off injuries. We wholeheartedly support this move.

Update by Mike (6:35pm): If Prior makes the team, he’ll earn $750,000 with the potential to double it in incentives. Chump change.

Categories : Asides


  1. Slugger27 says:

    “john” will not like this signing.

  2. …..but that one inning…GLORIOUS.

  3. bexarama says:

    Not expecting anything at all from this but I am weirdly excited D:

  4. Willy says:

    What a knee jerk reaction by Cashman… oh wait…

  5. James A says:

    Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Larry Rothschild, we’re recreating the 2003 Cubs
    Next thing we’ll sign Moises Alou for the 4th OF spot

  6. Kevin in Princeton says:

    I doubt he’ll contribute anything to the 2011 Yankees, but you just never know.

  7. bonestock94 says:

    I love this signing, even if theres a .01% chance anything comes of it.

  8. First Time Poster says:

    I say screw Pettite and just plug Prior into the four-spot and re-sign Wood to a Gregg-type deal. Use Wood as the 3rd starter and AJ as the 5th and call it an off-season.


  9. First Time Poster says:

    I love this signing. If nothing, it gives us something to talk about and another “prospect/AAA” guy to keep our eyes on. I want CMW to do the same for this very reason as well.

    I still think Harden would make sense for what the Yanks need to do now, as long as the base is low and the incentives are high. Why not give him the same deal that CMW got with the Natinals?

    • Guest says:

      Harden just hasn’t been that good when healthy. Filthy stuff. But it adds up to walks and HR’s. And, again, that’s when he is healthy–which is rare. No thanks.

    • First Time Poster says:

      I just realized this is kind of off-topicish(?). Harden does fall under the same idea as Prior… but there is nothing in this post about other pitchers… delete if need be and my bad if so.

  10. Guest says:

    I agree with the taking chances on a bunch of injured pitchers thing. Not much to lose.

    Though, I must admit, it would be eerily similar to what the Red Sox did with Penny and Smoltz after our CC-Tex-AJ extravaganza.

    • bexarama says:

      Only thing is we’re not depending on the injured guys for the rotation. I mean, Penny made the third-most starts for the 2009 Red Sox and was absolutely dreadful.

      • radnom says:

        Only thing is we’re not depending on the injured guys for the rotation.

        Except until someone else is acquired….they kinda are. If you look at the roster as is right now a healthy Prior would start the year in the rotation. And that is before inevitable pitching injuries all teams deal with.

        Thankfully its only December, plenty of time to change that, but at the moment the situations are not all that different.

        Not that this isn’t a good signing, I’m a fan of it – but the situation is what it is.

        • ROBTEN says:

          If you look at the roster as is right now a healthy Prior would start the year in the rotation.

          I think even if he were completely healthy, and Pettitte doesn’t return, both Nova and Mitre are ahead of Prior. I have no problem with the signing, but I have to think that Prior starting any games for the Yankees would be a significant long shot.

          • radnom says:

            Agreed, I don’t think he will ever put on the pinstripes. I also think that if he were completely healthy he would definitely be better than Mitre but the chances of that are also very very small. And as I said earlier, there is still plenty of time to change that (Pettitte would be a nice start).

            But you completely missed the main crux of my point. The current rotation construction is not much different than the ’09 Sox. The last two spots are either going to non-prospects who in a perfect world would be in AAA or veterens trying to rehab from an injury. Its actually a very comparable situation.

            And let’s not forget that the 09 Sox still made the playoffs.

            • ROBTEN says:

              But when we’re talking about a “healthy” Prior, do we mean the Prior of seven years ago? If so, then sure he’d be in the rotation, but otherwise I just think that all things being equal Prior would have to show tremendous stuff during spring training to leap ahead of both Nova and Mitre and into the starting rotation.

              Could he be better than them, maybe, but having pitched just one inning in four years tells me that even if he’s “healthy” it’s still going to take time to return to starting form. If anything, his best chance is probably as a reliever more than as a starter.

        • Dave says:

          Kinda hard to say who’s ‘ahead’ of who at this point seeing as they’re gonna battle it out for the spot (or, yikes, 2 spots) in ST

      • Poopy Pants says:

        You’re right! They’re depending on 2 empty spots! Much better!

  11. Yanko says:

    So Prior must be > than Joba too.

  12. mustang says:

    We are saved !


    Like it you never know it would be a cool comeback story.

  13. JGS says:

    I wonder what Matt Clement is up to these days.

  14. mike c says:

    not signing lee means we have $25 million to spend in lottery tickets. hey, you never know

  15. Mike Axisa says:

    It would be so awesome if he somehow contributed to the big league team. But he won’t. At least DotF will be interesting until he gets hurt.

  16. Adam says:

    I like it, might just catch lightening in a bottle. Low risk, could be a reward (I wonder also if he could be an arm in the pen?)

  17. Tom T says:

    What happened to him last year?

  18. First Time Poster says:

    Colon would not be too bad on a minor-league deal, no? He DOES have a Cy young…

  19. Xstar7 says:

    I once read a bleacher report article about how awesome and stacked the Yankees would be in 2011. As it turns out that won’t be the case. Bleacherreport sucks.

    • Zach says:

      Some of the articles today are real doozies. The Yankees are doomed, the Phillies or the Red Sox should just have the trophy given to them for the next five years and Cashman should be hung in Times Square.

  20. Yanko says:

    Any Cubans on a verge of defection? Chapman deal sounds good about now…

  21. First Time Poster says:

    Neither will happen, but why not? Who has a more likely shot at starting >1 game for the Yanks this year, Joba or Prior?

  22. Dan A says:

    Should look at Brandon Webb if still available

  23. Dan says:

    I would add brandon webb also.

  24. KenC says:

    Also add Webb, Wang, and Duchscherer. 1 is bound to stick. If none do, then -.-

  25. Nuke LaDoosh says:

    HUGE news! I think John Elway is next…

  26. Jimmy McNulty says:

    Throw shit on the wall and hope some sticks…well not an awful strategy now that Cliff Lee is gone.

  27. Pasqua says:

    Is he (possibly) healthy enough to actually (possibly) make the team out of ST, or is he a full-fledged reclamation project, as in, months in the minors?

  28. mbonzo says:

    At least he doesn’t have back problems.

  29. Dr. O says:

    I know the real deal here. The Yankees are going to get fake radar guns to convince Prior his old velocity is back and have a fixed game where he strikes out all 27 batters and as a teary eyed Prior celebrates on the mound, Cashman comes out of the dugout with a pillow sack of baseballs behind his back and says “Wow Mark! This is what things could have been like had you just signed with us.” Then he reveals the sack of baseballs and the team pins Prior to the infield dirt and Cashman starts beating him on both shoulders with the sack of baseballs repeatedly yelling “LOOK AT ME I’M DUSTY BAKER!”

  30. JonathanCold says:

    Nice low risk/high reward signing.

    I say he makes the team and matches his stats from 2003. Ah, maybe not, but if he can stay healthy this could turn out very well for us.

  31. “If Prior makes the team, he’ll earn $750,000 with the potential to double it in incentives. Chump change.”

    Oh, to have a golden arm. Le sigh.

    • candyforstalin says:

      yeah. lance pendleton will not be missed.

    • (Btw, so psyched about this. I know it probably won’t amount to anything but hey, stranger things have happened. I actually lived in Chicago during Prior’s heyday and I remember being so frustrated that he hadn’t signed with the Yanks when they drafted him. Time to go find my Prior name/number shirt and get it out of storage, although it’s not like I’d actually wear a Cubs shirt anywhere.)

  32. burbankbogey says:

    Hey, were is El Duque? Maybe he is worth a flier as well. Prior=no risk.

  33. Plank says:

    Is he in the minors for the year? Or can he opt out at some point if he doesn’t make the majors?

    Now we just need Wang and Doc Gooden in Scranton and the rotation will be complete.

  34. It'sATarp says:

    i posed this on another forum …just wondering:
    Joba ( minimal value in the pen since cashman isn’t moving him back) , romine (blocked by Montero/sanchez), Betance (Banuelos has higher upside and Brackman is closer to be a 5th starter and mlb ready) and Nunez (IF set for the next few years) for Grienke would you do it?

  35. Teh Comp Pick says:

    Get Brandon Webb.

  36. Dave says:

    Sergio Mitre = Sterling Hitchcock

  37. JonathanCold says:

    We should also resign Kerry Wood, trade for Zambrano, sign Matt Clement and Shawn Estes.

    88 wins, book it.

  38. benjie says:

    Chump change? I bet nobody in this thread is making that next year. I should be such a chump. To waste all that money on a guy who is a memory? They should give all that money to me, I have the same chance of being good as A Priori.

    • JonathanCold says:

      If he can stay healthy, God willing, you will eat crow. Solid move by Cash. Not the answer for losing out on Cliff, but he will take care of that problem as well.

      Have faith.

      • benjie says:

        God willing? You think God cares about the Yankees? Even assuming that somehow there is a God in a world filled with murder and lies, perhaps God is a hockey fan?

        These people who run the team are not baseball men. Randy “The Pig” Levine and Brian “The Mouse” Cashman read their Fangraphs websites and quote silly statistics like WAR and think they know the game. A real talent evaluator would know that this Lee is the real thing, a great lefty who would be unstoppable in Yankee Stadium. He was worth way more to the Yankees than was offered (even if the offer was 150 million).

        The Yankees need lefties! Always! All lefties must be signed! Now who are they going to get another lefty, eh? They should have offered 200 million instead of signing A Priori (because of nostalgia, the Yankees love those old prospects that they have given away).

  39. Joe says:

    No reason not to sign brandon webb

    Yanks have nothing to lose, just money, oh

    Ye the yanks have nothing to lose

  40. Jeremy says:

    Oh gee another nothing move that is treated like something good, it’s going fishing for a shark and all you catch is minnows.

  41. Simon says:

    I dont like this, hes going to spend his days on the DL but I understand what Cash is doing. I think Cashman should see the price on Gavin Floyd or anybody other than Prior, but if the prices are too high (probably will) than i would like to see Joba 1 last time, then we can use Nova.

  42. bobmac says:

    Sign Duchscherer to an incentive contract.He has pitched great when healthy and as he has said he figures they have fixed all that can go wrong.Take him on the cheap.

  43. Dave says:

    Not too optimistic about Prior even seeing Yankee Stadium. But…if somehow (even it was only one time) he were able to throw 6.1 of shutout ball & Girardi made the slow walk to the mound to pull him after 90 pitches & he came out of the game to a standing O at the Stadium…..

    Yeah (as delusional as this sounds) that’d be worth $750,000 of the payroll.

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