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.
Via Joel Sherman, the Yankees and free agent right-hander Mark Prior have mutual interest in what would surely be a minor league deal. Prior has not yet worked out for the team, though they have scouting him during his various independent league stints over the years. Prior did through one inning in Triple-A this past September (for the Rangers), his first action in affiliated ball since 2006. There’s no such thing as a bad minor league contract, but sheesh.
The Yankees, of course, drafted Prior 43rd overall in 1998 but the two sides could not come to terms with a contract. He then went to Vanderbilt for a year before landing at USC and eventually went second overall in 2001. The rest, as they say, is history.
A few morning links for your pleasure:
Growing up in New England there aren’t many baseball phenoms I get to follow. While I now pay extra attention to Jeff Locke (wow does that Nate McLouth trade look bad), I hadn’t heard much about Jeff Allison in a while. Allison was a big story in New England in 2003 when drafted but it was downhill soon thereafter. Allison unfortunately went down the Josh Hamilton path and had serious problems with substance abuse. Here’s a recent story on Allison, and it’s good to see that he has been sober for almost 4 years now. He may never make it to the majors, but he’s come a long way since nearly dying twice of overdoses. If the baseball story never pans out hopefully the human being side will.
There have been approximately 22,000 articles written this week on Johnny Damon potentially returning to the Red Sox, and then Johnny Damon refusing to return to the Red Sox. Some people (idiots) ripped him and called him a coward, while others looked a little deeper. Lee Jenkins had the best take that I read on it, and while Damon didn’t leave New York under the best of circumstances, there was never the animosity that was prevalent when he left Boston. For a guy who has played for 5 teams (so far) in his career, at the end of it I think he’ll consider himself a Yankee.
We all know Stephen Strasburg is heading for surgery and baseball fans everywhere are saddened by it. He simply is a talent that fans could rally around because he is truly a special to watch. Here former phenom Mark Prior addressed the latest news on Strasburg from someone who has clearly been there. Interesting note in the article is that Prior was recently clocked at 92 MPH. Prior, once a Yankee draft pick is still trying to come back and while I would never rely on him, I’d love to see the Yankees take a flyer on him. He is, after all, still just 29 years old.
While I’m not a big Rick Reilly fan he did a good job of telling the story of Jane Lang and her dog Clipper’s recent visit to Yankee stadium. Not much to add to this but to drive home the fact that Hope Week has quickly become one of the best things about the Yankees season. Some of the stories really make you reflect on how good you have things, and this is no different.