In George We Trust
A(nother) blog about the most storied franchise in sports
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Prior-ity #1
Well Mark Prior went on the DL yet again yesterday, making his 5th trip to the DL since 2003. What does this have to do with the Yankees? Nothing, unless Brian Cashman makes something of it.

Maybe it's time for Cash to give Cubs' GM Jim Hendry a call and try to persuade him that a change of scenery is needed for Prior. The Yankees had Prior once upon a time, selecting him in the 1st round in 1998 out of his San Diego high school. Prior choose to go to Vanderbilt instead, his Dad's alma mater (how sweet), before eventually transferring to SC.

Two of Prior's 5 trips to the DL have been caused by fluke injuries, as Marcus Giles plowed into him on the bases in 2003 and Brad Hawpe drilled him with a line drive in 2005 (Hawpe must not like Prior, because he did the same thing back in college). If it wasn't for the line drive (which was not only fractions of an inch from not only ending his career, but also rendering the joint useless), Prior would have made 31 starts last year, which is more starts than any Yankee not named Randy made.

When he's pitched, Prior has been dominant, owning a career 10.55 Kper9 and 1.19 WHIP. He's 3 starts away from his 100th career start, which is right around where a pitcher's career usually takes off (i.e. the Big Unit). He's still very young (only 25, won't be 26 until the end of the season) and his stuff is unbelievable. If given the proper time to heal and recover, Prior should finally be 100%, but the problem is the Cubs have been too aggressive with bring him back.

Well what would it take to nab Prior? Alot probably, but Hendry could be haggled down a bit considering Prior's injury-riddled history. The Cubbies would almost certainly want a pitcher that could step right into the rotation and give them innings, and the obvious name is Chien-Ming Wang (injury prone himself). Wang is actually older than Prior (by a little more than 4 months) and has alot less miles on his arm. The other possibility is Carl Pavano, who up until last year has been durable during his career.

What would the final package look like? I dunno, but Prior won't come cheap. Maybe Wang, Pavano and Eric Duncan for Prior and a prospect (perhaps Brian Dopirak - the right handed version of Duncan). What it boils down to is that if Prior returns to even 80% of his normal self, he's still better than Wang and/or Pavano. He'd anchor the rotation for years to come, joining Phil Hughes in a potentially devastating 1-2 punch from 2009 to about 2019.

The chances of such a trade? Slim to none, but it sure is fun to dream.

FYI - Baseball Analysts previews the AL East round table-style. Don't miss it.
Anonymous Adam said...
I'd rather not trade for a guy who Will Carroll will be putting in his injury reports (the ones where he says who is most likely to get injured) every year. Prior has shoulder and elbow problems that likely will not go away.

Blogger Mike A said...
Yeah but like I said, even at 80% he's still better than what we have here.

Blogger Joseph P. said...
The whole problem with this scenario is that Hendry is in his contract year. Surely, he's not going to trade a proven 25-year-old arm, not at this point. Though, I can see Kerry Wood wearing colors other than blue, red, and white by July 31st.

The ONLY way Prior becomes available is if Wood proves he's healthy and effective, AND the rest of the Cubs pitching staff can do the same. And as for the asking price, I would think it more in the range of Phil Hughes, Eric Duncan, and Gary Sheffield (because the Cubs have an uber-lame outfield). And quite honestly, that's not a price I'd be willing to pay.

But who knows. These GMs are always finding new and exciting ways to act like idiots.

Blogger Mike A said...
This is definetly a dream scenario, and I'd also balk at Hughes, Ducan and Sheff.

If I were Hendry I wouldn't move Prior, not in my right mind. Someone would have to blow me away, and Hughes-Duncan-Sheff just doesn't do that.

Anonymous baileywalk said...
This trade is insane -- from the Yankees' point of view. Why would you trade a good, young and cheap starting pitcher like Wang -- AND have to throw in one of your top prospects (not to mention send Pavano over, while no doubt paying some of his salary) -- for a guy that can't get on the field or stay on the field? Prior's injury right now (he hasn't even pitched this spring) does not stem from getting hit with a line drive. This guy has shoulder problems. Plus -- and here's the important thing -- we don't know just how good Wang can be. He throws a high-90s sinker and he's striking people out with his slider this spring. I think he could be the ace of this staff by next year. And Prior has never pitched outside of the weak-hitting NL.

Kerry Wood will never be healthy -- it's obvious -- but he's the one who really intrigues me. If you could get HIM cheap (for, say, a handful of prospects not named Hughes, Duncan, Cox, Tabata or Jackson) I'd take the gamble. If this guy could even stay fifty percent healthy he'd be one of the most amazing pitchers around. He struck out 20 batters in a game as a rookie.

Anyway, giving up Duncan, Wang and Pavano seems an awful lot for Prior.

2003 was a great year for those two guys -- and most people think that year killed both of their arms.

Blogger Mike A said...
Wood has amazing stuff just like Prior, but despite all his potential Kerry hasn't won 15 games in a season and is wild (4.37 career BBper9).

Wood will turn 29 in less than 3 months, so he's no spring chicken either. Dusty Baker ruined those guys and it really is a shame, cause they were their best hope for a title.

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