If I may, I'd like to designate January 13th, "The Ghost of Mark Prior Day." Every year at about this time, it seems like Prior signs some kind of deal with someone and we all sit around and reminisce about how once upon a time he was "the next Roger Clemens." Of course, the main reason that I bring this up is because Prior signed a minor league deal with the Padres today.
Prior was with the Padres last year but didn't pitch at all due to shoulder problems and he didn't pitch at all in 2007 for reasons that I don't really remember but am 100% certain pertained to arm problems. It's hard to believe, but he just turned 28 in October and I suppose that places him at the theoretical peak age for players. For Prior, though, I'm sure just throwing an inning or two in a minor league game would be a huge accomplishment.
Just five years ago, Prior was busy forming the most feared 1-2 rotation punch in the league with Kerry Wood. Now, Wood's a closer in Cleveland and Prior can only get a minor league deal with his hometown team. He hasn't even thrown 300 big league innings in the intervening five years and to be honest, I think his career is probably over. It's admirable that he hasn't given up yet, but with all the arm trouble and surgeries he's had, I can't believe he can he can brush his teeth, let alone throw a breaking pitch.
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Mark Prior Signs Minor League Deal with His Hometown Padres originally appeared on MLB FanHouse on Tue, 13 Jan 2009 20:47:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.