Mark Prior Rumors

Odds & Ends: Moseley, Reds, Prior, Nationals

Links for Wednesday, as Dustin Pedroia gets an early start on his rehab assignment…

Mark Prior To Audition For MLB Teams

It's been four years since Mark Prior threw a pitch in the major leagues, but he hopes to play at the highest level once again, according to Tracy Ringolsby of FOX Sports. Prior will work out at USC on Wednesday, when "most major league teams are expected to have a scout in attendance." Prior, still just 29, signed with the Padres last year, but didn't appear in a game and was handed his release a few months later.

Prior put together a college pitching career that few pitchers before (Ben McDonald) or since (Stephen Strasburg) have matched. Drafted second overall behind Joe Mauer in the 2001 draft, he soon became a key member of the Cubs' rotation. Prior pitched to a 2.43 ERA in 211.1 innings as a 22-year-old in 2003 before shoulder problems derailed his career.

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Odds & Ends: Marlins, Pena, Jeter, Angels, Prior

Links for Thursday..

Stark On Damon, Bedard, Phillies, Smoltz, Gregg

Jayson Stark of points out that teams aren't handing out long-term contracts as liberally as they were a few years ago. We've seen just eight contracts of three-plus years this offseason, after seeing 13 such contracts in each of the previous two winters. The offseason before that? Players signed 29 contracts of three years or more. Here are Stark's rumors:

  • Detroit doesn't seem that interested in Johnny Damon and the Braves haven't spoken with Damon's agent, Scott Boras, in a month and a half. The Rays have checked in, but they have little to spend.
  • Erik Bedard and the Orioles have mutual interest in a reunion, Stark hears. 
  • The Phillies would like to add a veteran left-handed reliever on a minor league deal, but Alan Embree and Ron Mahay are holding out for big league deals at this point, despite the Phillies' interest. 
  • Kevin Gregg is high on the Rockies' shopping list. They're looking at infield options and hoping to save enough money to shore up their bullpen, too. 
  • The Blue Jays have told clubs that Scott Downs and Jason Frasor are available. The Cubs have checked in on the pair of relievers. 
  • The Royals have told teams they're "open minded" about moving Gil Meche or Brian Bannister. 
  • John Smoltz is in no rush to sign. He's open to waiting for a few months, since he'd like a starting job and some execs question his ability to start for an entire season. 
  • Ben Sheets will be the first A's pitcher to make $10MM (though some believe Sheets will be traded before the end of the year).
  • Mark Prior is throwing off a mound and would like to make a comeback. 

Olney On Ausmus, Carroll, Prior, Penny

A few notes from ESPN's Buster Olney

  • Via Twitter, Olney's heard from other teams that the Reds would love to move closer Francisco Cordero.  Of course, closers are plentiful and Cordero is set to earn $25MM over the next two years.  I mentioned in our Reds Offseason Outlook that the team would have to eat half of that to make him mildly appealing.  Similarly, the Indians would definitely listen on Kerry Wood, who is set to earn $20MM over the next two years.
  • Olney believes other teams could join the Reds and Tigers in cost-cutting mode.  He says the teams with payroll space "will be in position to make some excellent deals."
  • Olney finds it unlikely that Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, or John Lackey will receive a $100MM contract.
  • Catcher Brad Ausmus on 2010: "I could end up playing if somebody wants me."
  • The A's are interested in free agent infielder Jamey Carroll. Ed Price of AOL FanHouse tweets that the Dodgers and at least seven other teams are also interested in Carroll.
  • Mark Prior is throwing on flat ground and plans to audition for scouts.  Prior, 29, most recently had shoulder surgery in June.
  • The Giants are attempting to re-sign Brad Penny, who lost 12 pounds since the end of the season.
  • Olney wonders if the Royals will dump more players before the December 12th non-tender deadline.  I think Mike Jacobs, John Buck, and John Bale fit the bill.
  • Olney's heard that the Phillies "will be aggressive in signing a set-up man/closer safety net," with Brad Lidge having flexor tendon surgery.

Prior Still Wants To Pitch

It's easy to forget that Mark Prior's just 28. He's battled arm troubles with the Cubs and been released by the Padres, but he tells's Fred Claire that he still wants to pitch. Pedro Martinez and Chris Carpenter have come back from injuries, so Prior looks at them and remains determined to come back.

"I will do everything I can to prepare myself to pitch in the Major Leagues again," he said. "I know I have the ability and I haven't given up on myself in any way."

When Prior looks forward he sees a career renaissance like Carpenter's; when he looks back, he remembers the Stephen Strasburg-esque hype that surrounded him after he signed a record-setting deal out of college. Prior, who says he has no regrets, offers this advice for Strasburg: "enjoy the journey."

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Odds & Ends: Red Sox, Mora, Halladay

Some links to pore over as we just miss another no-hitter:

  • Alex Speier at WEEI reports that the Red Sox won't give 16-year-old Dominican hurler Victor Payano a contract, despite being rumored as favorites to sign him. Payano, in line for a bonus around $900k, had failed his physical.
  • Peter Schmuck at the Baltimore Sun notes that top prospect Brian Matusz was called up to start tonight for the O's and they in turn optioned Kam Mickolio to Triple-A. After Melvin Mora's recent spat with manager Dave Trembley, there was speculation Mora would be gone, but he is starting tonight. He still could be moved.
  • Scott Podsednik's improved play has increased his value, but he wants to stay with the White Sox in 2010, says Scott Merkin at
  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels said in an e-mail to Yahoo's Gordon Edes that there was no effort by J.P. Ricciardi to mislead the Rangers in Roy Halladay talks, and Ricciardi was "upfront" about what he wanted.
  • The Padres officially released Mark Prior today, says CBS Sports. The move was reported to be on the horizon by Corey Brock at Saturday.

Odds & Ends: King Felix, Matusz, Johnson

A hearty batch of links for your Saturday afternoon viewing pleasure…

  • Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times takes a deeper look at the Felix Herandez-Red Sox talks that took place just before the trade deadline yesterday.  It seems like a sensitive subject for most Mariners fans.
  • According to Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun, the Orioles are having a "vigorous debate" about calling up pitching prospect Brian Matusz.  "The service time issue also is largely moot," Schmuck writes, "because no matter how much time he spends up here this year, he's still under reserve for another six."
  • Matthew Pouliot of's "Circling The Bases," reviews the trade deadline's winners and losers.
  • Bill Ladson of reports that Nick Johnson did not want to discuss an extension with the Nationals, thus the trade, and is hoping for a two-year deal when he becomes a free agent this offseason.
  •'s Corey Brock, a Padres beat writer, has more on the impending release of Mark Prior.

Padres To Release Mark Prior

Another chapter ends in the Mark Prior saga, and it still isn't on a positive note: According to's Corey Brock, there are indications that the Padres are about to release Prior from his minor-league contract, possibly today.

The 28-year-old Prior hasn't thrown since April, says Brock. The former phenom had signed a deal with the Padres in January that would have been worth $1MM had he reached the majors. But as it stands, Prior hasn't played in a big league game since 2006.

Odds & Ends: Manny, Papelbon, Pudge, Peavy

Links for Thursday…

  • The Nationals remain interested in Duaner Sanchez, says Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post.
  • Yahoo’s Jeff Passan talked to Mark Prior.
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post heard Manny Ramirez and Scott Boras consider the contract with the Dodgers a one-year deal with a safety net.  Sherman wonders if the Yankees and/or Mets could get involved depending on how Manny’s 2009 season plays out.
  • Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon commented about Manny to Chris Jones in the April issue of Esquire.  It’s a good article and there’s a lot more to it than the Manny comments.
  • Free agent catcher Ivan Rodriguez is working out at first base, according to Will Gonzalez of
  • The Padres have the third pick in the June draft.  Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune asks whether they’ll finally take a player with big upside.
  • Jake Peavy‘s agent Barry Axelrod seems to be writing off the Padres, in comments to Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune: "It’s tough with the Padres’ situation.  They are not very good and it looks like it is going to be another long year for them."
  • Marlins shortstop Robert Andino is out of options, so Mike Phillips of the Miami Herald says this is his audition.
  • ESPN’s Buster Olney says Mark Mulder‘s audition is drawing closer and he’s throwing well.  Olney also says Luis Gonzalez is waiting by the phone.  For a look at the other remaining free agents, click here.