Mark Prior Rumors
Cliff Lee isn't the only pitcher the Yankees and Rangers are bidding against each other on. Those two clubs are the finalists for Mark Prior, according to Tom Krasovic of AOLFanHouse (on Twitter). The 30-year-old right-hander has a connection to both clubs; he pitched in the Rangers' minor league system last year and the Yankees selected him 43rd overall in the 1998 draft, but were unable to sign him.
Prior soon became one of the National League's best pitchers after the Cubs drafted him second overall in 2001. He posted a 2.43 ERA with 10.4 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 as a 22-year-old just a year and a half after being drafted. A series of shoulder problems derailed Prior's career, but he has tried to resurrect it with stints in the Padres' and Rangers' systems. He has not pitched in a big league ballgame since 2006.
Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels has some interest in bringing Mark Prior back for 2011, writes Richard Durrett of ESPN.com. Prior inked a minor league deal with the club just before the end of the 2010 season and pitched just one inning for their Triple-A affiliate.
"He's a free agent now and we have discussed him coming back," the GM said. "There’s a level of interest."
Texas could possibly bring the right-hander into spring training to find out what he can do as a reliever. Recently, Prior's agent John Boggs told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that his client has offers from three teams.
Prior hasn't pitched at the major league level since 2006 due to injuries. In his sophomore campaign in 2003, Prior posted a 2.43 ERA with 10.4 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9.
This week's Sunday Baseball Notes piece from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is packed with juicy hot stove tidbits. According to one of Cafardo's major league sources, the Angels have had "serious talks" with Carl Crawford. The team's front office has been mum on the subject, but they've long been viewed as a strong potential suitor for the speedy outfielder. When five MLBTR writers predicted free agent destinations, all five guessed Crawford would sign with the Halos. Here are some of the other highlights from Cafardo's column:
- "Word is" that the Yankees are currently willing to offer Cliff Lee about $115MM over five years. Cafardo says the Rangers are aiming to match whatever the bidding gets up to, while the Nationals are also still in the hunt. Earlier in the week, Nolan Ryan said he didn't expect Texas to be able to outbid the Yanks for Lee.
- One National League scout said if he had limited trade chips to put toward a big bat, he'd acquire Adrian Gonzalez over Justin Upton. Gonzo is, as the scout notes, currently a "much better hitter," though he's also five years older than Upton and only under contract through 2011.
- While Cafardo adds Kansas City to the list of teams who have "considerable interest" in Upton, we learned Friday that the 23-year-old can block a trade to the Royals.
- The Dodgers would like to add a veteran "who can step up and be vocal when times are tough." Cafardo speculates that A.J. Pierzynski, Juan Uribe, or Johnny Damon could be a good fit.
- The Dodgers are also considering signing a low-cost starter, and haven't ruled out bringing back Vicente Padilla.
- "More and more teams" in need of middle infield help are eyeing Uribe.
- The Nationals and Giants, in addition to the Orioles, have some interest in trading for Jason Bartlett. The Rays are looking for young bullpen help in return.
- Mark Prior, attempting to make it back to the bigs, has three teams waiting on his decision, according to his agent, John Boggs.
- Not all of the clubs who are showing interest in acquiring Marco Scutaro would necessarily use him at shortstop. The Dodgers could have interest in Scutaro as a second baseman, Cafardo says.
The Rangers agreed to sign Mark Prior to a minor league deal, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter). A Rangers official told Wilson that the Rangers signed Prior with the long-term in mind, not necessarily 2010. The right-hander doesn't turn 30 until next week, so he's still relatively young.
Prior, who had signed with the Orange County Flyers of the Independent Golden League, auditioned for teams earlier in the summer, but no one signed him. The Padres signed Prior last year, though he never pitched for San Diego at the major league level.
The Cubs selected Prior second overall in the 2001 draft and he pitched to a 2.43 ERA in 200-plus innings as a 22-year-old two years later. Soon afterwards, shoulder injuries derailed Prior's career.
Links for Saturday, as J.P. Arencibia homers on the first pitch he sees in the majors....
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets that he has not seen a year in which the Reds have faced so many difficult roster decisions in the last decade.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America (via Twitter) expects the Giants to eventually sign their first-round pick, center fielder Gary Brown.
- Barry Shlachter of the Dallas Morning News examines whether the group headed by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan overpaid for the Rangers.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America passes on news of a pair of draft picks signing for over-slot deals: The Blue Jays signed their second-round pick, while the Pirates locked up their fourth-rounder.
- Tigers owner Mike Ilitch acknowledged to Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News that he'd signed off on some bad contracts in the past, but said that won't stop him from spending money in the future.
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson hears that negotiations between the Nationals and Bryce Harper could "heat up" by Tuesday. The first overall pick in this year's draft enrolled for classes at the College of Southern Nevada, but that doesn't mean he won't end up signing with the Nats.
- The Dodgers still seem to be buyers, leading Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times to wonder if they put a waiver claim on Adam Dunn.
- Although he's pitching for the Orange County Flyers now, Mark Prior hopes to make his way back to the bigs, according to MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger.
The Orange County Flyers of the Golden Baseball League signed Mark Prior, according to MLB.com's Corey Brock (on Twitter). Coincidentally, the signing comes one year after the Padres released Prior. The 29-year-old didn't appear in a game with San Diego and hasn't seen any big league action since 2006.
Prior, the second overall pick in the 2001 draft, auditioned for MLB teams last month, but his stuff was "just all right," according to one veteran scout. It's been a long time since Prior pitched to a 2.43 ERA in 200-plus innings as a 22-year-old, so he'll join the Golden League instead of a major league organization. A number of big leaguers, including Daniel Nava and Scott Richmond have climbed from the Golden League to the major leagues. Now, Prior will attempt to prove the health of his right shoulder and do the same.
Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez will eventually end up with another club, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The reality of a seven- or eight-year deal at more than $20MM per season in a market as small as San Diego remains a long shot. If Gonzalez, who is under contract through 2011, reaches free agency, he'll be preferred over fellow slugger Prince Fielder, who is also in that free agent class. Let's see what else Cafardo has for us..
- Orioles infielder Ty Wigginton's right-handed bat and versatility make him attractive to the Yankees, Reds, Rays, and Angels. Wigginton likes playing in Baltimore but wouldn't mind being in a playoff race.
- A major league source wonders if Roy Oswalt will get too picky about to which teams he would approve a trade. We've already heard that Oswalt won't approve a trade to the White Sox or Tigers. One talent evaluator says that Oswalt can succeed in the American League.
- That same talent evaluator told Cafardo that Ted Lilly will encounter problems with a move to the American League. Therefore, he would make more sense for a team like the Mets, who are said to have interest.
- Twins catcher Joe Mauer has been playing through a few undisclosed injuries, in part because he feels the need to live up to his enormous contact. The club has been dangling catcher Wilson Ramos in a trade for a prime pitcher but they're now less inclined to deal him due to concerns about their franchise player.
- The Red Sox watched Mark Prior throw in Arizona, but a team source says that they won't sign him.
Another round of links for Monday, as Big Papi keeps on hitting...
- The Orioles have some interest in Mark Prior and will continue to keep an eye on him, according to Roch Kubatko of MASN.com.
- Matt Capps told MLB.com's Bill Ladson that he doesn't want the Nationals to trade him.
- Cliff Lee told MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan that he hopes to negotiate a no-trade clause into the free agent deal he signs after the season. Lee reflected on "a whirlwind few days" with Larry Stone of the Seattle Times.
- The Nationals have yet to discuss a pro contract with first overall pick Bryce Harper, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson (via Twitter). The sides have until August 16th to work out a deal and it would be a surprise to see them agree much before then.
- Corey Hart repeated to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that he wants to remain a Brewer, but told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that he has thought about becoming a Giant (Twitter link).
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs places Phillies prospect Domonic Brown 50th on his list of MLB players with the most trade value.
- Ricky Nolasco may become trade bait, according to MLB.com's Joe Frisaro (via Twitter). The Marlins would listen to offers for the 27-year-old righty.
- The Yankees have Orioles infielder Ty Wigginton and A’s reliever Michael Wuertz on their radar, according to George A. King III of the New York Post.
- The Yankees aren't close to moving Javier Vazquez and could hold onto him until July 31st even if they acquire Lee, according to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (via Twitter).
- Red Sox second rounder Brandon Workman and his advisor have given clear indications that the pitcher would not accept a deal for second-round money, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Workman has turned down a six-figure bonus before and appears ready to re-enter the draft in 2011 if the Red Sox don't offer him the bonus he feels he deserves.
- The Chiba Lotte Marines are closing in on a deal with Hayden Penn, a right-hander currently pitching in the Pirates' system, according to reports that Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along.
- The Marlins, Brewers, Orioles, Phillies, Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox watched Mark Prior pitch, according to Tom Krasovic of AOL FanHouse (Twitter link). The 29-year-old Prior is making a comeback.
Links for Thursday, as we wait to see how much more damage Vladimir Guerrero will inflict upon the Angels tonight...
- Mark Prior's agent says that one club wants to sign the right-hander after his workout this week, tweets Tom Krasovic of AOL Fanhouse. Prior reportedly hit the magic number of 90 mph during his workout.
- John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer indicates (via Twitter) that extension talks for Joey Votto will wait until after the season.
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post tweets that the Yankees will not designate Chad Gaudin for assignment when they call up Dustin Moseley. The team has an empty spot on its 40-man roster, and is likely to place someone on the DL or option another reliever to Triple-A instead.
- Jim Hendry of the Cubs is the easiest general manager to make a deal with, according to a poll of GMs from around the league conducted by ESPN's Buster Olney.
- The sale of the Rangers is heading to a one-day auction that will be held on July 16th, reports Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News.