Dusty, Prior, and Wood back together again? Chris De Luca’s article today discusses the possibility, though it should be classified as speculation.
New Reds manager Dusty Baker apparently keeps in touch with his former 1-2 punch, Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. Baker would like to know exactly what was wrong with Prior’s shoulder, if he is going to be blamed for it. As a 22 year-old in 2003, Prior ranked third in the game in Pitcher Abuse Points per start. Wood ranked first (and rankings don’t take the postseason into account).
De Luca notes that the Cubs are likely to non-tender Prior, who would have to be paid at least $2.86MM otherwise. I’ve contended that Prior remains worth that small investment for 2008, but De Luca’s sources speculate that he might not be ready until June. That would change things. There’s been some speculation that Prior could sign with his hometown Padres if the Cubs cut him loose.
As for Wood, he looked solid in 24 innings after experiencing a miracle recovery. De Luca suggests that Wood, who is a free agent, would have to go to another team if he desires a chance to start again. A lot of folks are advocating Wood as some kind of swingman bargain this winter. I’ve always been a fan of the guy, but counting on/paying him for even 50 innings from him is very risky.