Monday, January 30, 2006

Prior Planning

Mark Prior signed a 3.65 million dollar 1 year extension with the Cubs on Friday. Is this a smart move for the Cubs, Prior, or both? It seems like both parties think they made the smartest move, but things could backfire for either side.

For the Cubs

Smart Thinking - The Cubs feel that prior needs a solid injury free season to prove he is worthy of a long term contract. That makes sense. If they were to offer him a long term contract now and he gets injured and cannot live up to his potential, the Cubs would get burned.

Backfire - If Prior does have a Cy Young caliber year, the long term contract will be much more expensive next season while the number of other teams ready to offer high multi-year deals for him will increase exponetially. He will definately be harder to keep and the Cubs could loose him.

My Opinion - Cubs made the right choice. While I think Prior is worth a long term high dollar contract, it is nice that he has to work for it. We all know what it is like to pay a premium salary for a player that thinks he just deserves it and does not perform (rhymes with SO SO). Worst case, we get a Cy Young performance out of him this year and loose him. At least we got a Cy Young pitcher for one year.

For Mark Prior

Smart Thinking - Prior knows what he can do and knows he fell on bad luck last season. If he accepted a long term contract now, he could end up out performing the $10 million plus pitchers while earning less than half of their salaries. Then you become unhappy and it would effect your performance. With a good year, Prior can name his price, and he would deserve it.

Backfire - God forbid, Prior could have another injury filled season and I hate to say it, be another Kerry Wood. I love Wood, but to have so much potential and have your team trying to figure out where to use you and who can replace you when you go down is dissapointing. If Prior cannot prove his worth, he would be looking at another one year deal with the Cubs or even another team for less money.

My Opinion - Prior made the right choice. Mark is an old school work horse. He is not wanting anything handed to him. He knows he will have a good year as long as he has no freak injuries. He is one of the best pitchers in baseball right now and he just has to let everyone else see that. I predict a Cy Young season out of him, and I hope the Cubs will reward him properly with a LONG term, HIGH dollar contract. He is the Cubs future.

Wouldn't it be nice if all players in baseball had to work for their salaries?