priorDon’t feel too bad for him. He made $33,000 an inning from the Cubs.

It’s pretty incredible to think back at what Mark Prior could have been. The greatest college pitcher ever? The pitcher that would end the Cubs century of futility? The next Tom Seaver? The first-ballot Hall of Famer with perfect mechanics? The guy the Minnesota Twins would always dread passing up?

In the end, Prior was just like hundreds of pitchers before him and hundreds that are sure to follow, a guy with a lot of ability that couldn’t defeat one of the toughest opponents of all: arm injuries.

While Prior made a sparkling debut with the Cubs as a 21-year-old in 2002, he hasn’t thrown a pitch in a big league ballgame since 2006. And for all the talk of his picture perfect mechanics and pitching frame, Prior’s mechanics have always given some people pause, and the stats behind it look like they confirmed the worries: Prior threw over 200 innings only once, and over 150 only twice in the five seasons he was actually healthy enough to climb on the mound.

Prior collected a major league record $10.5 million signing bonus from the Cubs in 2001 and “earned” $12,800,000 as a major league baseball player (including $1,000,000 last season to never see the field with the Padres). He was released yesterday from a minor league contract that paid him $15,000 a month to rehab with the club.

“The poor guy just can’t seem to get over the hump. He is doing everything possible for him to come back,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “I hope it works out for him.”

Prior has earned roughly $500,000 for every win that he gave the Cubs from 2002-2006, and a $1 million-and-change from the Padres to live at home, so I think it’s safe to say that it worked out for him pretty well for Prior, even if he never steps on a baseball field again.

I hope Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals look back at the career of Mark Prior before they both do something that they might regret.

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  1. [...] guaranteed obliterates Mark Prior’s record signing bonus… which last time I check didn’t turn out too well for the Cubs. Strasburg will get a cool $7.5 million signing bonus in three installments — [...]

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