It has only been a year since all of Cubdom was up in arms that Mark Prior might be traded. It didn't matter that in return for Prior, that either Miguel Tejada or Bobby Abreu, two everyday all star caliber players, would've contributed mightily and been a cornerstone of the team for quite some time.
As the Cubs and Prior enter spring training in less than a month, fans have done an about face. Prior has been bashed in the media as being soft and medical reports abound that Prior's shoulder may not even be fixable due to a genetic flaw. Cub's GM Hendry, is following the prevailing winds of public opinion and offering a contract to Prior that is lower than last year's, as he feels justified that the numbers are on his side.
The actual difference in dollars that Prior is asking for and the Cubs are offering is some $500,000. With the money that's being tossed around this off season, the difference appears to be meaningless in the overall scheme of things.
So why are the Cubs offering a contract that in reality can do nothing but breed ill will between Prior and the Cubs?
It appears that Hendry is miscalculating the consequences of what offering a contract, however justified in some people's eyes, lower than last year's to Prior.
Regardless of what the arbitrator's number comes up to be for Prior, the amount of money will be inconsequential, so what's the point? The message being sent to Prior, especially in light of past contracts for the likes of N. Perez and G. Rusch, appears to be a slap in the face.
If Prior pitches this year, it will be because he is healthy. If he is healthy, he'll post solid if not superior numbers compared with most everyday starters. Then, when he becomes eligible for free agency, what incentive will there be for Prior to re-up with the Cubs besides a big fat contract?
I understand like many, that Prior has been a major disappointment and may never be healthy again, but considering Prior's upside and the ill will created by the Cubs offer this year, I see the makings of a disaster down the road that would've been avoided by Hendry, for just a few hundred thousand dollars.