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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Padres - Signed Prior
San Diego Padres - Signed P Mark Prior to a 1-year, $1 million contract.
Surprisingly, I think David Pinto really missed the mark in his recent article on Prior, suggesting that it was a bad gamble.
David and other critics of this deal are focusing on the probable outcome. Yes, the most likely outcome is that Prior’s not terribly healthy or even slightly healthy. But if Prior was a coin-flip to have a full, healthy season or even a dice roll to have a full, healthy season, he would not be available for this price. $1 million doesn’t buy you as much as it used to on the free agent market; it’s two and a half league minimum players and Prior isn’t Rodrigo Lopez recovering from an injury but one of the brightest young pitchers in the game. Even if you assume that the only way Prior can contribute to a team is to have a repeat of 2003 and he only has a 5% chance of doing it, that Prior was a 6-win pitcher. As valuable as that is, the Padres, like most of the NL is in a situation where a few extra wins brings a very lucrative playoff spot.
The most the Padres can lose on this is $1 million - in their position, they’re unlikely to keep starting Prior if he has an ERA of 6 and if he’s that bad, it probably means he’s not healthy enough to cause much damage anyway. The upside is huge even if the Friars don’t get to keep it past 2008.
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