The Cubs announced today the reacquisition their former star pitcher, Mark Prior from the Red Sox as the player to be named later in the Marlon Byrd trade earlier this season. Prior flew to Houston Monday night to join his former club and take Kerry Wood’s spot on the 60-day DL following Kid K’s retirement last weekend.
“I’m thrilled to be back in Chicago,” said Prior. “There are no words to describe the feeling of taking Kerry’s spot on the DL. Very big shoes to fill.”
Terms of Prior’s contract were not disclosed, but sources close to the deal assume it is a seven-figure, multi-year pact. Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein was unabashed about his enthusiasm for Prior’s return.
“With all the pitching problems we have experienced so far this season, you know this is exactly what we need to turn our fortunes around,” said Epstein. “We feel that Mark has matured as a pitcher and he will add leadership and savvy to our staff, most of whom will spend time on the DL at some point this season.”
The Cubs haven’t said if Prior will go to the DL as a starter or long reliever.
“We’re not up to that decision yet,” said GM Jed Hoyer, implicitly acknowledging that Carlos Marmol has a lock on the DL closer position at the moment. “We’ll have to see how Mark looks in a simulated game.”
Prior has plenty of experience in simulated games, pretty much having made a career of it in recent years with several major league teams.
The Prior acquisition reportedly had been in the works for some time, with the hope of reuniting the dynamic duo from the 2003 post-season.
“With Woody’s sudden retirement, that dream no longer seems possible,” said manager Dale Sveum. ” But I’ll tell you this: I wouldn’t be surprised to see Woody back to spend some time on the DL this postseason.”
Epstein denied reports that the Cubs are also seeking to reacquire Jamie Moyer.