He will be a FA in 07 ...
But the Cubs have a huge problem.
Since Prior is expected to opt out this year, he will be getting a fat raise thru arbitration, and an even bigger one next season.
So the Cubs, who I believe have never taken a player to arbitration, need to sign Prior to either a long term deal now, or play the one year contract/arbitration thing with him for two years and then watch him walk.
the Cubs 2006 Payroll is expected to be close to 100.00 million, and that is a lot of bling for a Newspaper company to be handing out. Especially in the midst of an internet news free for all has casued subscriptions to drop all across the world. very few people get there news from the newspaper anymore.
I am guessing the Cubs will sign Prior for this year, somewhere around 4.5 to 5 million, just to avoid arbitration, and then try like hell during the season to get him signed long term.
This is where the Cubs have a problem.
The current market for Starting Pitchers in insane. (Thank you Kris Benson! Pitching salaries were dropping you idiots!)
To lock up Prior long term it is going to cost them somewhere between 12-15 million per season, for at least four seasons, maybe more. That is allot of coin for a newspaper company to spend
on a Starting Pitcher (see Greg Maddux), especially one with a perceived injury risk.
BTW, you can ditto this whole scenario for one Carlos Zambrano.
Is the Tribune Company really going to spend 25-30 million per year on two starting pitchers...
and where does Kerry wood and his 10 million fit in here ?
The Cubs have a problem ...
and i'd guess that two of the three will be gone by opening day 2007.
5 years/$10.5M (2002-06), plus incentives
$4M signing bonus
05:$2M base (incentives to $2.75M),
2003 All Star selection increased 2004-06 salaries by $0.5M/season
additional $0.1M All Star incentive
Prior may void final 2 years (05-06) if he qualifies for arbitration after 2004 season
drafted 2001 (1-2), signed major-league contract 8/01
agent: John Boggs
ML service: 3.131