Yanks sign former 1998 draft pick Mark Prior

As one $148 million door closes, a $750,000 one opens. On the heels of last week’s Yankeeist analysis comes the news that the Yankees have signed their former 1998 draft pick (43rd overall) Mark Prior to a minor league deal that could be worth up to $1.5 million if he makes the big league club and reaches certain incentives. Prior will compete for a spot in the bullpen.

This is a perfect move for the Yankees, representing all upside and zero risk. While many doubters won’t expect the Yankees to get a thing out of Prior, who hasn’t thrown a pitch in the Majors since 2006, anything he does end up providing is gravy. If his arm falls off, so be it, the Yanks are on the hook for less than $1 million. For his career Prior is a 3.51 ERA/3.41 FIP/3.32 xFIP pitcher — if he can return to pitching at even 75% of that ability (although that’s probably asking quite a bit) he could end up being a surprisingly valuable piece out of the Yankee bullpen.

And there’s more good news, as yesterday’s Russell Martin signing became official with the passing of his physical. While the Yankees may have missed out on their top priority this offseason, it’s hard not to like the depth moves they’ve made thus far, and with around $20 million or so to play with there are certainly more to come.

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