Cubs, Prior agree to one-year deal

CHICAGO -- Right-hander Mark Prior and the Chicago Cubs
agreed on a one-year deal Wednesday and avoided salary arbitration.

Prior will get $3,575,000 and would earn an additional $150,000
each for making 27 and 30 starts.

Terms of the deal were not immediately available.

Once considered a Cubs' ace of the future, Prior has won just 18
games the past three seasons while battling injuries.

The 26-year-old Prior made $3.65 million last season, when he
was bothered by an ailing shoulder and went 1-6 with a 7.21 ERA in
nine starts. He asked for $3,875,000 in arbitration and the Cubs
countered with $3.4 million.

"It's been a rough couple of years, but you know I'm looking
forward to this year and try not to think about what's happened,"
Prior said during the Cubs' winter convention this month.

"I can't change it, I can't change the reality of what it's
been the last three years. I've had some unfortunate things, but
I'm not making excuses. It hasn't been good."

Prior was 18-6 in 2003, and was on the mound when the Cubs came
within five outs of reaching the World Series.

Besides bolstering their batting order by signing Alfonso
Soriano, the Cubs have added starting pitchers Jason Marquis and
Ted Lilly during a busy offseason.

Prior is 42-29 with a 3.51 ERA in 106 starts since making his
major league debut in 2002. He has struck out 757 in 657 innings --
a rate of 10.37 per nine innings.