Prior set to become free agent after Cubs sever ties

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs have declined to offer a 2008
contract to former star right-hander Mark Prior. He becomes a free

Prior had arthrosopic surgery on his right shoulder in April and
missed the 2007 season.

He'd been ticketed for the minors after a spring training in
which he was limited because of shoulder problems. In 2006, he made
only nine appearances.

Prior is 42-29 with a 3.51 ERA in the majors. He made $3,575,000
last season.

Prior finished third in NL Cy Young Award voting in 2003, when
he 18-6 with a 4.24 ERA and struck out 245 in 211 1/3 innings.