(Coincidence? News of the Prior pay cut was followed the next day on E-Bay with
a flood of vintage 2006, unworn, signed Prior jerseys.)

Inside the Ivy
posts the backstory on Mark Prior’s 265 K salary reduction this year, noting Prior took much more in bonuses in 2006, with Hendry making clear that unlike firing Steve Stone, Dusty’s coaches, or Alou and other grumbling SF players by 2004 –it’s not personal, “it’s business.” Says Hendry:

“I have nothing but high hopes that Mark is going to come back and pitch great and make a lot more money down the road,” Hendry said. “But it’s a part of the business neither side enjoys. Last year Mark got to exercise a clause in his contract after he didn’t have a great year (in 2005) and got an $800,000-$900,000 raise. It’s business.

“There was no kicking and screaming and growling (on Tuesday). It’s just philosophically a little difference of what you think he should make coming off the year he had. I don’t think this is going to be a fistfight.”

And in other front office sniping at ingrate pitchers, the Cubs Mailbag offers the only inside info I recall on Maddux’ 1993 departure for Atlanta. Please note how Carrie Muskat dodges the first question entirely:

Q: Is Cubs management out of their minds? How can they lowball Carlos Zambrano in arbitration? It reminds me of another young Cub pitcher about 15 years ago. That guy’s name was Greg Maddux. We all know how that worked out for the Cubs. They need to take care of Carlos and make him a career Cub.
— Dan R., Mason, Ohio

A: First of all, the Cubs didn’t lowball Maddux. The contract he signed with the Braves did little more than match the Cubs’ offer. Secondly, the Cubs’ offer to Zambrano is simply part of the process. Let it play out. Negotiations are ongoing.

And finally, Muskat actually posted this exchange with a (presumed) straight face:

Q: I’d just like to say I feel Slammin’ Sammy coming back to baseball is a great thing. I’m glad to see him get another chance and wish him the best of luck.
— Corey K., LaPorte, Ind.

A: I’m sure Sosa fans will make the trek to Arlington, Texas, June 19-21 for the Cubs’ Interleague series against the Rangers. Many will get a sneak peek at Sosa this spring in Surprise, Ariz.