(Prior’s spot on the 2007 Cubs, above, secured)

Unwilling to strain his shoulder on the multiple cell phone calls to his lawyers and agents that an arbitration process demands, Mark Prior has signed with the Cubs for 3.575 million plus incentives if he makes 27-30 starts this year, meaning that Prior will make exactly 3.575 million in 2007. Prior has also given his reps power of attorney so that he can avoid actually picking up the pen to sign the contract. The Sun-Times‘ Chris DeLuca reports:

The injury-plagued right-hander avoided arbitration by agreeing Wednesday to a one-year, $3.575 million contract. Prior earned $3.65 million last season, when he went 1-6 with a 7.21 ERA in nine starts. He can boost the total package to $3.875 million if he makes 27 starts (a $150,000 bonus) and 30 starts (another $150,000).

Prior, 26, had been seeking a base salary of $3.875 million in arbitration, and the Cubs countered with $3.4 million.

”We’re very happy to have it done,” general manager Jim Hendry said. ”We look forward to seeing him come back and be the Mark Prior we saw before. You have to remember, he’s 26 years old. There are great days still ahead for Mark Prior.”

When spring training opens in two weeks, Prior will be in an unfamiliar position — battling for a spot in the Cubs’ rotation.

”I go out and win my job back in spring training, and we go from there,” Prior said at the Cubs Convention last month. ”I know what the reality is. Everybody wants to see me on the field. And there isn’t anybody else who wants to see me on the field more than I do.”