Alou, Prior reunited as part of Padres' Minor League staff
SAN DIEGO -- As if this hasn't been an eventful enough offseason for the Padres, the team found a way to reunite Mark Prior and Moises Alou on Wednesday.
Surely, first-year general manager A.J. Preller -- who has already pulled off trades for Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers, among others -- has Steve Bartman on his radar?
Prior was named as the team's Minor League pitching coordinator and Alou was named as its special assistant to player development as part of several Minor League staff announcements.
Prior was an assistant in the Padres' baseball operations department last season after officially retiring from the game.
Alou last played in the big leagues in 2008 -- though he did play in the World Baseball Classic in 2009 -- finishing his career as a .303 hitter in 17 seasons with seven teams. He has been general manager of Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Winter League since 2009.
Prior, for one, is looking forward to having Alou as a teammate again. The two played with the Cubs from 2002-04.
"For me, Moises was awesome," Prior said. "He was well-respected by everyone in the clubhouse and he had a great presence to him. He was someone I could go to. I was 21, 22 when I started out with him and he had already been playing a decade. I can't say enough about him. I'm so excited to be working with him. He's going to be a tremendous asset to the organization."
Prior and Alou have a notable history together, as they were teammates with the Cubs for three seasons (2002-04), including that postseason run in 2003 that ended in seven games with a loss to the Marlins in the National League Championship Series -- a series that includes one of baseball's oddest postseason moments of all time.
With the Cubs leading, 3-2, in the NLCS and playing Game 6 at Wrigley Field, Chicago carried a 3-0 lead into the top of the eighth inning with Prior -- the winning pitcher in Game 2 -- still in the game. One out into the inning, the Cubs found themselves five outs from the World Series.
Luis Castillo of the Marlins lifted a fly ball down the left-field line that Alou, playing left field, gave chase to. Bartman, a fan, reached for the ball, deflecting what many believed would have been a catch by Alou for the second out of the inning.
Instead, the Marlins went on to score eight runs in the inning, winning, 8-3. The Cubs were eliminated the next day in Game 7 and haven't been as close to the World Series since.
As for Prior, his first year with the Padres saw him involved in various aspects of baseball operations, including amateur and professional scouting. He also saw several of the team's Minor League clubs. Last fall, he sat down with Preller, who asked him what he wanted to do next.
"I loved what I did, and enjoyed amateur scouting, pro scouting, but I think the one thing I didn't touch on last year was the development side," Prior said. "That's where the dialog started. Things progressed from there."
Prior will be in Arizona when pitchers and catchers report to camp on Feb. 19.
Aside from Prior and Alou, the Padres named Dave Snow as player development consultant Wednesday. He won 510 games in 13 seasons as the head coach at Long Beach State and was the NCAA Coach of the Year in 1989.
The team hired Luis Ortiz as Minor League hitting coordinator, moved Eric Junge from advance scout to pitching instructor, hired Ryley Westman as catching coordinator, Tarrik Brock as outfielder/baserunning coordinator, and Eddie Rodriguez as infielder coordinator.
Returning to the staff will be Evaristo Lantigua as Latin American instruction coordinator, Jordan Wolf as strength and conditioning coordinator, Ryan Bitzek as rehab coordinator, and JoJo Tarantino as medical coordinator.