Prior was not seeking a big raise, looking for $3.875 million. The two sides should find some common ground before a hearing in February.
But since the Cubs spent more than $300 million on player salary and on new manager Lou Piniella during the off season, it appears that the Cubs are trying to nickel and dime him and send a message that he needs to stay healthy.
Hendry said the offer was just business and not meant as an insult to Prior.
"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."
Prior and Wade Miller (who also had shoulder problems last year) are the leading candidates for the No. 5 spot in the rotation.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1993 -- The last time the Cubs went to an arbitration hearing with a player (Mark Grace).
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Carlos has said he wanted to stay here and has told the world he wanted to start and finish with the Cubs. But sooner or later in this business, you might have to go (to a hearing)." -- Cubs general manager Jim Hendry on the possibility the Cubs may have an arbitration hearing with RHP Carlos Zambrano in February.
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