Martin Prado remains important part of Marlins offense

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 06: Martin Prado #14 and J.T. Realmuto #11 of the Miami Marlins celebrate after scoring runs following a single by Starlin Castro in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 6, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 06: Martin Prado #14 and J.T. Realmuto #11 of the Miami Marlins celebrate after scoring runs following a single by Starlin Castro in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 6, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Although he is no longer the team’s starting third baseman, Martin Prado is still an important part of the Miami Marlins offensive gameplan.

It’s a safe bet to say Miami Marlins third baseman and utility infielder Martin Prado is one of the most respected men in the team’s clubhouse.

While injuries have forced him to the disabled list more than the time he has spent on the field the past two seasons, that has not stopped the veteran from making his presence known as a leader on such a young ballclub.

Now, the role for the 35-year-old has changed, where he could see time at the hot corner, while giving second-year star Brian Anderson a breather, and at first base, while competiting with Neil Walker. That versatility that we have discussed before in other stories, is a reason a healty Martin Prado is a valuable asset.

"“I told them I’m available for anything,” said Prado via MLB.com. “Whatever decision they make, I’ve got to go with it, and hope, personally, I have a healthy year. That’s the most important thing for me.”"

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The decision to have Martin Prado share time at first was discussed last week by manager Don Mattingly, who will also evaluate the play of both Garrett Cooper and Peter O’Brien before the start of the MLB season in less than two months.

Even before the start of Spring Training, Prado knew the Marlins wanted to see Anderson spend more time at third base after splitting time in the outfield last season. It isn’t a surprise to anyone, knowing Anderson could become a cornerstone piece of this franchise for years to come.

Prado’s health is the biggest concern when it comes to being on the field. It is something the coaching staff is mindful of, especially since the Marlins begin playing Spring Training games this weekend. It is doubtful he sees the field the first few contests before he is ready to play a live game.

"“We’re going to make sure he feels like he’s game-ready,” Mattingly said. “Then, we’ll start getting him ready. There’s plenty of time with him. It’s not about, if he can play. It’s about if he’s healthy.”"

That does not mean Prado won’t be counted on to help these youngsters get a feel for the Majors or for him to lend advice to rookies looking to make an impact on the diamond.

Next. J.T. Riddle could have a huge year for the Marlins. dark

"“I tell the young kids, ‘Man, when you’re playing every day in the big leagues, enjoy every single moment, every single day,’ “ Prado said."

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