At nearly 36 years of age, Martin Prado is undoubtedly nearing the end of his major league playing career.
Miami Marlins pinch-hitter / corner infielder Martin Prado is a 14-season major league veteran. Prior to joining the Miami Marlins out of Maracay, Venezuela, he spent 13 years in the Atlanta Braves system, making his major league debut in 2006. In 2013 he played with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and joined the New York Yankees for the end of the 2014 campaign.
After the 2014 season, the Yankees traded Prado along with David Phelps and $6 million to the Miami Marlins for Nathan Eovaldi, Domingo German, and Garrett Jones. For the first two years of his deal, he appeared in 282 games and hit .297/.349/.406 with 17 home runs and 138 RBI. After rating above average defensively for the first part of his career, he graded out as slightly below average in 2015 and 2016 at the hot corner by range factor, while coming out just above average in defensive runs saved. Academically, Prado’s best defensive value was as a left fielder with the Braves in 2012, when he was worth 15 DRS. He’s still capable of the occasional web gem:
Prado signed a three-year, $40 million deal to remain with the Miami Marlins through the 2019 season just before the end of the 2016 season, which is where we now find ourselves. Since signing that deal, Prado has played in 155 games, and hit .246/.278/.319 with four homers and 43 RBI. His main value in that time has been in the clubhouse, according to Craig Davis at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
"I talked to all the players over the winter,” Mattingly said. “Martin was always the guy they mentioned that really took charge in the clubhouse last year, was part of kind of settling that situation down, and the guys looked to him for leadership. Almost to a guy, you heard Martin’s name came up."
Prado has always been eager to step into the role. He told Foxsports.com’s Christina De Nicola in 2015:
"They asked me if I can be that guy that talks to the guys. I like it. I like it because the guys listen and they’re willing to learn, willing to play the right way. That’s what you’re looking for in young guys. I’m telling you. There’s a lot of positive stuff going on right now. Not because we’re winning just because guys showing pride, guys just showing up and playing the game the right way. That’s the way I was taught and that’s the way if somebody asks me I’m going to tell them. I’m the guy that likes to tell the truth. I’m not fake. That’s what we need around here."
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It’s with this leader profile in mind that I now say that the Miami Marlins need to offer Prado a deal to stay on with the team in perpetuity after his playing career comes to a close. Injuries and normal aging has taken away from his value as a player, but his presence is needed on a team that continues to get younger. I’m of the mind that Prado needs to be signed on in any capacity, so long as he remains a member of the Miami Marlins. In the wake of Udonis Haslem signing for a Miami Heat record 17th season, isn’t it time the Marlins planned on Prado’s future?
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