One of the Marlins' remaining trade chips will open season on disabled list
Martin Prado suffered a setback in his rehab from knee surgery
With Opening Day two weeks away, the Miami Marlins received some bad news about one of the few remaining veterans on their roster. Third baseman Martin Prado suffered a setback from knee surgery and will begin the 2018 regular season on the disabled list.
Martin Prado experienced discomfort in his right leg while running on Tuesday, and the team said on Wednesday morning that the 34-year-old third baseman will start the season on the disabled list.
Prado had not participated in any Spring Training games as he was recovering from right knee surgery. Hamstring and right knee issues limited him to 37 games in 2017, and he was being eased back into game shape all Spring Training.
"[Prado] was borderline, anyway," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "We really didn't think he'd make Opening Day. We thought after that Philly series. But this probably pushes that timetable back."
Prado, 34, hit .250/.279/.357 (70 OPS+) in those 37 games last season. He is one year removed from a .305/.359/.417 (113 OPS+) batting line with 37 doubles in 153 games, so you needn't look back far to see the last time he was productive. The Marlins were surely hoping Prado would return to his 2016 form with a healthy knee, creating a trade market. Miami would likely have to eat some of the $28.5 million remaining on his contract the next two years to facilitate a trade, however.
With Prado sidelined, the Marlins will play third base prospect Brian Anderson at the hot corner. The 24-year-old hit .262/.337/.369 (91 OPS+) in 25 games during his MLB debut last season. MLB.com ranks Anderson as the ninth-best prospect in Miami's improved farm system. Here's a snippet of their scouting report:
Anderson has always shown power potential, combining strength with a leveraged swing and good extension through the hitting zone. He got to that power more than ever in 2017, driving the ball with authority from line to line, with plus raw power to his pull side. Anderson also can hit for average, showing good feel for finding the barrel while employing a selective approach. After bouncing between the infield and outfield in college and then working at both second and third base during his professional debut, Anderson has manned the hot corner exclusively since the start of 2015. His hands, range and plus arm are all fits at the position.
For what's it's worth, the ZiPS projection system is very bullish on Anderson. The system pegs him as a true talent 1.8 WAR player in 2018. The Prado injury stinks, and no one wants to see a player get hurt, but I'm guessing the Marlins are looking forward to seeing what Anderson can do with extending playing time.
The Marlins of course started to tear things down over the winter, trading Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Dee Gordon, and Marcell Ozuna in cash-cutting deals. Chances are J.T. Realmuto and Dan Straily (and others) will find themselves on the move in the coming weeks and months as well. A healthy Prado would be a real nice trade chip. Unfortunately he's not healthy right now, and all Miami can do is get take it slow and get him healthy so that when Prado gets back on the field, he stays on the field.
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