Prado embraces new opportunity with Marlins

Prado embraces new opportunity with Marlins

MIAMI -- Once the initial shock of the trade wore off, Martin Prado quickly embraced the opportunity to join an up-and-coming Marlins team.

The 31-year-old was acquired from the Yankees to offer leadership and stability to a roster with rising stars like Jose Fernandez and Giancarlo Stanton.

"When I got traded, I was totally surprised," Prado said Saturday at the annual Winter Warm-Up at Marlins Park. "But I couldn't be happier than when I found out I was going to play with Stanton and Jose Fernandez and young kids who are coming up and who are going to be superstars. I'm very happy to be here."

One of Miami's toughest offseason decisions was parting with Casey McGehee, the 2014 National League Comeback Player of the Year.

But when it was known Prado was available, Miami swung a five-player trade with the Yankees on Dec. 19. Prado and David Phelps were obtained for Nathan Eovaldi, Garrett Jones and prospect Domingo German.

The next day McGehee was dealt to the Giants for two pitching prospects, clearing the way for Prado to take over at third base.

Even prior to being moved to Miami, Prado paid attention to an already active Marlins offseason. The club signed Stanton to a 13-year deal in November and added Dee Gordon, Dan Haren, Mat Latos and Michael Morse.

"When you see these kinds of trades, and how they were moving guys, you could see they're going in the right direction," Prado said. "They've got a good mix of veteran guys and young guys. When you see that, guys who kind of unite everybody, good things are going to happen."

In 2014, Prado combined to bat .282 with 12 home runs and 58 RBIs with the D-backs and Yankees. But his season ended in the middle of September when he had an appendectomy.

Now healthy, Prado will get his 10th big league season going on Tuesday when Miami begins full-squad workouts.

Prado's attitude fits the organization's profile of putting the team first. He says he has no preference as to where he bats in the lineup, because he doesn't want to put his desires ahead of the club.

He could bat as high as second or as low as fifth or sixth.

Prado is quick to remind that Stanton is the face of the franchise.

"I'm just hoping we can build a team around him," the veteran infielder said. "All the guys around him can help him, and take some pressure away from him."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.