Prado, Marlins complete 3-year extension

Third baseman, team leader had solid season in 2016

Prado, Marlins complete 3-year extension

MIAMI -- A few days into the offseason, the Marlins addressed one of their top priorities.

At a morning news conference on Wednesday, the club announced that third baseman Martin Prado has signed a three-year contract extension. Per team policy, the Marlins don't announce financial terms, but has confirmed that the package is for $40 million.

Prado had been a pending free agent, but for months the Marlins had expressed to the veteran infielder they that wanted him to stay.

Miami has a commitment to retain most of its core players. Prado is now signed long term, as are Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Christian Yelich. Catcher J.T. Realmuto, who has yet to reach arbitration eligibility, is regarded as a untouchable player in any potential trade possibilities.

"We're extremely excited that Martin is going to be back," manager Don Mattingly said. "It puts another solid foundation block with the foundation that we already have. With Christian, with Giancarlo, with Realmuto, Dee Gordon. I can keep naming names with that foundation, that core group of players."

The announcement of Prado's deal was made on a busy morning, on which the Marlins also picked up the 2017 club option for Ichiro Suzuki.

Samson on bringing back Ichiro

Along with being a team leader, Prado enjoyed a productive season, posting a slash line of .305/.359/.417 with eight home runs and 75 RBIs.

Respected league-wide for his professionalism, Prado has been a team leader since he was acquired from the Yankees in December 2014.

The Venezuela native made $11 million this season, with the Yankees picking up $3 million.

Retaining Prado also serves as a sign that the Marlins intend to retain their core.

"These guys are ready to win," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "We brought the right man in to lead these men. Now it's just a matter of getting over the hump. They played meaningful games late into the season. I still firmly believe they are ready to bring a championship to South Florida."

As an organization, the Marlins are grieving Jose Fernandez, who was killed in a boating accident on Sept. 25. Prado's presence will be counted on as the franchise aims to move forward at a difficult time.

"Martin showed this year, his leadership, as far as being the glue in that clubhouse," Mattingly said. "With everything that happened at the end of the season, we obviously saw Martin's leadership. I think it's a huge step for us, as we continue moving forward, to be able to re-sign Martin."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.