Posted on April 17, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine

Miami Marlins Martin Prado

Image via foxsports.com

On the heels of a three-game win streak, the Miami Marlins will get a physical boost and an emotional lift as they embark on a nine-game road trip with the return of third baseman Martin Prado. The Marlins activated Prado from the 10-day DL on Monday before starting a series with the Seattle Mariners. To make room for Prado on the roster, the Marlins have designated Tyler Moore for assignment.

Prado injured his hamstring while playing for Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, forcing him to begin the regular season on the DL. Prado signed a three-year extension with the Marlins over the winter, solidifying his spot as the team’s every-day third baseman following two productive years in Miami. Losing him for the first two weeks of the season deprived the Marlins of one of their most consistent players, as well as a leader in the clubhouse. Despite winning three straight against the Mets before heading west, the Marlins felt the absence of Prado early in the year.

Derek Dietrich was tasked with filling in for Prado at third base during the early part of the season. However, Dietrich hit just .188. The Marlins are hoping to get an uptick in production with Prado taking over as the every-day third baseman. Despite a lack of power, Prado hit .305 with a .775 OPS in 2016, and they would gladly take similar production this season. Prado spent most last season hitting in the no. 2 spot, and the Marlins could certainly use his presence there this season, despite J.T. Realmuto getting off to a hot start in that spot this year.

The fact that the Marlins designated Moore for assignment instead of demoting a pitcher to make room for Prado. Moore was 4 for 11 on the season, but the Marlins preferred to retain eight relievers in their bullpen. Miami, knowing that its bullpen is one of the team’s biggest strengths this season, has not shied away from putting its bullpen under stress early in the year. The decision to stick with eight relievers with Prado’s return means the Marlins will likely continue to maintain that number for the long haul.

With more being designated for assignment, not only do the Marlins risk losing him from their organization, but now they don’t have an obvious backup for first baseman Justin Bour. Bour is inexperienced facing lefties and has gotten off to a slow start, and so it’s a little surprising to see the Marlins risk losing Moore without a true first baseman on the roster to backup Bour or serve as a platoon partner for him. Dietrich will likely be the backup at first base, although he’s not a true first baseman and like Bour, bats left-handed.

Despite continuing to play with a short bench, the Marlins will be pleased to have Prado back in the fold as they head out on a road trip. At the moment, the Marlins are tied for first place in the NL East, although there are three teams separated by half a game, and so if the Marlins want to remain competitive, they’ll need all the help they can get, and that includes getting Prado back from the DL.

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