Offseason acquisitions give Marlins infield continuity
Newcomers Prado, Gordon, Morse to join mainstay Hechavarria around diamond
MIAMI -- The Marlins' infield has undergone a makeover this offseason, adding new faces at first, second and third base. That means one of infield coach Perry Hill's first priorities in Spring Training will be getting everyone on the same page.
The bonding process will begin on the back fields at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla., when full-squad workouts get underway on Feb. 24.
Since 2013, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria has been the constant, appearing in 294 of the club's 324 games. Now, the rest of the infield appears to have continuity.
The front office has added second baseman Dee Gordon, third baseman Martin Prado and first baseman Michael Morse. Gordon is under club control for four more seasons, while Prado and Morse are each signed through 2016. So the group could stay together for at least two years.
"There is some adjustment time," Hill said. "But six weeks is a long time, and they're all good players or they wouldn't be here. I would imagine halfway through that they're going to be comfortable, and it's not going to be a problem at all."
Hechavarria now has a long-term double-play partner in Gordon.
A year ago, free agent Rafael Furcal was signed to play second and provide a veteran presence. But the projection never panned out. Furcal suffered a hamstring injury in Spring Training, which sidetracked his entire year. He appeared in just nine games, eight at second.
Seven players saw time at second base. Derek Dietrich, the Opening Day starter, played 41 games at the position. But down the stretch, Donovan Solano became the regular, and he logged a team-high 73 games there.
Casey McGehee and Garrett Jones were the mainstays at third and first, respectively.
In 2013, Solano was the Opening Day second baseman, appearing in 93 games. Dietrich played in 57. Miami was unsettled at third base in '13, with Placido Polanco seeing the most action, 109 games.
Injuries played a key role at first base that season, as eight players handled the position. Logan Morrison (79 games) and Greg Dobbs (51) saw the most action.
An All-Star with the Dodgers last year, Gordon played 144 games at the keystone.
Prado opened 2014 with the D-backs before being traded to the Yankees. He played in 143 games in a number of spots. Morse was in 131 games with the Giants, seeing time at first and left field.
In Jupiter, the Marlins' regulars will stick together.
"They will be on the field the whole time together," Hill said. "They will work with other guys, too, but they will always be on the same field."