|The truth behind the Andy Marte Era||03.04.09 at 4:18 pm ET|
In case you haven’t been up on the news, Andy Marte is still with the Cleveland Indians … barely.
Marte, of course, was the guy the Red Sox traded Edgar Renteria for, and then subsequently shipped to Cleveland as one of the centerpieces in the deal involving Coco Crisp. Well, last week he was placed on waivers by the Indians, allowing any team to pluck him for the mere cost of a spot on the 40-man roster. No team — not one — deemed the 25-year-old worthy of such a move, sending him back to Cleveland, which placed him on the roster of their Triple A team in Columbus.
If you remember correctly, when then Red Sox decision-maker Bill Lajoie (Theo Epstein was on his hiatus much of the offseason leading into 2006) stepped to the podium at the winter meetings in Dallas the praise for the Sox’ acquisition from the Braves overflowed. These were two quotes from Lajoie at the time:
“This is a throwback type of third baseman. This is the power corner that you hope will hit 25 homers when he does play in the majors.”
“We want to keep that player. … He’s ready to have a good year. He would be one of the five players you would want to start a ballclub with.”
But those comments, as Lajoie pointed out while visiting City of Palms Park last week as a senior advisor for the Pittsburgh Pirates, were all part of the art of the deal … a deal.
“We got him to trade him,” Lajoie said. “We knew Tampa or Cleveland wanted him. So Crisp was the guy we wanted and they wanted Marte. That deal had started well before we got Marte because they indicated they wanted him and that was the guy they were looking for. You get him and you say, ‘Well, he might play left field and we’ll get him some at-bats,’ but truthfully we were going to trade him.”
The flaws in Marte’s game — which had been respected enough to put him among the top 10 prospects in all of baseball in many corners — included his unwillingness to go the other way and close an increasing number of holes in his swing.
Marte has played 150 major league games with Cleveland over the past three years, participating in a career-high 80 games last season. During those stints the third baseman has never hit over .226, striking out 112 times and walking just 36.
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