Making a Case for Marte

I’m going to alienate a lot of people when I say this, but I don’t care. The truth needs to come out.

It’s too early for the Indians to give up on Andy Marte.

Yes, the guy has been around the Indians in some capacity since 2006 (and he appeared in 24 games for the Braves in 2005). Yes, his performance in a Tribe uni has been, at best, underwhelming. And yes, he’s become a poster child for the trade misfires that Indians general manager Mark Shapiro has had.

I know the evidence is there, and it’s at times damning. .216 batting average. An even uglier .272 OBP in 2009. Offensively, the numbers haven’t been pretty.

But there’s one number you need to look at. And you need to look at it with a realistic and almost sympathetic perspective.

That number is 668. As in, 668 at bats. Total, for Andy Manuel Marte’s career.

Let’s say a full regular season for a hitter is 550 at bats. This means Andy has had about a season and 100 extra at bats in his career.

So really, we’re judging this kid off a season and 100 AB’s worth of work?

Yes, I know that this body of work has been broken up over about five seasons. But herein lies the problem with that .Other than the end of the 2009 season, when the players had basically quit on former manager Eric Wedge and were essentially playing extended spring training games in August and September, Marte has never received consistent playing time.

Yes, he was underwhelming in his brief stint as the starting third baseman during the 2007 season (20 games, 57 at bats… that’s brief). And sure, he got over 200 at bats in 2008, but that was mostly due to the fact that he was out of options and thus stashed away at the lonely end of Wedge’s bench. Even in late 2008 when the team had nothing to lose (and had traded away Casey F-in Blake) Wedge STILL wouldn’t give Marte consistent playing time.

I’m not saying the kid should be starting every game, but considering he can play first, third, and probably the outfield and he’s not going to kill you with the glove, what’s the harm in giving Marte some regular at bats, especially if Matt LaPorta is not ready to go at the start of the season. He killed the ball at AAA last year, let’s give him a legitimate chance to do so in the majors. And for the first time in his career, Marte didn’t look completely lost at the plate in 2009.

I’m not saying he’s ever going to become the stud we thought he was going to be. But he could become a very useful ML player, if given a chance. Lots of players perform poorly in sporadic playing time. Not everyone is cut out to be a role player.

If you don’t believe me, I’ll just start reciting players. Brandon Phillips, Jeremy Gutherie, Ryan Ludwick, Michael Aubrey….

Don’t punch a wall Indians fans. Just open up your hearts and let Andy Marte in. Let’s just make sure he’s not going to join that list.

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