Like every other team in Major League Baseball, the Cleveland Indians employ numerous players throughout their organization, from the big-league club in Cleveland to their rookie league team in Arizona and beyond. And like every other Major League franchise, the Indians add and subtract from this player pool on a regular basis. This irregular series will serve to post notice when a former Indians player has done something noteworthy with a quick look back at the player’s time in Cleveland.
Player: 3B/1B/RP Andy Marte
Reno Aces, AAA affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks
Year(s) in Indians Organization: 2006-2010 (granted free agency Nov. 6, 2010)
Why He Still Isn’t in Cleveland:
Lack of consistent playing time and Performance. Eric Wedge and Manny Acta. Because sometimes, things just don’t work out. Andy Marte was the big return for the Indians in a seven-player trade with the Boston Red Sox, a top-prospect third baseman Cleveland hoped would plug the hole at the hot corner. The trade sent fan-favourite OF Coco Crisp to Boston as the main piece leaving Cleveland, and Marte was almost immediately buried by the expectations. Marte was called up for the second half of 2006, and was actually the Indians’ Opening Day third baseman in 2007, before being injured in late April and losing his job to Casey Blake. Marte never lived up to the lofty expectations placed on him, though it’s worth pointing out that after the second half of 2008 he never received anything close to regular playing time in Cleveland (and somehow appeared in 81 games in 2010, but had fewer than 200 ABs with 170). In his time with Cleveland, Marte posted -1.0 fWAR and was allowed to walk after 2010. But hey, he struck out Nick Swisher.
What He Did: Marte signed a minor-league deal with Arizona in December, and has been playing third base with the Aces. The PCL is a hitter-friendly league, and Marte is now 30, so take these numbers with however much salt is needed, but Marte has been raking. .330/.384/.513 slash in 376 at bats, with 13 home runs, 2 doubles
, and an award-winning smile.
What Does the Future Hold: Just before the trade deadline, the Diamondbacks traded incumbent 3B Martin Prado, and have selected Marte’s contract, meaning Andy will see his first service time in the Major Leagues since 2010.
While it’s nice to see Marte get a shot at redemption, it’s hard to feel any optimism about Marte finally becoming the stud the Indians thought they had. That said, there’s certainly an opportunity for Marte to prove he does belong in the MLB while he’s with the DBacks, and while he might not ever be a big-league regular, it’s certainly conceivable to imagine Andy Marte carving out a role as a MLB utility player.
A Personal Note: Andy Marte does hold a special place for both me, and in a way, Wahoo’s on First. The very first public words I wrote on the interwebs were a defense of Marte’s time with the Indians, and it was both my writing sample to Fansided (The site was called Deep Left Field back then). Admittedly, it started as a joke, but pretty quickly I grew fond of Marte, to the point where I was genuinely sad to see how his time in Cleveland ended, and just as excited when my brother met Marte at a bar in Indianapolis and landed me his autograph, which is still proudly on my fridge.
I’m happy Marte gets a second chance, even if it ultimately proves me wrong about his playing ability. He’s worked hard to get back – minor-league life isn’t exactly glamorous – so I’m happy he will get the chance. It isn’t always the end result, it’s sometimes how hard you fought, just to get the chance to succeed again. If you read this, best of luck, Andy. Nobody can say you didn’t earn this one.
Notice a player you remember being in the Indians organization? We’re ever-vigilant, but sometimes we miss guys, too! Send us an email at [email protected] and let us know which former Indians farmhand or player is making noise elsewhere.