Good article by Shaw.....sort of puts to rest the "guy was traded two times so something must be wrong with him" talk. The Braves obviously were still high on him.
Also, Cox gives some quick props to Michaels.
http://www.cleveland.com/tribe/plaindea ... thispage=2
INDIANS SPRING TRAINING
Prospect Marte has golden opportunity
Monday, March 06, 2006
Plain Dealer Columnist
Winter Haven, Fla.- Bobby Cox saw Andy Marte early, even if he missed some of what came next.
The Braves longtime manager was there the day Marte tried out with Atlanta as a teenager. Cox did more than watch. He doubled as a first baseman while Marte took ground balls.
"They told me to throw it hard to first," Marte remembered Sunday before the Braves and Indians met in a spring-training game. "When I did a few times, he would just let it go past."
"I don't know," the 64-year-old Cox shrugged. "I must've been out of my mind."
Before the Indians traded for Marte in the Coco Crisp deal in January, they relied on Atlanta for insight into the young Dominican prospect. The Braves, who had signed Marte for $600,000 in 2000, were free to share and their information was fresh.
Less than two months earlier, Atlanta sent Marte to Boston for Edgar Renteria, filling a gaping hole created when shortstop Rafael Furcal signed with the Dodgers. The Braves considered Marte expendable because All-Star third baseman Chipper Jones restructured his contract and signed an extension.
"We had Chipper and everybody in baseball wanted Marte," Cox said. "You hate to have to lose a 20-year-old with stardom written all over him. He's close. If Chipper wasn't here, he'd be starting for us this season."
Marte had three brief stays with the Braves last year. In one game, he tripled off Dontrelle Willis for the only extra-base hit Atlanta managed in a complete-game shutout by the Florida left-hander.
Cox reluctantly sent Marte back to Class AAA Richmond, Va., a few days later because Atlanta needed an extra arm in the bullpen. Marte's big-league numbers - .140 with no home runs and four RBI in 57 at-bats - aren't what Cox remembers.
"He just missed a bunch of home runs," he said. "He'll have it all figured out in another year."
Marte's availability felt like an alignment of the planets for the Indians. Third base was a position of dire need in the farm system. Marte rated highly from every angle - the subjective opinion of scouts, the objective analysis such as his age-related performance, and his makeup. The Indians relied heavily on Atlanta in that last category.
The only downside had nothing to do with him. It was giving up Crisp. The attempted remedy is Jason Michaels, who came from Philadelphia for Arthur Rhodes.
"They gave up a good one there," Cox said. "But the guy they have in left field now . . . I'm glad he's in the American League. When we played Philadelphia, every time I looked up he was on base."
Replacing Crisp's production while grooming Marte is the best-case scenario for Shapiro's off-season of work. Marte struck out in one at-bat against Atlanta on Sunday. He has just one hit in seven at-bats this spring.
"The biggest thing for him is to get comfortable here," Shapiro said. "We have to convince him he doesn't have to prove anything to us. But that's probably going to take a while."
Marte says he spent the winter working on hitting the ball the other way. Indians manager Eric Wedge says Marte - like a lot of young hitters - can get "pull happy."
Marte has proven power, albeit at the minor-league level. He believes he learned enough in his cameos with Atlanta last year to prepare him for hitting in the majors. Defensively, he's already ready for prime time.
"I feel like I'm ready," he said Sunday. "I think I know how they are going to pitch me now. They showed me a lot inside and then pitched me away when I was up last year. I didn't see that in the minors. It's why it's called the big leagues."