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Marte article from official site

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Marte article from official site

Unread postby Lebowski » Tue Feb 21, 2006 9:25 pm

Marte finally able to settle in with Tribe
Top prospect gets on the field after long offseason
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- When the Atlanta Braves restructured and extended Chipper Jones' contract in December, Andy Marte knew he was in for an interesting offseason.

Jones was set to be the Braves' third baseman through 2008, so it no longer mattered that Marte, also a third baseman, was considered to be the organization's top prospect.

He was now the club's top piece of trade bait.

"I was ready for the trade," Marte said Tuesday. "At first I heard I was going to be traded to Tampa Bay. Then I found out it was Boston. And then ..."

Marte let the sentence trail off and just laughed, because we all know what happened next.

Before he ever slipped on a Red Sox uniform, Marte was dealt once again to the Indians in the Coco Crisp trade last month, giving him the rare distinction of being the top prospect in three different organizations in one offseason.

Finally, the wheeling and dealing is done, and Marte can get back to focusing on the field.

He reported to camp at Chain of Lakes Park on Tuesday morning looking much more muscular than his listed size of 6-foot-1, 190 pounds would allow. But while Marte's weight might be underhyped, the Indians are banking on his play not being overhyped.

For now, though, they don't need him to set their Winter Haven world ablaze.

"It's not a situation where we have to see everything right away," general manager Mark Shapiro said. "We just want to get him acclimated to this environment."

With Aaron Boone locked in at third for the time being, the Indians can take their time with the 22-year-old Marte, who will begin the season at Triple-A Buffalo.

Marte believes he's big league ready right now, though he admitted he has a couple of areas of his game to work on. His biggest improvements need to come at the plate. Marte has hit 20 or more home runs in three of his last four Minor League seasons, but with that power has come a tendency to chase breaking balls out of the zone and to pull the ball too often.

"I have to try to hit the ball to the opposite field," he said. "I have to get better at that."

He'll have plenty of opportunities to get better, as manager Eric Wedge plans to get Marte his fair share of at-bats in Grapefruit League play.

"We want to try to do that more with our younger players," Wedge said. "At the plate, obviously [Marte] has power and gets on base. But every now and then, he'll get a little pull happy. That's very typical of young players with power. They want to get after it. There's a time for that, but we want him to utilize his power to both fields."

But first, Marte must get over any stigma associated with being traded twice in the same offseason. And then there's the rather dicey issue of being the key player acquired in the trade of the popular Crisp.

Obviously, the young Marte has a lot of expectations to live up to. Not that he minds it much.

"I just have to keep doing the same thing I've been doing," he said. "[The Indians] know what I can do. They know what kind of player I am."

The fans don't necessarily know, of course, and Wedge said a time will probably come soon when he'll have to sit the player down and explain to him the scrutiny he'll most likely be under.

"I think at some point in time there will be a more informal conversation that I'm sure Andy and I will have about that," Wedge said. "First and foremost, I want to get more of a feel for him and his personality and how he handles himself on a day-to-day basis. The last thing I want to do is be overly aggressive with him. I want to get him settled here and let him know this is his family here, and we're excited to have him."

It wasn't long ago that Marte wasn't very excited to be playing ball in the States.

Sure, he always dreamed of playing big league ball. In fact, he was most inspired by the power-hitting of former Tribe outfielder Richie Sexson. But during his first season of rookie ball in Danville, Va., during which he hit one measly home run while missing the comforts of home, Marte considered giving up that dream.

"I didn't want to play anymore," Marte recalled. "I called my dad [Juan] and told him. He said, 'You're crazy.'"

Marte's dad was right. Because now the young prospect, who saw 24 games of action with the Braves last September, is knocking on the door of everyday life in the big leagues with an organization that has tried to land him the last couple of years.

"The Braves told me [the Indians] tried to get me," Marte said. "They finally did it."

Now that his whirlwind offseason is behind him, Marte has a chance to show the Indians just what they've got.
- Lebowski
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Unread postby Lebowski » Tue Feb 21, 2006 9:26 pm

Any idea of when the Tribe tried to get him from ATL? And for whom?
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Unread postby consigliere » Tue Feb 21, 2006 11:25 pm

Shapiro has supposedly had a hard on for Marte for almost two years. I don't recall the rumors, but I do remember at some point early last year I paid attention to Marte more because of some rumored interest by the Tribe.

No idea what the Indians may have ever offered Atlanta for him....but the deal probably would have been filled with more talent than we sent to Boston....
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