02/23/09 5:40 PM EST
Marte's future left up to waiver wire
Indians prospect exposed to other clubs until Wednesday
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
But Marte's name is out there on the waiver wire, ready to be claimed by any club that wants to take a chance on the guy once considered the Indians' future at third base.He's desperately hoping there's a taker. "I want to be with the Indians," Marte said, "but I've got to think about what's best for me in my career." When the Indians acquired reliever Juan Salas from the Rays last week, they designated Marte for assignment to make room for Salas on the 40-man roster. The Indians weren't able to find an immediate trading partner for Marte, and they placed him on waivers on Monday morning. Teams have until Wednesday to claim him. This waiver process was exactly what the Indians were trying to avoid with Marte when they let him hang around on their active roster throughout the 2008 season. Their worry was that exposing him would lead to another club claiming him and him finally reaching his big league potential elsewhere. But all Marte did in '08 was sit on the bench for much of the first half, then turn in a rather unremarkable second half. For the season, he hit .221 with three homers, 17 RBIs and a .583 OPS in 80 games. "They gave me a lot of opportunities and treated me like a Major Leaguer," Marte said. Though his defense was on par with what the Indians wanted, Marte never hit like a Major Leaguer, and that was a tremendous disappointment to an organization that targeted him in the 2006 trade that sent Coco Crisp to the Red Sox. The trade itself was a controversial one, because the Indians, coming off a 93-win season in '05, traded their starting left fielder, catcher Josh Bard and reliever David Riske for a package highlighted by an unproven prospect at the hot corner. The Indians also received catcher Kelly Shoppach, reliever Guillermo Mota and Minor League pitcher Randy Newsom. No one would have guessed that the two principles of the deal -- Marte and Crisp -- would both be busts for their new clubs. Surprisingly, Shoppach, who filled in admirably for an injured Victor Martinez last year, has been the most valuable player involved in the deal. All eyes were on Marte from the moment he first arrived at the Indians' spring camp in Winter Haven, Fla., in '06. He possessed a highly touted power bat that, the Indians felt, could eventually find a home in the middle of their order. But Marte never got his bat going at either the Triple-A or Major League levels with the Tribe. "I came here trying to play one game at a time," he said. "The result wasn't what I expected. But I'm still young, and I still have a lot of work to do." The 25-year-old Marte was asked if he wished the Indians would have designated him a year ago, before he spent significant time on the bench and saw his stock take a dip with the '08 season. "I don't know," he said. "They let me stay in the big leagues all season, and I had 235 at-bats. That's not bad. But I'm a year older now." With his fate up in the air, Marte must play the waiting game this week. "I'll see if someone picks me up," he said. "If not, I'll come back here and work harder this spring to prove I can play in the Major Leagues."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.