Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Marte's decline

How about the career curve of Andy Marte? In the space of just a few years he has gone from can't miss blue chip minor league prospect to a waivers-clearing unwanted spare part, who is in danger of playing his way out of the major leagues for good. And the transition from phenom to flop was instantaneous. It wasn't like Marte hit the big leagues as a phenom, had several quality years, then slipped into journeyman status.

Nope. Marte, seemingly, was a phenom one day, a bust the next. Tuesday night Marte had another forgettable game while subbing for Matt LaPorta at first base. In addition to striking out twice, Marte had an inexcusable mental blunder at first base. He watched second baseman Jayson Nix field a grounder behind second base then throw to first for what should have been an out. But it wasn't an out. There was just one minor problem.

The Indians' first baseman wasn't standing on first base. The Indians' first baseman was Marte.

He was about three feet off the base, watching Nix make the play. Nix's throw to first seemed to take Marte by surprise. As he caught the ball about three feet from the first base bag, Marte tried to shove his foot back onto the bag. Too late. The runner was safe because the Indians' first baseman wasn't on first base.

And this is the first baseman who comes into games late as a defensive replacement for LaPorta. That play pretty much sums up Marte's career. And because his career has dissolved into him hanging on as a utility infielder, Marte cannot afford to be making mental mistakes like the one he made Tuesday night.


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