Prized prospect turns into a booby prize

Posted on February 19th, 2009 – 4:51 PM
By Joe Christensen

For some amusement, I just went to Nexis and read some of the glowing praise I heaped on Andy Marte after Cleveland acquired him in January 2006.

Four times — in February, March, May and July 2006 — I referred to Marte with the same adjectives, “prized third-base prospect.”

Sorry folks. Sometimes you shouldn’t believe what you read. Cleveland designated Marte for assignment today to make room for newly acquired reliever Juan Salas.

On its annual list of the game’s 100 top prospects, Baseball America had Marte ranked No. 9 in 2005. That next winter, Atlanta traded Marte to Boston for Edgar Renteria, and then the Red Sox shipped Marte in a six-player deal that brought them Coco Crisp.

I assumed Cleveland had locked up its third baseman of the future at a time when Twins had settled for Tony Batista. I knew the Twins weren’t all that high on Marte and hadn’t been, even back to his days as Atlanta’s top prospect. Time would tell, I figured.

Well, the Twins still have a revolving door at third base. Batista sure wasn’t the answer, just as Marte wasn’t the answer for Cleveland. (I think Indians fans were a tad more surprised.)

Now 25, Marte has batted .211/.265/.337 in parts of four big league seasons, racking up 112 strikeouts in 513 at-bats. Note to self: Let’s not ordain anyone as a “prized prospect” for a while.

Your turn: What are some of your favorite memories of can’t miss prospects who missed? Which major league prospects are you most excited to see in 2009 (i.e.: Baltimore C Matt Wieters, St. Louis OF Colby Rasmus, Tampa Bay LHP David Price)?

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