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Braves' Andy Marte Available?

Are you familiar with Atlanta Braves' third baseman Andy Marte?  Before the 2005 season, Baseball Prospectus rated him the #1 prospect in the game

At age 21, Marte had an excellent 2/3 of a season for Triple A in '05.  Marte posted a .372 OBP and .506 SLG for the Richmond Braves.  After Chipper Jones went down with an injury, Marte got a brief call-up to the Show on June 7th.  He didn't play regularly, and made several trips back and forth to the minors after that. 

There had been whispers of Marte's availability through trade, but it didn't seem logical to me.  Deal away a 21 year-old top prospect simply because of Chipper Jones?  If there's one thing Jones does not do particularly well, it's play third base.  I know he's the well-respected veteran, but a move back to left field to clear the way for Marte seemed like a no-brainer.

On Friday, Will Carroll casually mentioned that Marte could be had for Julio Lugo:

"The Braves are said to be offering BP's 2005 #1 prospect Andy Marte in return, which would be a nice deal both ways, considering that Marte has fallen as far as fourth on the organization's depth chart at third base."

Now, I knew Marte was unpopular, but fourth on the depth chart?  How did Pete Orr supplant Marte?  But Carroll proved correct.  Check out this excerpt about Marte from John Schuerholz's interview Friday with Talking Chop:

Joe Hamrahi: Is there any possibility that Marte goes to camp at a different position or tries to learn a new position?

John Schuerholz: I don't think so. I don't think so. He's too young...he's a primary dominant third base candidate for a major league team in the very near future, whether it be for our team or someone else's team. I mean this guy's total package, offensively and defensively, his power potential, and excellent defensive skills make him a legitimate major league third baseman. Right now, though, there's a guy named Chipper Jones ahead of him.

Italics added by me for emphasis.  That's not something you say about the future of your franchise.  I think it's pretty clear at this point that Marte is trade bait simply because he's blocked by Chipper Jones.  Now, the Braves have a history of trading away top-billed prospects and having them not pan out.  But Marte looks like a can't-miss future Eric Chavez (and then some). 

With that in mind, which teams have a need at third base and could give the Braves the players they need?

Dodgers - L.A. has a stacked farm system, but the Braves are probably looking for a shortstop and/or a closer.  While Cesar Izturis could be part of a future package, a deal probably won't happen now for Marte.

Brewers - The Brew Crew could definitely give Marte an everyday opportunity at the hot corner.  Problem is, the Braves don't have a strong need for Lyle Overbay.

Twins - I'd love to see Terry Ryan get creative and make a deal for Marte.  He's got starting pitching and bullpen depth to deal from.

Devil Rays - Ultimately, they're still in the best shape to acquire Marte.  It's sounding more and more like Baez and Lugo for Marte would appease both clubs. 

 

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Comments

I definitely agree with both the Twins and Devil Rays (great farm systems but huge holes at third), but I don't quite understand the Dodgers making the cut. Seems like they are very high on Andy LaRoche after the year he had and technically Blake DeWitt is still at 3B - although it seems like he'll be moved to 2B in the future. The Brewers are interested, but they seem determined to go with Corey Hart at 3B in the future. I'm not sure I buy that and I think Marte would be an excellent option.

Good stuff as always, keep it up.

That's a good point about the Dodgers. They're probably only looking for a stopgap. Agreed that Hary is a shaky prospect at third.

I think you do dangle Marte out there to see what you could get in return. Although if he's traded before his becomes a full time trade it could come back to haunt the Braves (i.e. Jason Schmidt) traded before his prime.

The rumored trade is Andy Marte and pitcher Anthony Lerew for Dannys Baez and Julio Lugo.

Thanks. Lerew looks like a good who could fill in the back end of a rotation if he gets his walks down a bit.

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/L/anthony-lerew.shtml

Marte isn't going anywhere for Lugo and Baez. Both are rent-a-players and not worth the Braves' top prospect even if they weren't. Here is a link to an actual rumor involving the Braves in three-way deal for Lugo

http://www.nj.com/mets/ledger/index.ssf?/base/sports-0/1133849263159860.xml&coll=1

"The Braves, Diamondbacks and Devil Rays were discussing a three-way trade that would send catcher Johnny Estrada from Atlanta to Arizona, second baseman Julio Lugo from Tampa Bay to Atlanta and young pitching from Arizona to Tampa Bay. The Braves deem Estrada expendable because of the emergence of young catcher Brian McCann, and they need Lugo to help them replace shortstop Rafael Furcal, who left for the Dodgers via free agency."

If the Braves are dangling Marte to the Rays one would have to imagine its a deal including a top ten prospect or two: Young, Gathright, Gomes, Upton or even Orvella.

Braves including Davies (Sosa?) and Marte in blockbuster deal could leave both clubs winners after the Winter Meetings.

Marte is very much available; the ones surrounding him so far have also been "actual rumors."

Carroll may very well have have taken part in the Marte rumors as many of us have. However, trading the number one third base prospect in the game for for two free agents following '06 isn't good rumor fodder and, until I see a deal spelled out in full, I can't buy Schuerholz making that deal... there has to be more to the deal than just Baez and Lugo.

Tampa Bay looks to be a great fit as a trading partner with Gathright, Crawford, Gomes and Lugo all being perfect fits for lead-off in Atlanta. If everyone was talking Orvella, Lugo, and an OF'er I could see a marte package.

Adam Waiwright is due up in Saint Louis after Reyes one would think. Once he gets a starting spot, I expect him to work out near the same as Schmidt and I would hate to have another future superstar (Marte) join my "trade-watch list". Capellan for Kolb still gives me nightmares and will for years. Did anyone look at Kolb's second half in '04 before we took him on? At least Lugo is coming off a career-type year amking a fall-off unlikely.

Marte to the Brewers for Jenkins could make a lot of sense. The Brewers have some outfield depth. They could also include Bill Hall who could act as a decent fill-in while the Braves wait for their short prospects to develop. I think Betemit would do fine but apparently the Braves disagree.

Jon, that deal does sound reasonable for both sides. I had heard some crazy Jenkins rumors last week, but couldn't confirm them. But anyway, the speculation here is logical and the value is close if Hall is included.

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