If I have to walk, I'm gonna get there just the same

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com
http://castrovince.mlblogs.com
http://www.twitter.com/castrovince

FUN FACT:

Missouri is the “Show-Me” State; Kansas is the “I’ve Seen It” State.

EXCRUCIATING MINUTIAE OF THE DAY… 

  • This is the first time all season that Travis Hafner has started four games in a row. And it’s a good time for it, considering he’s 9-for-his-last-22 with two homers and seven RBIs. Hafner said he made a mechanical adjustment to his swing in the last week. Wedge said Pronk’s swings last night were “as good as he’s looked all year.” But Hafner will, as you might have guessed, be on the bench Wednesday, as five straight days is probably asking too much of his shoulder.
  • Regarding the decision to rest Grady Sizemore today, despite his strong numbers (11-for-36 with two homers and 11 RBIs) against Zack Greinke, Wedge said he knew he had to give Sizemore either Monday or Tuesday off. The Indians, after all, are right in the middle of a stretch of 13 games in 13 days, and Sizemore’s elbow can’t tolerate that kind of workload. Wedge said he played Sizemore yesterday and started him today because of his starting pitcher, not the opponent’s. Justin Masterson is more of a groundball pitcher than Jeremy Sowers, obviously, so that’s why Wedge made the call.
  • Shin-Soo Choo has only started nine other big league games in center field. The last was July 7, 2006, while he was still with the Mariners. “I played center field my first two years in the Minor Leagues,” Choo said. “It’s not really [more difficult]. But I worry about going to the fence. Grady makes a lot of good plays at the fence, and I can’t do that.”
  • Arizona Fall League rosters were announced today, and outfielder Nick Weglarz, right-handers Connor Graham, Josh Judy and Zach Putnam, first baseman/outfielder Matt McBride and infielders Carlos Rivero and Josh Rodriguez will represent the Tribe on the Peoria Saguaros. The Peoria team will be managed by former Indians player David Bell, and Jim Rincon, the hitting coach at Class A Lake County, will be on Bell’s staff. For more information on the organizational rationale for sending these particular players, ready my story on Indians.com that should be up shortly.
  • John Mirabelli said Alex White may be added to the AFL roster eventually. If not, Mirabelli said White will pitch in a new Arizona league that will run parallel to the AFL and replace the defunct Hawaiian Winter League. That info is also in the aforementioned article.
  • I must say I’m surprised at all the fuss over Wedge’s comments about Andy Marte in yesterday’s post (scroll down to find them, if you haven’t already seen them). Fact is, Marte has a lot to prove to this organization after 2007 and ’08, and it’s going to take more than a five-game hitting streak to do so. Has anybody noticed that Marte has exactly two extra-base hits since he was called up a month ago? I’m not piling on here; I’m just stating the obvious that maybe the Indians want to see more from his at-bats if they’re going to count on him being a part of their future.
  • RHP Steven Wright is 10-0 with a 2.42 ERA in 32 games, including five starts, for Double-A Akron. He’s allowed just two earned runs over his last 25 1/3 innings pitched since July 12.

~AC

39 Comments

Yeah, but AC, our complaints weren’t about whether or not Marte has proven himself — it was about Wedge’s conduct in those statements to the press. Why not give the guy encouragement? I’m sure Shelton is telling Marte these things in private as they prepare for each game — what’s the point in airing it out like that?
All it does is make Wedge look like he doesn’t know how to deal with a guy it appeared like he wrote off a while back, who’s now trying to get back in the game. It makes him look petty.

Regarding Marte, I think most fans were annoyed that when they called him up, they once again chose to play him every other day at most. The guy was red hot at Columbus, playing someone every other day’s just a good way to throw any player off, and made no sense at all. Sure the Indians want to see more from his at bats, I’m sure Marte wants to see more from his at bats, but look at the contrast between the way Wedge treated Valbuena and Marte. The comments about Valbuena were all positive, even when there was no reason they should be and he was batting like .190. Shouldn’t you want to instill confidence in your young players, rather than talk crap on a hitting streak? Every ballplayer struggles to make solid contact at times, Victor Martinez batted .175 with 1 HR and 3 doubles in the entire month of July. That’s way worse than what Marte’s been doing for his 58 ABs. Why not say, “It’s good to see him making contact, getting on base and driving in some runs. I’m sure the power numbers will come.” That’s something that can boost the guy’s confidence, instead of putting unnecessary pressure on him. If I were Marte, I’d be like, “Wedge obviously thinks I suck, The only way I can show him and make this team is if I hit 10 HRs.” And then he’s going to be trying to hit home runs every time, and swinging the bat like Jhonny Peralta in April

I agree with lacf and savage. It just seems Wedge can be inconsistent in how he treats players, and I understand you can make the case Andy has been up before, and this is his last shot, and he needs to be playing at the top of his game, but can’t Wedge talk about him in an encouraging way, even if he wants to see more from him? Can’t someone be “making progress” and couldn’t Wedge “expect a lot from Andy” and perhaps he is “coming around”?

Did Wedge take anything from Brandon Phillips about giving up on young players and letting them know it?

Honestly, if a guy is so fragile that he needs the manager to say encouraging things about him to the media in order to succeed, then I don’t think he’s going to succeed at this level (not talking about Marte, specifically, but anybody, really).
I’d rather a manager give us what he believes to be insight about a player’s progress, rather than some bland remark about him “making progress.” Just my 2 cents.

I don’t think we are saying he needs to baby Marte, and I understand your points as well, but I also don’t think constantly talking about some negatively does anyone any good.

And the best point of all is by Savage I think. Why is it okay for Valbuena to be hitting under .200 yet Wedge see’s encouraging signs, but it is a different story with Marte. Part of what Wedge said about Valbuena was how he was taking good cuts and had a good approach, yet he was still getting out more than 8 of every 10 at bats. But with Marte “you’ve got to keep working to not miss mistakes.” What was Valbuena doing with those mistakes that was so impressive?

Well, and let’s not forget that Wedge, despite what he might prefer, is the public front of this team. He has press conferences about the team. We look to him for information.
So when we suddenly see promising youngsters actually starting to show some of that potential we’ve talked about, why shoot it down?
And even if that’s still too lovey dovey, New Agey, I’d also go with this: why does Wedge share things that no one particularly cares about, yet hides things that we DO care about? We’ve been kept in the dark about things like injuries and where guys are going to play and why (I am, to this day, still waiting for some explanation — a real one — as to why Mark DeRosa never played 2nd — from Wedge himself, I mean). Yet he feels the need to unburden himself about Marte?
I said it before and I’ll say it again: it sounds petty and unnecessarily cynical, particularly for a team and a fan base that would like a little positivity more than once every five to six years.

Fair enough. The truth is, I expect to see LaPorta at first base next year anyways. I think one reason we are frustrated with Wedge is when he was brought up he wasn’t right away thrown out there everyday. Perhaps he is a AAAA player. It is my understanding that he was going to be a “minor-league free agent” at the end of the year anyways, so I guess what does that mean, and what do you expect to happen?

Now that is on the 40-man again, he will be exposed to waivers again probably at the end of the year, right? If he clears it, does he then have the option to be a free agent, and any team can sign him, and they don’t have to add him to the 40, or at least put him on the big league club? I have to imagine some team would be more than happy to at least give him a shot, especially if they have no one at first or third. He was such a highly rated prospect, that maybe all he needs is a change of scenery. Or maybe he just needs to stick to playing AAA ball the rest of his career.

What was he doing for the last week, then? Hitting unhittable pitches? If that’s the case, keep him on the team!

And why did the comments just go out of order?!?

Thanks for addressing the Sizemore decision, AC. That does make more sense, although I’m still leaning towards offense being more necessary against Greinke than defense is behind Sowers.
But here’s my other questionable line-up choice for the night: Greinke is 2nd in the AL in SO’s…and I’m pretty sure you can all see where I’m going with this.
Why play Shoppach today? I realize Toregas has only been up for a little while and hasn’t gotten THAT much time, but he’s also only struckout twice in 26 ABs.
Or are we trying to make sure Shoppach sets some kind of SO/HBP combo record?

You can’t compare Marte and Valbuena. Two totally different situations. Valbuena was getting his first real exposure to the big leagues. This is potentially Marte’s last real shot, as every team in the bigs passed on him on the waiver wire in March. He’s been up here for long periods before, and now is the time to produce.

And maybe Wedge talked about seeing encouraging signs with Valbuena because he really did see encouraging signs. Maybe he said Marte needs to hit hittable pitches, because he sees him missing hittable pitches. Sometimes it really is that simple.

Because, christoper, the MLB sites are really awful these days. It sometimes takes multiple tries just to post a comment — or perhaps AC is trying to tell us something.

And just as I type that, Marte hits a hittable pitch.

Not sure what happened with the order of the comments, but regarding Marte’s contractual situation, he’s basically in the same spot this year as he was last year at this time. If the Indians decide to remove him from their 40-man at any point, he’ll be exposed to waivers.

And I don’t pretend to know all of Wedge’s motives with regard to what he says to the media. I just know that in this specific instance, after all the Indians have been through with Marte over the last few years, it does little good to coddle him. The guy has a very limited window to prove himself here, and a handful of singles isn’t going to do the trick. Now, last night’s double and tonight’s HR (particularly with Greinke dealing) are much more encouraging signs.

Now excuse me while I return to my regularly scheduled workload. I appreciate this and all the debates that erupt here on a daily basis.

Honestly, I just really want to see Marte succeed, so that they trade Peralta, so I don’t have to see Peralta batting cleanup next April and either grounding into a double play or striking out every time he’s up to bat with guys on base. So I am biased pro-Marte, and hopeful that his one successful minor league season can translate to a successful major league season … No one’s looking for Wedge to say encouraging things to the media, but he certainly doesn’t need to respond negatively. As for Marte’s progress, how you judge anyone’s progress after 58 at bats? Play him every day from now until the end of the year and don’t say anything to the media pro or con, I’m 100% fine with that … And not only Valbuena, what about the praise for Gimenez we’ve been subjected to, when the guy’s done nothing remotely impressive since spring training? I feel bad for picking on Gimenez all the time, but to me it’s very obvious that Wedge plays favorites, to the detriment of the team, and he’s the most recent, glaring example. Gimenez doesn’t have the potential of Marte or Jordan Brown, he was hitting 100 points lower than both of them in Columbus, but Gimenez was on the team way before those guys (and then stealing ABs from Marte when he was first called up), for no other reason that I can tell other than that Wedge apparently liked him in spring training.

I guess AC is gone, but I have more to my question if anyone knows the answer. I had heard Marte was going to be a “minor-league free agent”. What does that mean? If Marte clears waivers, is he optioned to Columbus, or can he elect to be a free-agent? And, if a team claims or signs him, does he have to stay in the MLB with them, or get exposed to waivers again?

Yeah, it’s like savagetruth said: I don’t want Wedge to coddle Marte. I don’t want Wedge to call him out. I want Wedge to nothing him. In fact, at this point I’d be pretty okay if Wedge nothing’d everyone.
ST, I’d love to find out who’s call it was on Gimenez. I wonder how much of a hand the GM has in call-ups.

Dear Tony Sipp,

Please don’t break my heart next year the way Rafael Perez did this year. Thanks.

I believe if he’s not on the 40 man he would indeed be a free agent, and could sign with any team, wouldn’t necessarily mean he’d be on an MLB team (I’d imagine he’d look for a team where he had a good shot to play). Same way they lost J.D. Martin for example, he signed as a free agent with the Nationals this past year, and was with their AAA team … Most likely Marte will sign with the Orioles and hit 30 HRs next year, since Baltimore’s where Indians top prospects who don’t pan out usually go. Aubrey’s hitting .455 with them in a few at bats this year

Facing one of the top pitchers in the league, and all of our hits today (and our two RBI) have come from Cabrera, Valbuena, LaPorta, and Marte.
That’s got to be SOMETHING positive we can take away from today.

andy marte has a lot to prove? the way i see it, it’s eric wedge that has a lot more to prove. here’s hoping he doesn’t get the chance.
why is wedge putting any more pressure on marte than he’s probably already feeling by making these comments. leave him alone and let him play.
wedge pulled this same bs on brandon phillips. i think marte could be a solid player at 1st or 3rd base next year. send wedge packing and let this kid play ball without that redneck riding him.

It is blantantly obvious that Wedge has favorites and that he has players he grudgingly uses.

Marte has been screwed over by Wedge and this org for years. They played Boone in the lost 06 season and left Marte in the minors until he wasn’t Super 2 eligible. They gave him a few starts at the start of 07 only to screw him over when he came back from the DL and send him back to the minors. He would have never done that to one of his beloved vets. Then in 08 Wedge was constantly having Marte bunt or PH for him. Now in 09 Wedge sits him 40% of the time his first 20 games up and now rips him needlessly.

In Wedge’s defense, there was no place for him when he came back in ’07; that team really took off and I wouldn’t have wanted to mess with that group in any way, either.
He does, also, seems to have seen the light NOW. That’s six straight games, now, and he’s 9 for 25 in that period (.360) with a five game hit streak (since his BFF LaPorta showed up).
My big concern is when September comes and we get a few more outfielders on the roster, and Wedge moves LaPorta to first and benches Marte. THAT would be a big issue, particularly if Marte keeps hitting.

how is it that the past two times AC has been conversing with people live I have missed it. Curse the second shift employment, est. that is.

I make no apologies for voicing my lost patience with Eric Wedge and his philosophies. That is my right as a fan and a consumer not to mention slightly justified. It doesn’t make me right, just capable of doing so without being labeled an ignorant, unsupportive fan.

So while I thought EW was uniquely critical of Marte this time around after so few at bats and sporadic playing time since he’s been up (which makes a big difference to acknowledge on all accounts) I cannot say that I disagree with AC’s two cents that a player’s fragility should not dictate how he is handled, idealistically. However, we all know that things like that do happen in sports. It’s part of the organizational posturing that occurs. Players get treated differently. While there is not supposed to be separation in treatment between the first and twenty-fifth man on the roster, it is DOES happen. Neglecting such a point would undermine one’s credibility. I’m not suggesting that AC is acting in this manner in the slightest. Compared to other so-called MLB writers, he’s objectively conducted himself better than most of his peers… most of the time. Just pointing out some irregularities in the system that go overlooked, particularly in the organizational posturing angle.

Tell me that the Indians truly would prefer Marte to become the next Mike Schmidt and I’d call shenanigans… b/c they don’t. Shapiro and Wedge are too concerned with being right nowadays rather than being diplomatic, progressive, innovative, and consistent.

Not to pooh-pooh Grinke’s record setting night, but Shoppach was in the line up. Subtract those automatic three Ks and he had only a very good outing.
.

I give Shoppach credit not obtaining the golden sombrero of strikeouts… oh wait, he only had 3 ABs

The problem is that Wedge has not been giving Marte regular ABs and then seemingly criticizes him after he’s done something simple and positive like a minor hitting streak. I’m not worried about Marte’s fragile ego – clearing wavers earlier this year after spring training would’ve been much more of a come down – but I am concerned with Wedge’s blatant favoritism and inability to work with certain prospects. If the team is entertaining the notion of trading JP in the offseason – which if they aren’t I’m not sure what they’re thinking since his trade value may never be as high again – then they need to know if they have a viable alternative to man 3B. Marte’s history is checkered at best with the big league club, but he earned the chance to prove himself by his play in Columbus. We’ve also seen that he does not succeed as a part-time or role player, but has had success this year with regular playing time. If the FO is going to figure out if Marte is going to be around the next year or two in order to be a placeholder for Chisenhall or whomever, he needs to play every day instead of riding the pine in favor of Gimenez. I don’t care how people spin things, there is no upside to benching Marte the rest of the way. There is only the possibility that we miss out on a viable short term solution. And there is no upside or reasonable excuse to tear down a player even after modest success.

Hey, I added your link: http://castrovince.mlblogs.com/2009/08/25/if-i-have-to-walk-im-gonna-get-there-just-the-same-2/ to my page under the title If I have to walk, I'm gonna get there just the same CastroTurf.

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