Has Tribe found a first baseman?

Paul Hoynes on Andy Marte, the Indians' new (and maybe future) first baseman:

    In a season of disappointment and upheaval, Marte's rise from afterthought to starting first baseman is the most unlikely and inspiring.
    Has he done enough to convince the Indians to keep him for next year?

    "Andy has done a good job building off his success at Columbus," said assistant general manager Chris Antonetti. "There is still a month left in the season and we're looking forward to see what he can do with regular at-bats and playing time."

    Marte finished Wednesday night's 4-2 loss to the Tigers hitting .264 (23-for-87) with two doubles, one triple, four homers and 16 RBI in 25 games. He hit .327 (98-for-300) with 24 doubles, 18 homers and 66 RBI at Columbus in 82 games.


    The Indians have an opening at first base for 2010. Marte is in the process of making himself one of their options.

Something went wrong along the way.
When Marte was 19, he hit the ball in fast Class A. When Marte was 20, he hit the ball in Double-A. When he was 21, he hit the ball in Triple-A. Then he got traded twice in two months, and stopped hitting.

Or, more precisely, he stopped walking -- in the minors, anyway. In the majors, he just didn't hit, period. This summer in Triple-A, Marte did post the best numbers of his career. But it was his fourth go-around in Triple-A and his walk rate still is far below what it was four years ago.

Oh, and (gulp) first base? Really? Until this summer, Marte hadn't hit like anything but a shortstop since 2005 ... and suddenly he's a first baseman?

Despite his middling numbers since rejoining the big club, Marte's earned a shot with somebody, doing something. And with Matt LaPorta in left field, the Indians do have an opening at first base. I just don't believe that Andy Marte is going to hit enough to fill it.