In 49 games at AAA Richmond, 3B Andy Marte is batting 281/373/506 (879 OPS) with 9 homers, 33 RBI, and 26 walks. That's a modest pace for 24 home runs, 89 RBI, and 70 walks in a 140-game schedule. Most players don't show nearly that much power or patience at the plate in the minors, nor do they accompany it with anything resembling a decent batting average.
Barring misfortune, Marte will be an MLB in 2006, which brings to mind a significant problem for the Atlanta Braves that most of us have already read about somewhere before: the Braves already have someone at 3B.
So what happens when two 3B collide? The Braves will not get rid of Chipper, but they don't want to lose such young talent as Andy Marte either. With our apparent problems in the OF, is one of them destined to move out there (if only for a while)? Or will either take another spot on the field? Or will the Braves be forced to deal Marte for someone suitable at another position?
Marte played LF in winter ball for a couple of days and then went back to 3B. No one can confirm whether it was just an experiment, whether it was a success, or whether it was a failure. So, either he sucked badly and the Braves never want to see him in the OF, or it was at least mildly successful and the Braves are quietly preparing to use him in the outfield at least until the situation works itself out.
Chipper came up as a SS and has spent about 1/3 of his MLB career in the OF, and while it seems certain that he will not be going back to the OF, no one has even mentioned SS as a possibility, despite Furcal sucking badly while probably wanting more money next year when it's time to be re-signed again.
Might the Braves let Furcal go and experiment with Chipper and/or Marte at SS? Or are we more likely to see Chipper at 1B or Marte in LF? Or will the Braves bite the bullet and trade Marte away? For now, we're still stuck in wait-and-see mode.