The Astros have claimed former top prospect Fernando Martinez from the Mets off of waivers. Being irrevocable waivers the Mets cannot pull Martinez back, so wave goodbye because FMart is now officially an Astro.
Apparently that monster shot in Houston back in May -- one of his only bright spots of 2011 -- was a sign.
The question though is whether or not it was also a sign of things to come. It's cliche at this point but I must point out that he's only 23 years old and he does still have some value. Maybe not as a starter, but even in his sub-par showing in Buffalo last season he batted .291/.362/.475 against righties, knocking seven homers in just 158 ab's against them. He's always hit righties and his power is one aspect of his game that has developed as planned. And for a team like Houston who has nothing but at bats to give away to young projects, who knows?
Now it's debatable whether or not Sandy should or even could have made space for the one-time hitting phenom. But honestly, this day was inevitable. Whether or not Martinez ever delivers on the promise that so many had for him as a teenager, it had become patently clear that that would not occur with the Mets.
Once pushed too far, too fast, Martinez spent the last few seasons getting way too familiar with Western New York. He got his shot(s) and nothing happened. Prospects not named Martinez took his place atop rankings. And players who aren't him are the current potential right fielders of the future. His biggest advocates are now strewn about baseball in various locations, all very far from here and in their place a regime that was clearly not impressed.
So the question remains, will those of us who wistfully keep an eye on him be seeing more of those yanked shots down the right field line at Minutemaid? Does this Change of Scenery™ now clear the way for Martinez to put the years of injuries and disappointment behind him and regain at least some of his former status as a young hitter to be feared? Again, who knows (the looming specter of a vacant DH role in Houston certainly doesn't hurt though).
What I do know is that teenage me, the one that was lucky enough to be there the day teenage Fernando took his first BP at Shea, the one that marveled at a kid who was no bigger than me roping balls left and right and the one who placed a whole lot of hope into this phenom wearing a too-big number one on his back that afternoon, is pretty sad today.