Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Not To Be Outdone Pirates Sign Lyle Overbay

Just hours after their cross-state Rival Phillies signed Cliff Lee to a mega-deal the Pirates have announced they signed 33 year old first baseman Lyle Overbay to a one year contract.

The former Blue Jay comes equipped with a career average of .274, although he hasn't hit higher than .270 since 2006, and little power. His 20 homers last year were good for his second highest in his 10 year career, his highest being 22 in 2006.

Really Overbay is not a terrible player. He certainly isn't what the Pirates need, in fact he's basically what the Pirates have. Another left handed bat to go with Jones, Bowker, and Pearce.

Overbay's average has also regressed for three straight years. His average went .270,.265,.243. His OPS has been lower than his career average three out of the last four years, and his WAR has declined steadily for the last three seasons in a row.

That said he had a better OPS every one of those three seasons than Jones had last season. He outslugged Jones last season, and walked 14 more times in 47 less plate appearances last season. For his career Jones walked around 9% of the time, whereas Overbay walked about 11.5%.

Overbay is also a defensive improvement over Jones. Overbay is above average in all of FLD%, RF, and RF/9, substantially so in RF and RF/9. Jones has an average FLD%, an above average RF/9, and a below average RF.

Overall Overbay is a minor risk. If he fails he's gone because the Pirates only signed him to a one year deal. If he succeeds he's probably gone too at the deadline, as guys like Overbay don't really fit into this club's long terms plans. If he reverses his clear slide (a big if), he improves this team, just not by much.

This team is set up to lose 95-100 games again. This offseason has done nothing to right the ship, and Lyle Overbay is dangerously close to a David Littlefield type move, thankfully it's a one year deal.

I can only assume the team is making marginal upgrades to try and keep fans going to the game, while holding out hope for next season.

This offseason has been a punt. Signing Overbay is more of a lateral move than a vertical one, because A. If his production is steady he is only a marginal upgrade over an already below average 1B, and B. Overbay has little chance of being part of this teams future plans.

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