Re-Sign or Let Him Walk: Lyle Overbay
Lyle Overbay entered Spring Training as a member of the Boston Red Sox. He was cut by the team with about less than a week left in March, and was signed by the New York Yankees just a few hours later.
He signed with the Bombers because they needed someone to play first base while Mark Teixeira recovered from a wrist injury he suffered while practicing with Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Little did Overbay and the Yankees know, Teixeira would only end up playing 12 games in 2013, and Overbay would be the starting first baseman for almost the entire season.
At 36-years-old, Overbay played 142 games for the Yankees, hitting .240 with 14 home runs and 59 RBIs. He was no Teixeira, but he was surprisingly decent at the plate, given the circumstances he was playing under.
When Teixeira came back for his short stint before returning to the DL, Overbay was hitting well enough that the Yankees couldn’t risk letting him go or keeping him on the bench so they decided to try him in the outfield for a few games. The outfield experiment turned out to be a horrible idea in retrospect.
Overbay signed with the Yankees on a one-year deal worth $1.25 million, and I can only imagine that it won’t cost much more for him to be signed again in 2014. This late into his career, Overbay isn’t the everyday player he once was. He was supposed to be a backup in 2013, but became much more because of the injury bug that plagued New York.
Decision: Let him walk. Like I said, he was a good fit as a short-term solution, turned long-term due to the injuries suffered by Teixeira. Obviously there’s no guarantee that Teixeira will be completely healthy for the start of the 2014 season, or even down the road, but that Yankees should be able to find someone that can be cheap off the bench in case Tex ever needs a day off.
For 2014, the Yankees should try to go after Mark Reynolds this winter. Not only would he be a good fill-in at third base, depending on what happens to Alex Rodriguez, but with his ability to play either corner infield spot it seems more logical to bring him back over Overbay.