Thursday, November 6, 2008

We're so over Overbay

The mutterings around the GM meetings in Dana Point, CA, have it that the Jays are ready to move Lyle Overbay, possibly to the Mariners.

To which we say: Fine by us.

Don't get us wrong. We're not going to toss around that tired line about first base being a "power position", as we heard any number of JaysTalk callers spit out all season. But there's plenty of reasonable questions to be asked about Lyle. And at 32, we're guessing that his best years are already behind him.

We respect that Overbay was a high OBP guy who could hit a ton of doubles when he was right and his hand wasn't hampering him. But the two-year promise that Overbay would overcome his hand injury and return to form has not yet borne fruit.

What has returned is a player with a long swing that has too many moving parts. Weight shift, twist back, pull back hands, drop hands, step forward, through the zone with the bat. Too often, all of this sound and fury results in weak ground balls, or balls fouled directly down at his feet.

(His swing is not exactly Molitoresque in its efficiency.)

Once a doubles machine, Overbay's numbers have fallen off the table in the past two years. In 2008, he was tied for 9th amongst MLB first basemen in doubles with 32, along with Carlos Delgado, Adrian Gonzalez, Adam LaRoche, and Joey Votto. Which might seem like good company, until you glance down the stat column and compare Overbay's homer total (15) against theirs: 38, 36, 25 and 24 respectively. Clearly, Overbay is just not hitting the ball hard as often as he used to, and as often as his peers currently do.

(And as a side note: Is there any one of those four first basemen that you wouldn't take over Overbay?)

More comparisons with his peers: Overbay drove in just 69 runs last year, which ranks him 22nd amongst first sackers, while his OPS was 19th.

His purported stregnth is getting on base, and yet Overbay ranked just 13th amongst first basemen in OBP.

We know that there are plenty of passionate defenders of Overbay (see, Wilner, Michael), but when you line him up against the quality of first basemen around the league today and those emerging in the next year or so, you can see how he's about to slip from a mid-range to a low-end option in very short order. We're talking Mientkiewicz territory.

It's probably time to send him and his reasonable two-year $14 million contract down the road.


eyebleaf said...

Damn, Tao. Sold.

I think it was the Mientkiewicz reference that put it over the top.

I was lukewarm to the idea of a trade, but now that you've shown me the facts, yeah, let's let Lind take over at 1B (although the Drunks' post yesterday about Lind was a little unsettling as well).

And I see from your Rotoworld widget that the deal Seattle rejected at the deadline was Overbay and Frasor for Ibanez. I'm kind of surprised, especially considering Seattle knew the Ibanez was going to be a free agent and likely leave. Strange.

Overbay is another piece of what should be a very interesting off-season.

The Ack said...

Rejecting that deal actually makes sense from Seattle's POV. Knowing a full rebuild was coming (terrible team, new GM, etc), the compensatory draft picks when Ibanez signs elsewhere were better long-term compensation than a spare-part reliever and a 30+ yr old, league-average (??) first baseman.....who they might end up getting now for next to nothing, with some salary relief to boot.

Advantage, Mariners.

Anonymous said...

It's been a frustrating season for Lyle. If he goes, we'll miss the defence

Anonymous said...

I thought there was some improvement in overall power over the course of the season for Overbay, and wonder if the trajectory should suggest a bit more optimism. Sure, he's a not player that will lead the Jays to the playoffs, but can you spend 7 mill another way and provide more value to the team? Lind doesn't actually need 1B to open up to be everyday next year. Just putting it out there - not convinced myself.

The Southpaw said...

Overbay has an 865 OPS vs RHP though. The average 1B this year had an 838 OPS. You platoon Overbay with Jose Bautista (between 06-08 has an OPS against LHP of 870) and you've got a pretty good 1B combo.

I don't know why the Jays are in such a rush to get rid of Overbay. As long as he doesn't face LHP he's a pretty good 1B.


Torgen said...

Before Overbay got here his platoon splits were never that bad.

Tao of Stieb said...

And don't declining numbers against lefties indicate slowing bat speed?

Or did we just make that up?

It's too bad we don't have Gregg Zaun to do analysis on our posts.

(Hint hint, Zaunie. It's your move.)

eyebleaf said...

Who's this "Zaun" guy you're talking about?

Anonymous said...

Snider or Lind would make sense at first base right now. It's funny how Rolen didn't opt out! JP fucked that one up, two years of more injuries etc so on.

Torgen said...

Rolen didn't have an opt-out. As a player traded in the middle of a multi-year contract he had the right to demand a trade at the end of the first year with his new club. (It was part of the old CBA.) If he demanded a trade and was traded, he would forfeit 3 years of free agency. If he wasn't traded by the start of spring training, he could become a free agent, after everyone would have already filled their needs and thus with basically no negotiating leverage. It was no cakewalk even for players without an injury history. Also he committed not to use it before the trade to us even happened because he was already demanding a trade out of STL and he needed to make himself attractive to other clubs.

Anonymous said...

Selling low on Overbay just before he re-establishes value this year is not the way to win in the AL East unless talent is coming back.
-brent in Korea

Joe said...

Is Johnny Mac as good a defensive shortstop if Lyle is not around? Why Lyle doesn't win Gold Gloves is beyond the grasp of my (legitimately) ignorant brain.

Torgen said...

Because contrary to popular belief and all logic, it's a gold batting glove.

Joanna said...'s a mother fucker.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how Rolen didn't opt out! JP fucked that one up, two years of more injuries etc so on.

You're thinking of Glaus' player option for 2009 which he said he would not exercise with the Jays because the field turf was fucking killing him. He exercised it immediately after the trade.

You fucking idiot.


best regards


gil fisher said...

What's really funny is that someone suggested a Bautista/Overbay platoon at 1B. People, it's only been six weeks.....have we already forgotten how unbelievably shitty Jose was at 1B.

Darren Priest said...

Way off topic here, but would be be great if the Brewers manage to keep CC the hell out of the AL East?

On The Fence Sports said...

Bring Giambi in as the new DH.

1yr with a club option with plenty of incentives.

Rios/Giambi/Wells as our middle.