Maybe because a certain slow-of-foot tweeter says that The Manager says that he's going to get full-time duty at first base this year.
If you've followed along for awhile, you likely know that we love us some Randy Ruiz and we loathe The Manager's managerialism. So what we're about to say might surprise you:
We kinda like this move. Sorta. Even if we don't actually believe it will come to pass.
Overbay, much like his fellow Washingtonian/sweet-swinging/first-sacker/doubles-machine John Olerud, will always disappoint those who are expecting a 300 lb gorilla at first base. But if you can get over the notion that a corner infielder's offensive production needs to be measured in home runs and runs batted in, you'll see that Overbay can still provide above average production. In 2009, his 122 OPS+ ranked behind only Adam Lind (144) and Scott Rolen's 1/2 season (124) amongst Jays hitters, and put him ahead of everybody's favorite poster-boy Aaron Hill (117).
The caveat, of course, is that Overbay was held back from facing too many lefties, and kinda sucked against them, posting a 53 OPS+. He only started eight games all year against lefties, and stood in the batters box against them just 86 times. And even in his best season (2006) with the Jays, Overbay didn't get a ton of looks at lefties (167 plate appearances), and he managed just a .305 OBP against them.
Even so, here's where we think it might make sense: There's a line that Overbay threw out at one point last season about how he found it difficult to get into a groove when his playing time was so irregular. Even if that is a load of horseshit, it's the load of horseshit that is in Overbay's head, and if getting him a few extra AB's against lefties to prove himself helps him keep his hitting stroke in order, then so be it.
But ultimately, we doubt that The Manager will be able to resist the urge to platoon Overbay and Ruiz. And frankly, that might be for the best. (Agreeing with The Manager? We must be feverish.)
Ruiz needs some sort of a role on the Jays if he is going to be on the roster, and he certainly wouldn't fit into the Johnny Mac pinch running role. Parking him on the bench to serve as an occasional pinch hitter won't really give the Jays a sense of who he could be as a major leaguer. If he were to get a turn a few times per week in the early going, and show himself to be unable to hang at this level, then that's one thing. But if he's languishing with a .750 OPS in less than 50 ABs somewhere in the middle of June, then the Jays would probably be better off letting Ruiz go elsewhere and bringing in a player with some positional flexibility.
Even if that would be a cryin' shame.