There is this cruel streak in all human beings. It's part of our dark side. For the Fan it manifests itself by tweaking other blog buddies and some of their favorite players. On one such friend's site, the Fan has consistently baited about Lyle Overbay and has called him Lyle Overpaid. Such a comment yesterday finally led the blog buddy to exasperation and that buddy said he will now have to write a post concerning Overbay. Well, the Fan doesn't like to be shown up in any way, so this is an expedient post to deflect the ire coming this way. So what about Overbay?
Surprise number one: Lyle Overbay is a good fielding first baseman. His range and his zone ratings are much higher than expected. This means that Overbay is not a statue over there. He's not a Dunn first baseman. He's good over at that bag and the Fan would never have guessed that. He excels in all three areas of fielding: percentage, zone ratings and range.
Surprise number two: Lyle Overbay has earned his salary for the two years preceding this one. Due to his good fielding and some decent (if not spectacular) offensive numbers, Overbay was worth $9.2 million in 2008 and $10.8 million in 2009. His salary for 2008 was $6.75 million (making him plus $2.45 million) and he made $7.95 million in 2009 making him a plus $2.85 million last year. The somewhat bad news is that it is going to be tough for Overbay to make it to even value this year because the team has apparently given up on him.
Surprise number three: Lyle Overbay can hit lefties just fine, thank you very much. Overbay's lifetime batting average is .276. His lifetime batting average against lefties is .267. That's hardly in Grandeson territory. His OPS when facing lefties is much worse than against right-handers, but for the amount of time he actually faces lefties, this seems like a moot statistic.
Surprise Finale: Lyle Overbay has been every bit worth the contract that he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays. He's a good fielder with good range who makes all the plays and he's a steady hitter with good doubles power. His probable downfall is that although he has been well worth his salary, there are so many power first basemen in baseball that what he does isn't quite good enough in the grand scheme of what first basemen should do.
The Blue Jays now seem quite serious about making Adam Lind a first baseman and letting Overbay walk at the end of the year. Lind, if he hit like he did last year, had typical first baseman type numbers. But this year, he's fallen off a cliff and while in theory he has more pop than Overbay, the reality is that he might have been a flash in the pan and might not be any good. Do you let a quality first baseman walk while tossing the dice that Lind can play first AND start to hit again? That's a big IF.
The Fan needs to get off the Overpaid thing and admits that Overbay was a good signing. He's has been worth what he has been paid and then some. There are at least a dozen other first basemen in baseball that are worth more than him and that is part of his problem. But if nuts get to bolts, this Fan would rather see Overbay over there than Lind.