MLB Rumors: Lyle Overbay Would Be Ideal Pickup for Cincinnati Reds

Eric BallFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 05:  Lyle Overbay #37 of the Arizona Diamondbacks rounds the bases following a two-run home run by teammate Aaron Hill #2 during the second inning of a MLB game against the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field on June 5, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Ralph Freso/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Reds don’t need to give up any legitimate pieces of their farm system today, but landing some sort of left-handed hitter needs to be a priority.

A potential option is Lyle Overbay, who was designated for assignment by the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday.  

Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reports that the Reds are indeed interested in his services:

#Reds expected to pursue Lyle Overbay,designated for assignment by #Dbacks today. Overbay can play 1B until Votto returns, PH after.

— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 31, 2012


So why in the world would a surging Arizona team get rid of a guy who has a .292/.367/.448 line with a .815 OPS in 110 plate appearances?

Because at the age of 35, he isn’t in the club's long-term plans, and now Paul Goldschmidt won’t have to look over his shoulder. A 2-for-25 stretch since June 23 didn't help either.

But that’s just fine for a Reds team who doesn’t have a ton of money to spend, doesn’t want to hand over valuable prospects and desperately needs a left handed hitter.

Overbay is currently playing on a one-year, $1 million contract which is music to Reds general manager Walt Jocketty’s ears.

With Joey Votto still nursing a knee injury, Jay Bruce is the only regular who hits left-handed. While Overbay won’t be stealing at-bats from Votto when he returns, he could be an extremely valuable pinch hitter.

Manager Dusty Baker loves to play the lefty-righty matchups late in innings, and handing him a chess piece like Overbay would give the toothpick and wristband king more flexibility.

With 12 years of MLB experience under his belt, he isn’t going to wilt in the playoffs. While he may be 0-for-4 in his only postseason plate appearances, Overbay has enough experience and sustained success to overlook that.

Sure he isn’t the leadoff hitter the Reds so desperately need (cough, Shane Victorino or Juan Pierre, cough), but he doesn’t come at a steep cost. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports believes the asking price is too high for Victorino, and acquiring a guy like Hunter Pence or Denard Span is almost out of the question at this point because of their high costs.

When you are a small market team with big market dreams, you can’t make any major changes to your club. The Reds are currently sporting the second best record in baseball (61-41), and just had a 10-game winning streak without Votto snapped.

This team doesn’t need a major shakeup, they need to tinker. Nabbing Overbay, and perhaps another cheap player who can play in the outfield and leadoff on occasion, is all the team needs.

It’s weird to think, but the Reds are very close to being a legit World Series contender in 2012. Overbay would increase their odds.