New York Yankees

New York Yankees: How Lyle Overbay Fits into Bombers Theme for 2013 Season

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 24:  Lyle Overbay #37 of the Arizona Diamondbacks charges in to field a bunt against the Chicago Cubs at Chase Field on June 24, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. Arizona won 5-1. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images
Doug RushSenior Analyst IMarch 27, 2013

It's been an eventful couple of days for the New York Yankees.

The Yankees traded for Vernon Wells and will use him as the team's left fielder at the start of the 2013 season.

And on Tuesday, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com had reported that the Yankees also signed the newly-released Lyle Overbay to a minor-league deal.

 

That didn't take long: Lyle Overbay is a Yankee wp.me/p1rXvG-8Xus

— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) March 26, 2013

 

 

Overbay was released from the Boston Red Sox in the morning on Tuesday and, by the middle of the afternoon, he was already signing his deal with the Yankees and coming into camp.

The 36-year-old Overbay has spent time with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays, Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Braves.

In 2012 while with Arizona and Atlanta, Overbay hit .259 with two home runs and 10 RBI in 65 games played.

Overbay was brought in mostly due to the injury to Mark Teixeira while he was taking batting practice in the World Baseball Classic, suffering a partially torn sheath tendon in his wrist.

As of right now, Teixeira is out until the end of May, but if he needs surgery on the wrist, it could likely end his 2013 season without ever stepping onto the field.

For the time being, the Yankees have used former outfielder Juan Rivera at first base. It had looked like Rivera might be the starting first basemen when the season starts on Monday against the Red Sox.

However, with Overbay in the picture now, that changes things.

With him now on the team, it means the Yankees likely will not shift Kevin Youkilis over to first and will keep him at third base for the season.

But what Overbay offers the Yankees is what he can do with a glove, not so much with a bat.

He's not a Gold Glove first basemen like Teixeira, but he certainly won't be a liability out in the field. Overbay is a career .270 hitter at best with 20 home runs with an average of 70 RBI. In his 45 games with the Diamondbacks, Overbay was hitting .292 with two home runs and 10 RBI.

For his career, Overbay has a .995 fielding percentage, which is a tremendous number. To give you an idea, Teixeira has a career .997 fielding percentage.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman has built the 2013 team around solid pitching and good defense in the field. It's the reason why he let Nick Swisher walk and re-signed Ichiro Suzuki, as well as passed on trading for Alfonso Soriano or signing Johnny Damon and traded for Vernon Wells.

The starting rotation—if healthy—could be one of the best in baseball.

Even if Teixeira does come back, the Yankees could still use Overbay on the bench as a pinch hitter and defensive replacement in the field.

It can also allow the Yankees to put Rivera back on the bench as a right-handed bat and extra outfielder on the team.

While I'm not crazy over the Overbay signing as far as offense goes, I like what he brings to the Yankees as far as defense.

He fits Cashman's theme for the season and hopefully, doesn't backfire on him as the team is on the verge of playing real games in the next couple of days.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.

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