Lyle Overbay: What's His Trade Market?

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Lyle Overbay: What's His Trade Market?
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Now that the big four-team trade between the Philadelphia Phillies, Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays, and Oakland A’s is officially completed, it’s time to take a look at some of the fallout from the trade.

One of the players moved in the trade was 1B/3B Brett Wallace from Oakland to Toronto.

While Wallace came up in the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization as a third baseman, he is widely viewed as a first baseman in the future.

With Wallace seemingly ready to take over the first base duties in Toronto, it means current first baseman Lyle Overbay might be out of a job.

With just one year remaining on his contract and the Blue Jays in complete rebuilding mode, Overbay seems like a prime trade candidate either this offseason or during the regular season.

That being said (cue Larry David), let's take a look at the pros and cons of Overbay and what teams might be interested in trading for the former University of Nevada, Reno star.

 

Pros

At 32 years old, Overbay has been a pretty consistent player over his nine-year major league career.

You can usually pencil Overbay in for a .275 average with 10-15 home runs and an OBP above .350.

Here is a surprise about Overbay—his OPS has increased each of the last three years (.706 to .777 to .838).

Where Overbay really shines is on the defensive side of the ball. Overbay is one of the better defensive first baseman in the game.

During the '80s and early '90s, guys like Keith Hernandez, Don Mattingly, Mark Grace, and Will Clark showed us the value of having a great defensive player manning first base.

The value of a good defensive first baseman was lost a little during the late '90s and early 2000s when slugging, DH-types were playing first base.

Now with guys like Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis, and Adrian Gonzalez, playing great defense at first is in vogue again.

Overbay can help any team defensively.

The last pro for Overbay is his contract.

As I mentioned above, Overbay has one year remaining on his contract and is owed $7 million for that one year.

It’s a very reasonable contract for what Overbay should produce.

Over the last three years, Overbay has been paid $13.2 million by the Blue Jays, and, according to Fangraphs, Overbay has been worth $18.5 million to the Blue Jays.

 

Cons

Overbay has been consistent all right—consistently average.

Wasn’t this guy supposed to be a big star? He is a poor man’s John Olerud.

Perhaps Overbay was never supposed to be a star. Perhaps he was just meant to hit, like I said, .275 every year.

While Overbay’s contract doesn’t seem prohibitive at $7 million, in this economy it might be.

In today's economy, $7 million is probably the equivalent to $12 million a couple of years ago.

Every team is looking for a bargain these days, and the Blue Jays might have to eat a couple million on Overbay’s contract in order to trade him.

Now that we have looked at the pros and cons of Overbay, lets take a look at what teams might be interested in the native of Centralia, Wash.

 

Atlanta Braves

Talks between Atlanta and Adam LaRoche seem to be going nowhere. The Braves need a bat and could replace LaRoche with Overbay.

 

New York Mets

The Mets have current first baseman Daniel Murphy still on the roster, but I don’t think Murphy will be the Mets’ full-time first baseman in 2010.

The Mets are talking about bringing Carlos Delgado back, which would be a mistake. Overbay would help improve the Mets’ below-average infield defense.

 

San Francisco Giants

I have no idea what Brian Sabean is doing at this point. The Dan Uggla to the Giants trade, which seems like has been rumored to be happening for the last five months, is on life support.

Overbay wouldn’t be a bad Plan B. The Giants need a first baseman and a gap-to-gap hitter like Overbay could hit 40-plus doubles in AT&T Park.

 

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox are in full defense-first mode this offseason. GM Theo Epstein is determined to improve the Red Sox defensively in 2010.

The talk now is that the Red Sox are comfortable going into 2010 with Casey Kotchman as their first baseman. Overbay is just as good defensively and is a better offensive player.

 

Seattle Mariners

The Mariners could be waiting for last year’s first baseman Russell Branyan to lower his demands of a two-year deal. Overbay could be a nice fallback option.

Overbay fits GM Jack Zduriencik’s defense first mentality.

I am going to say there is a very good chance Overbay gets traded at some point. However, he’s more likely he gets traded during the regular season.

The Blue Jays will most likely have Wallace start the season in the minors in order to increase his service time. Overbay will start the season as the first baseman and then will be moved in June or July once Wallace is ready.

 

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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