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Pittsburgh Pirates Make Head-Scratching Move By Signing Lyle Overbay

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Pittsburgh Pirates Make Head-Scratching Move By Signing Lyle Overbay
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The Pittsburgh Pirates made a head-scratching move by coming to terms with first baseman Lyle Overbay on a one-year, $5 million contract Tuesday afternoon, adding to the pile of mediocrity that currently surrounds first base and right field.

I've stated many times before the dire need to stick to the plan and continue to develop young players.  None of the other three signings truly bother me, and neither does this one, but it just doesn't help much.

In Overbay, the Pirates get a 34-year-old coming off of a season in which he hit .243 with 20 HR and 63 RBI. It was a very down year for Overbay, but the numbers realistically should go up now that he's out of the American League East.  He also has the benefit of the short porch in right field at PNC Park, but the drawback is that Overbay is on the downside of his career.

The positives are that Overbay makes the Pirates marginally better. He's an outstanding glove guy. Offensively, assuming you believe Overbay's numbers will increase slightly, he's actually a slight upgrade over Garrett Jones. 

Across the board, statistically the two were close to being the same player in 2010. There's also nothing that makes you believe that Jones will be any better in 2011 than he was last season.

I don't have a problem as much with signing Overbay as I do with the reasoning. Overbay is a solid pro, but there is no way he should be the team's everyday first baseman next season.

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It just doesn't fit with the rebuilding process.

As I've said before, I have a much better chance of winning the Powerball then the Pirates do of making up nearly 50 games to approach the .500 mark.  Who cares about .500 anyway?  How many wins does Overbay really help this team gain?

Sure he's likely to be flipped at the deadline for prospects, and I have no problem with that at all. If Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington can turn Overbay into a steal like he did with Octavio Dotel, then great.

The money paid to Overbay could have been used for someone who could have improved the team. 

I didn't have a problem with the other signings and I still don't, but now that you shelled out an additional $5 million on a 34-year-old first baseman, the Pirates have spent nearly $12 million on four guys who might help them improve by five to eight games.

That's not sticking to the plan.

If you were going to shell out $12 million, why not throw $15-$18 million on one guy who can help really improve the team.

If the Nationals can overpay for Jason Werth and get themselves deep in the Zach Grienke negotiations, there is no reason the Pirates shouldn't be able to do the same.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

As far as players not wanting to come to Pittsburgh, I'm done hearing that as well. Most players these days will play anywhere if you offer them enough money.

The big thing that the Overbay signing does is that it moves Jones into a platoon in right field with newly signed Matt Diaz.  That's fine, Jones isn't an everyday guy, but it also squeezes out John Bowker and Steve Pearce.

I'm not drinking the Bowker Kool-Aid like most. He's not an everyday guy, but could help the team given enough spot starts here and there.

Pearce though has shown that he eats up southpaws and should be kept in that part time role in the meantime.  That won't happen.

The biggest thing though is that it really impacts a Ryan Doumit trade. Huntington has been desperately trying to deal the guy and hasn't found the right offer. Now, other teams know the Pirates have to move him and the offers will not increase.

One other issue is that the Pirates will likely bat Jones, Overbay and Pedro Alvarez 4-5-6 or 4-5-7 in the batting order.  That's making it very easy on opposing managers late in the game to neutralize the Pirates offense by bringing in their best left-handed reliever to get three outs.

While it sounds nice to have the Pirates sign a guy who has had a good major league career, this one just doesn't make too much sense.

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