Pittsburgh Pirates Sign Lyle Overbay and Matt Diaz

Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIDecember 15, 2010

NEW YORK - JULY 04:  Lyle Overbay #35 of the Toronto Blue Jays watches the flight of his third inning home run against the New York Yankees on July 4, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

I am writing this post as I am watching She’s Out of My League. I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting much, but I find it surprisingly funny. There are definitely some good parts in there that have made me laugh.

Now on to another laughing matter. That’s the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

The Pirates have been the joke of the sports world for the past 18 years and it has been very rare that we have commented on anything they have done over that time period. Let’s give them some love today.

Over the last couple of days, the Pirates have dipped their hands in the free-agent waters by signing 1B Lyle Overbay and OF Matt Diaz. They signed Overbay to a one-year, $5 million contract and Diaz to a two-year, $4.25 million contract.

I like both of these signings by the Pirates.

In my "Free Agent Primer," I had Overbay pegged as this year’s Aubrey Huff. Now, will Overbay lead the Pirates to a World Series title like Huff did with the San Francisco Giants? Absolutely not, but that doesn’t mean that Overbay can’t help the Pirates in 2011.

At this point in his career, the Pirates know what they are going to get with Overbay. He is going to hit around 15-20 HRs, have an OBP about 80 points higher than his average, which is usually around .260, and produce an OPS around .800.

I like to call him a “Poor man’s Mark Grace.”

Overbay is also an upgrade over Garrett Jones at first and should help Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker in the infield. Overbay isn’t as good defensively as he used to be, but he is certainly better than what the Pirates were rolling out there in 2010.

The Pirates didn’t bring in Overbay to help them win the NL Central. The Pirates will continue to bring guys like Overbay to help them be a little bit better on the field, but also to be a stopgap until they amass enough young players to really compete.

At $5 million, Overbay will outperform his contract and help the Pirates be a little better on the field.

Diaz is an interesting signing as well. I always had something personal against Diaz because he pronounces his name “Die-az” instead of the traditional “Dee-az.” I always found that annoying.

But anyway, I digress.

Diaz spent five years in Atlanta and hit .305/.353/.461 with 41 HRs in 511 games. Not too shabby.

Diaz spent the majority of his time in Atlanta as fourth outfielder and that is what he will be doing in Pittsburgh. The right-handed Diaz will platoon right with Jones.

That’s a good thing because Diaz crushes left-handed pitching. For his career, Diaz has hit .335 against lefties in 797 plate appearances. Players thrive when they are put in the right role and this should be the right role for Diaz.

Both Overbay and Diaz won’t help the Pirates win the NL Central or even compete for the Wild Card in 2011. They are still years away for that to happen. But, the Pirates did get better this week with those signings.


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