Former Jay Overbay could be steal of the off-season

KEN FIDLIN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:08 PM ET

RADENTON — When Lyle Overbay signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates last December it created not the slightest ripple on the off-season free agent market but he could very well turn out to be one of the year’s better buys.

In a market of first basemen that included Lance Berckman (one year, $8 million US, Cardinals) and Adam LaRoche (two years, $16 million, Nationals), Aubrey Huff (two years, $22 million, Giants), Overbay’s one-year, $5-million deal, with no compensation strings attached, looks like a steal.

He is a 20-homer, 40-doubles man with a decent on-base percentage, an excellent defender who will save some errors for the Pirates young infield.

Overbay got little interest and even fewer offers.

“The biggest thing was that while there were teams interested, Pittsburgh was real aggressive,” Overbay said on Sunday, before the Jays-Pirates game at McKechnie Field.

“I’m not saying I was necessarily their “A” option but I might have been a C or a D, where other teams were kind of waiting and I might have been an F or a G to those guys.

“Nothing was going on until these guys stepped up. Other teams were expressing interest but nobody was ready to commit, obviously looking for different options. I felt real comfortable with the situation here with the chance to play first. Other teams were talking about DH-ing so this seemed like the best option.”

Since it’s a straight one-year deal, Overbay may be back on the market next winter, perhaps with some better credentials.

“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about that,” he said, “but I think if I just go out and do my job the way I’m capable of, then everything will take care of itself.

“Hopefully if everything works out, then we can make it into a next-year thing (with the Pirates).”

As young as the Blue Jays are, the Pirates are even younger. At 34, Overbay is the oldest player on the Pittsburgh roster.

“I feel old but it’s fun,” he said, laughing. “It pushes me to try to keep up with them. I know I’m not going to but it helps me to push myself to keep up. They’ve got a lot of energy.”


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