Look at the numbers

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 2:01 AM ET

The addition by the Blue Jays of Lyle Overbay seems exciting enough until you do the math and realize that he is, in fact, Eric Hinske.

Same age. Same size. Almost the exact numbers.

With 60 more at-bats than Hinske last season, Overbay hit just four more home runs, four more RBIs, three more doubles and scored only one more run.

If you break it down on an at-bat basis, Hinske was more efficient in the areas of run production -- with more RBIs per at-bat, more runs scored and more doubles hit.

Which means the Jays accomplished what in acquiring Overbay?

If they can find a home for the overpaid Hinske, then they've made an economically efficient move here. Hinske is set to earn $4.3 million US this season and $5.6 million in 2007. Overbay will top the million-dollar mark for the first time this coming campaign.

But don't believe for a second that the Jays hit the big time with the acquisition of Overbay: Unless you believe Hinske happened to be big-time also.

THIS AND THAT

You will know Wayne Gretzky isn't playing politics if Jason Spezza, Eric Staal and Sidney Crosby are named to Canada's Olympic team. If they are not -- especially now that Mario Lemieux and Steve Yzerman have opted out -- then Gretzky and friends are rewarding others for the past while choosing to ignore the present ... Clever guy that Phil Jackson: He didn't tamper with Chris Bosh but he made it clear the Los Angeles Lakers would love to have him when his contract is up with the Raptors ... This is why the NHL must change its scheduling format: Vancouver beats Ottawa in a shootout Friday night and the next time the two teams play at GM Place is in the 2008-09 season ... The team Argos' offensive co-ordinator Kent Austin played quarterback for last, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, might be the first team he takes over as a head coach.

HEAR AND THERE

Wouldn't it make sense for the Boston Red Sox to trade unhappy Manny Ramirez to the Baltimore Orioles for unhappy Miguel Tejada and maybe include an unhappy player to be named later. Ramirez and Tejada, by the way, will be teammates on the Dominican Republic team in the World Baseball Classic ... Don't hear a lot of talk about the World Classic but I, for one, can't wait for it and if it's done right it should be sensational ... Hardly quick out of the blocks, the NHL will begin drug testing its players on Jan. 15 ... Someone once said of Jacques Demers: "Five-year contract, three-year act." In Buffalo, they're saying about Bills coach Mike Malarkey: "Five-year contract, how?" ... Maple Leafs' Eric Lindros was playing terrific hockey when he took over for the injured Mats Sundin. However, since Sundin has returned, neither Lindros nor the captain have been anywhere near their best ... The more you watch Leafs forward Jeff O'Neill play at even strength, the more you understand why the Carolina Hurricanes were quick to give him away for next to nothing.

SCENE AND HEARD

It started with Joe Montford going from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to the Edmonton Eskimos for Dan Comiskey. Then Troy Davis and Comiskey were sent to Edmonton for basically a song. Now the Esks have quarterback Danny McManus and offensive lineman Tim Bakker. In other words, the Tiger-Cats traded Montford, Davis, Comiskey, Baker, McManus and a first-round pick in the CFL draft for Jason Maas and a couple of loose ends. And commissioner Tom Wright, who needs the Edmonton vote to stay in office, maintains that all is well in the Campbell Football League ... They are screaming for heads in Atlanta, where the Hawks have one fewer win than the Raptors. Fire the coach. Fire the general manager. Maybe the worst sign for the Raptors is the local indifference: No one is screaming for anything ... Best rookie nobody talks about: Petr Pruscha of the New York Rangers. He is one goal behind Sid The Kid ... In Florida, where they still are considered young, 78-year-old Joe Paterno will be coaching against 76-year-old Bobby Bowden in the Orange Bowl game ... And this from Bud Geracie of the San Jose Mercury News: "Tony Dungy, Lovie Smith and Marvin Lewis -- combined 30-6 -- have put to rest any myths about African-American coaches in the NFL."

AND ANOTHER THING

Most GMs would never consider trading away a talent like Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo but Mike Keenan has never been like most GMs. In Chicago, Keenan traded away Denis Savard. In St. Louis, he traded away Brendan Shanahan. All he got in exchange was Chris Chelios and Chris Pronger ... And yes, Keenan did trade away Dominik Hasek in Chicago and he did acquire Todd Bertuzzi and Bryan McCabe for Trevor Linden while in Vancouver ... Makes you wonder about the validity of the Brier when the dynastic Randy Furbey and has a losing record in Olympics curling trials ... Watched the New Jersey-Colorado shootout the other night and have a new pet peeve: What's with hockey announcers who don't tell you who's shooting in the shootout? ... Bobby Clarke is the first accidental victim of the salary cap: The Philadelphia Flyers are running out of healthy bodies and don't have the cap room to do much about it ... David Frost didn't resign willingly as a certified player agent with the NHL Players' Association. He was pushed. People like Frost never back away from a fight ... If the Blue Jays were always No. 1 on A.J. Burnett's list, how come he would have signed in St. Louis had the Cardinals come up with a fifth year on the contract? ... The Rolling Stones will perform at halftime of the Super Bowl after the Black Eyed Peas did the same at the Grey Cup. Apparently, while the CFL is trying to attract a younger audience, the NFL is hoping to hold on to its older audience ... And hey, whatever became of Daren Puppa?


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