If I were to tell you three months ago that Lyle Overbay would currently be one of the most important players on this new-look New York Yankees team, you would probably call me crazy. But alas, as much as people may think I am, I’m not crazy. Overbay has filled in beautifully for the injured Mark Teixeira, and the Yankees must find a way – any way – to keep him when Tex returns.
Recent reports have stated that Teixeira will be rehabbing with the Double-A Trenton Thunder on Wednesday. The Yankees could expect him back shortly thereafter. We all know what Teixeira brings to the Yankees both offensively and defensively, but we simply can not overlook the contributions of Overbay in his absence.
Since being signed by the Yankees three days before the last day of Spring Training, Overbay has shown that he belongs. He has been the everyday first baseman, and currently is sporting a .255 average with eight home runs, and 28 RBIs. But that is simply what we see on the surface.
With runners in scoring position this season, Overbay has been a player that can be counted on. He has a .256 average with RISP, and a .500 average with the bases loaded. Those aren’t the best numbers on the team, but hey, when you consider the fact that Overbay was picked up off the scrap heap, what more could you ask for? What has been impressive about Overbay is that 13 of his 41 hits have gone for extra bases. Simply put, he is a doubles machine. He has also been a terrifically clutch player when the opportunities arise. Even as I write this, Overybay just hit a go-ahead home run against the Tampa Bay Rays in extra innings. Let’s also not forget that he has played a tremendous first base. He was always better known for his defense, and he really hasn’t disappointed so far this season.
But when Tex comes back, where does Overbay fit in to the Yankees roster. They know that if the designate him for assignment, another team is almost sure to pick him up, and they definitely don’t want a rival team getting a hold of him, as he is a gem.
The only possible thing I can see the Yankees doing is getting rid of Ben Francisco once Tex comes back, allowing Overbay to stay on the team. Then once Curtis Granderson returns, they send Brennan Boesch back down. All Overbay really has to do is last until September when rosters expand to 40 players. With the returns of both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez constantly in doubt, that doesn’t seem so unlikely.
Lyle Overbay is far too valuable for the Yankees to get rid of right now. It’s going to be a tricky situation for the Yankees if they really want to keep him on the team, and they have a few different things that they can do. It’s clear that the Yankees really lucked out by claiming Overbay off of waivers a few months ago. He has been a big reason as to why the team are currently in the position that they’re in.