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Lyle Overbay Signs With Pirates

The Pirates have signed former Blue Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay to a one-year deal, the team's Twitter account reports. I already wrote about this signing over at Bucs Dugout, but this is the sort of uninspiring move disgraced former GM Dave Littlefield would have loved. Overbay turns 34 in January. He's a decent defensive first baseman. He hit .243 this year, and there's no reason to think much improvement is on the horizon, given his age. This is about as good an idea as signing Randall Simon or Sean Casey, or maybe slightly better, which is to say it's a bad idea.

When Littlefield signed Simon and Casey, he was blocking a much more interesting player in Craig Wilson, and at least the Pirates won't be doing anything like that by signing Overbay. But this deal makes it less likely that younger guys like Steve Pearce and John Bowker will see the field. (Bowker is primarily an outfielder, but he's relevant here because Overbay's presence will cause Garrett Jones to play less first base and more outfield.) Pearce and Bowker are arguably fairly likely to match Overbay's production next year, and if one of them breaks out, the Pirates will get to keep him for several more years. In other words, there would be very little downside in just skipping out on Overbay and playing Pearce and Bowker, and at least a little bit of upside.

This move is yet another in what has become a very, very uninspiring offseason for the Pirates, who suddenly seem more concerned with getting their loss total from 105 to 90 than with building a winning ballclub.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.