Boston Red Sox: Pressure's On As Opt-out Day Looms For Lyle Overbay

By Thom Tsang
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Lyle Overbay‘s time with the Boston Red Sox may come to an end sometime this week.

That would have seemed was a foregone conclusion from the moment that the Red Sox made the move to acquire Mike Carp from the Seattle Mariners to solve their backup problems behind Mike Napoli and his hip condition, but things have changed rather quickly over the last month for the team.

Things like David Ortiz‘s injury, for example. That, along with a scuffling Carp (.562 OPS, 13 strikeouts in 36 at-bats) this spring have given Overbay some new life when it comes to making the team’s 25-man roster on Opening day.

It’s by no means a sure thing though. The veteran is still considered an underdog in the competition, despite having out-hit his primary competition (.702 OPS over 36 at-bats) in the 2013 Grapefruit League campaign.

Still, both opportunities and time are scarce for the first baseman right now, as he’s been limited to just four at-bats (with a back ailment) over the team’s last three Spring Training games. Overbay will likely have to make the best out of what limited chances he gets in the next game or two, as both the 36-year old and the Red Sox will have a major decision to make on Tuesday.

That’s the day that the first baseman can opt out of his minor league contract with the team to pursue other opportunities, something that will obviously be affected by the decision on whether he made the team’s bench over the younger Carp, who also has the ability to play the outfield.

An added dimension to whether or not Boston keeps him on the squad are the said opportunities themselves. Should Overbay not make the team and choose to opt out, he might not have to go very far to find another job: according to Nick Carfado of the Boston Globe, the New York Yankees have been interested in him as a lefty compliment to the Juan Rivera experiment at first base.

Might that change the decision-making process for the Red Sox? Could the two AL East rivals work out a trade? Oddly enough, it may just come down to Overbay’s results over the next couple of days — who says spring numbers are totally inconsequential?

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