The Detroit Tigers remain in dire need of an extra left-handed bat, but they should steer clear of signing free-agent first baseman Lyle Overbay. He is one of the few left-handed bats who remains available and a very select few have suggested that Detroit could be a potential landing spot for him, but Overbay and the Tigers would be far from an ideal match.
For starters, Overbay can basically only play first base. It is true, however, that last season while playing for the New York Yankees, Overbay did play the outfield for the very first time in his 13-year career, but he has still only logged four games out there.
Overbay’s limited experience in the outfield is most likely not sufficient enough to make Tigers manager Brad Ausmus feel comfortable enough to let him even occasionally patrol right or left field in spacious Comerica Park.
On one hand, signing Overbay could make sense as the Tigers could conceivably play Overbay at first and move Cabrera over to third once in a great while in order to give the rookie Nick Castellanos a breather. The Tigers could also use Overbay as a designated hitter when Victor Martinez is given a rare start at first base, which would also result in Cabrera going over to third. The Tigers could also DH Overbay or play him at first if Martinez makes a start behind the plate, which would mean that Cabrera would either DH or play third depending on whether Overbay is DH-ing or playing first.
However, it continues to remain unclear how much Martinez is going to catch next season as he only caught a mere three games in 2013, and the Tigers would probably prefer to have Cabrera stay put at first base. Ausmus is most likely not going to want to watch his two best hitters play musical chairs all season long.
Adding Overbay would most likely put the more versatile Don Kelly out of a job as well.
Moreover, Overbay will turn 37 in January, and he has not hit higher than .259 since 2009. He had a decent year in 2013, but the 14 home runs he hit last season would most likely be cut in half if he had to play his home games in Comerica Park. Overbay hit his peak way back in 2006 when he was playing for the Toronto Blue Jays. He hit .312 with 22 home runs and drove in 92 runs back then, but he has been on a rather steady decline ever since.
Overbay still has the potential to be an effective player if placed in the right situation, but the Tigers would be wise to look elsewhere for a left-handed bat.