What happens to Lyle Overbay when Mark Teixeira comes back?

Lyle+Overbay

Mark Teixeira is still rehabbing down in Tampa the sheath in his wrist which protects his tendon that he tore while getting ready for the World Baseball Classic back in March. The rehab is going slow, as it should for an injury with a high likelihood of a setback, but he says it’s going great and expects to be back with the Yankees by June 1st.

That puts Lyle Overbay in an interesting situation because he has been a big cog on this team, but won’t have a position when Teixeira returns. So what exactly will happen with Overbay when Teixeira returns?

He could ride the bench as the Yankees would still need a backup first baseman even with Teixeira back. This is Teixeira, who has gotten hurt just about every year in Pinstripes, after all so insurance wouldn’t be bad either.

The problem is that once Teixeira is back they can only keep him around until Kevin Youkilis comes off the DL too. At that point they would have Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis, Overbay, and Travis Hafner and there simply wouldn’t be room for all those players.

If Teixeira and Youkilis are playing first and third the Yankees could potentially use both Overbay and Hafner as the DH, but the problem with that is that both Overbay and Hafner hit righties better than lefties so having both doesn’t make a lot of sense.

So it does become a question of Hafner or Overbay at some point which isn’t an easy question to answer. For one thing Hafner put up video game numbers in April. If he’s healthy this team needs those numbers. Overbay has hit well, though not quite as well as Hafner, and can play the field and play it well. It’s a tough decision, but one that will probably have to be made because it seems hard for them to co-exist.

If they can’t keep Overbay that means he’s got to go which is a funny thing. The Yankees literally got Overbay for nothing three days before the season started. At the time it was thought that they would use him and eventually release him and the idea that they could get anything for him was silly a month and a half ago. He’s posted an .801 OPS since then so he does have some value.  Somebody will want him although it’s hard to see anyone spending a ton for him.

Certainly they won’t be able to get a big time prospect. Instead the best they can probably expect a middle reliever or bench piece at best. A shortstop or bench player that can mash lefties would be ideal. It’s going to be difficult to find a good piece, that a team is willing to part with, and one that isn’t going to be directly competing with the Yankees for a playoff spot.

So this may come down to a decision between Overbay and Hafner. The decent bat/glove combo or the potential for video game numbers and no glove. The Yankees must also ask themselves if Overbay even keep up a .800 OPS all season? They need to be sure that Hafner can stay healthy too. This may even come down to who is more tradable — Hafner or Overbay.

Hopefully the Yankees figure out the right move — one where they still get production from the player they keep while also bringing in a useable piece for the player they decide to cut loose. Either way Teixeira coming back could end up having a big impact against lefties by adding his own bat and making somebody else tradable.

OTHER NOTES

• David Adams was indeed called up yesterday, and went 1-for-4 in his MLB debut. To make room for him on the roster the Yankees designated Chris Nelson for assignment.

• The Yankees are seen as the “most likely landing spot” for Dominican outfielder Leonardo Molina, who is expected to be one of the best players available. Typically IFA’s can be signed on July 2nd, but Molina doesn’t turn 16 until August 1st so he can’t sign until then. He’s expected to get seven figures and the Yankees have just $1.88 million to spend.

• The Marlins agreed to release reliever David Aardsma since they didn’t put him on the major league roster by May 15. He’s going to try to find a major league job after he had a 2.57 ERA, a 7.7 K/9, and a 5.1 BB/9 in 14 innings at Triple-A this season.

• It’s official, there will be hockey at Yankee Stadium next year. Two games actually. The Rangers will play in both one on Jan. 26 against the Devils and a second on Jan. 29 against the Islanders. Neither are technically the Winter Classic.

• Buy Yankees tickets.

Photo credit: (April 12, 2013 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America).

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10 Responses to What happens to Lyle Overbay when Mark Teixeira comes back?

  1. gcorcoran says:

    As they always say… this is a good problem to have. Id be shocked if the Yanks got anything for Overbay. Who knows though? They have a lot of options now. Id love to see them get someone to play short who's better than the current options until Jeter gets back.

    • mikefoxtrot says:

      they could use someone who really can play short better…. even when Jeter's back.

      the Yankees don't seem to have a good, young two-way player at the position.

  2. guest says:

    It depends if they can go with 11 men in the pen instead of 12, that would leave enough room for overbay. I don't think that they will be able to find ANYONE better until Jeter gets back. Nix has done a decent job.

  3. mikefoxtrot says:

    good post. Overbay is gonna get "crunched" when and if Tex and Youkilis and Hafner are all available and healthy.

  4. Tanned tom says:

    Wasn't Overbay signed to a minor league contract? Would that allow the club to stash him in Scranton?
    And don't overlook this scenario: Youkilis comes back before Teixeira does, David Adams does a reasonable job at 3B, and they trade Youkilis instead. Of the trio (Youkilis, Hafner, Overbay) he is paid the most AND has the least chance of returning for 2014 (due to salary and injury considerations). Teams are always looking for guys like Youkilis (decent OBP, good glove, can play more than 1 position) so they might be able to off load him for a INF of the kind you mentioned without having to pay his salary.
    And some of us did anticipate Overbay having trade value.

    • He has some value, but don't expect them to get much. At best they get an infielder that is decent against lefties, somebody like McGehee last year or even Jayson Nix. That's not much, but if he can play shortstop it'll help.

  5. Overbay has no options and would have to clear waivers to be assigned to the minors.

  6. Fred says:

    Very interesting post, I was just talking about this while watching the game tonight.

    Honestly, I don't think Overbay can keep the offensive numbers up. He's a very solid defensive 1B, immensely better than Hafner. Hafner hasn't played the field in years. But Hafner is a guy that at one point was putting up MVP numbers in Cleveland. Keeping him on the team in a reduced role (to prevent injuries) potentially gives you the best possible player between him and Overbay. Obviously, you run the risk that Hafner was just having a hot month and is washed up, or that he gets injured despite Girardi using him cautiously. But I'd rather take that risk than risk Overbay turning back into the batter that looked like he couldn't even stick in the majors.

    Basically these are two guys that are the same age and find themselves in the same spot. But for very different reasons. Hafner has all the talent in the world at the plate, but can't stay healthy. Overbay is a hair above average for a major leaguer at the plate, and is consistently able to field his position and hit around .250 with some pop. I'd rather roll the dice and hope for Hafner to be able to stay healthy. In the past he's been a phenomenal player. We'll be able to find someone to back up Tex defensively, even if they're not the best player in the world offensively. Finding another guy with Hafner's potential would be tough.

    Obviously if there's a setback with Tex (I sure hope not!) that changes the equation dramatically, and if for whatever reason they still had to choose Haf or Overbay, I would understand them letting Hafner go. But hopefully that won't happen. I can't wait to see this team after the All Star break, with the new guys and the old guard meshing together.

  7. Tanned Tom says:

    What a jigsaw puzzle. If Adams plays well, a big if I know, I'd rather go with him and Mustelier and Nix at 3B (not counting on A-Fraud at all this year) than rely on Youkilis. He's too injury prone to be a regular player. Seems too bad, but it looks like Overbay will be the one who loses out. And getting a SS who can hit lefties would be a great return.
    Now that Granderson is back the dominos will fall: Francisco is gone (DFA'd, yes?), Boesch should be traded.
    When Teixeira is back they'll keep Overbay as long as Youkilis and Hafner are hurting, but probably trade him after that.
    The move I'd really like to see is to trade Hughes, before they lose him for nothing in the off season. But it won't happen, too many injuries (Pettitte, Nova)