Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Lyle Overbay is the New Whipping Boy
By Ian Hunter
That was until he committed two errors in last night's 8-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
While most will chalk it up to a bad night at the office, some folks however would prefer to use those errors as fuel for the fires of hatred that have been burning strong for Lyle Overbay.
Apparently a couple of fans situated by the third base side dugout gave Overbay the business all night long. Fair enough, they paid for their tickets (or at least snuck down) and have every right to be displeased in Overbay.
But does he really deserve the title as the new enemy number one?
Last season, the Blue Jays whipping boy was undoubtedly Vernon Wells. Seemingly healthy, Wells failed to bounce back and the fans let him have it. The guy who was once (and arguably still is) the face of this franchise essentially faded into the background while other players shone in the spotlight.
Vernon Wells was the whipping boy for a good reason: he's being paid $126 million dollars to perform. Now that Vernon is back up to snuff, there's a new target - Lyle Overbay.
For the life of me though, I can't quite understand why he's receiving the brunt of the blow. When all is said and done, Overbay will take his $7 million from this year and sail off into the sunset of impeding free agency. It's not like he's exactly robbing the Blue Jays blind.
When all is said and done, Lyle Overbay and the Blue Jays will go their separate ways at the end of the season. So even if he does continue to hit poorly, the Jays aren't doomed to have a first baseman hitting below the Mendoza Line for the next five years.
If Lyle Overbay continues on this path, Cito Gaston is going to have an increasingly tough time defending his strategy to keep running their first baseman out there game after game. There comes a point in time where you have to consider some options.
Yes, Brett Wallace is tearing it up in Las Vegas. He's hit 11 home runs and his batting average is parked north of .300. He is the future first baseman of this franchise and will come up and swing tree trunks and park balls in the upper deck of the Rogers Centre.
That being said, it's still not time to call in the cavalries ... just yet.
Why call up Wallace now when you're essentially helping him earn Super Two status in a year where the Jays will still be lucky to finish with a winning record anyway? Overbay's slump is not worth bringing up Brett Wallace prematurely and jeopardizing his service time.
Understandably, the fans need someone to vent on and blame when things start going wrong, and this year it just so happens to be Lyle Overbay. Continue to whip him all you want ... but he's not going anywhere, folks.
So whip it ... whip it good.