Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lyle Overbay is the New Whipping Boy

By
The 2010 season hasn't exactly gone very swimmingly for Lyle Overbay. Although he's been slumping at the plate, his defensive prowess is something that's never really come into question.

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.

10 comments:

  1. I think it is partially a product of having Wallace tearing it up in AAA and partially a product of these types of people just want someone to boo.

    They may not be the biggest baseball fans so when anyone performs poorly they want to boo and don't look any further then the game they are watching

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  2. Johnny, you're right - those fans who were by the dugout were probably just there to jeer on players, and Overbay just so happened to have a bad night. So naturally, he was the target.

    I don't think the Jays should be in any rush to bring up Wallace. If they really want to shake things up, just sit Overbay and let Ruiz play a couple games at first base.

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  3. I think there are a lot of factors - I personally like Overbay and feel he has earned his money in T.O. so far. But he should be a platoon - no matter what he or Cito says.

    The perfect storm of Cito playing him everyday and at the same spot, of him clearly having a terrible slump, and of him not appealing to a lot of fans in the first place (which I get, I just disagree) sets him up for all this.

    The one part I agree with about it all is - if you're making a zillion times more money than the people who are paying to watch you, and you complain about your playing time - you PLAY when it's given to you, or you get the boos because you invited them.

    All that to say, hopefully the average Overbay shows up soon. I'm cool with waiting this out. A lot of guys are playing well to make up for the slumps of others.

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  4. I was at the game last night, sitting right by the 3rd base dugout, one of the rare times I haven't been in the 500's. I've got to say, the energy level in the lower deck is horrendous - pure negativity. Not only were a bunch of people hating on Lyle, they were giving it to Vernon and Cito as well.
    Sure Overbay is having a hard time, but is the best way to help him out of his slump to chant "Overbay to Triple-A"? It was pretty brutal. The fans up top are so much more positive and joyful. Maybe they have more to spend on beer because they spent less on a ticket...
    But I agree - no need to rush Wallace until later. Besides, Overbay has a better average than Aaron Hill and Randy Ruiz...

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  5. I was at the game last night, sitting right by the 3rd base dugout, one of the rare times I haven't been in the 500's. I've got to say, the energy level in the lower deck is horrendous - pure negativity. Not only were a bunch of people hating on Lyle, they were giving it to Vernon and Cito as well.
    Sure Overbay is having a hard time, but is the best way to help him out of his slump to chant "Overbay to Triple-A"? It was pretty brutal. The fans up top are so much more positive and joyful. Maybe they have more to spend on beer because they spent less on a ticket...
    But I agree - no need to rush Wallace until later. Besides, Overbay has a better average than Aaron Hill and Randy Ruiz...

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  6. QJays, I'm on the same page as you with this one. Overall, I think the Blue Jays paid about market value for Overbay. The problem is that he set the bar so high in his first season with the Jays, that some people use that as a yardstick for every other season.

    Yes, Cito should definitely be platooning Overbay, but at this point if he's stuck with Overbay, he may as well keep going with him if he's trying to prove his "loyalty" to the veteran players.

    Jeremy, sorry to hear to had to listen to those guys last night. Like most instances, a couple of bad apples have to spoil the whole bunch.

    Like I said earlier, now that Vernon has turned it around, fans need someone to point their fingers at ... and now it's Overbay.

    I've noticed that the weekend crowds are also a little friendlier than the weeknight crowds (maybe because there are more families at the Saturday/Sunday games). Because I was sitting on the third base side on Sunday, and there wasn't one boo for a Jays player.

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  7. Nice day for Overbay today.

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  8. Of course, the day after we call him out, he hits a double and a home run. It must've been the powder blues!

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  9. Why the rush to rid the team of Overbay? I don't understand all the hatred towards the guy. Yes, he's in a slump, but seems to be coming out of it. He's one of the better defensive first basemen and quite frankly, I'm disturbed at the ignorance of some fans who don't know a thing about playing defensive first base. On multiple occasions I've watched Overbay save his infield teammates from being charged with throwing errors, scooping horrible balls out of the dirt and relaying double plays. Wallace is not going to learn all the nuances of playing good defensive first base from one year in the minors. Yes the kid is the future and is tearing up the ball, but AAA is not the majors and what's gonna happen when he starts slumping and making errors at first base? Remember Travis Snider anyone? This kid Wallace hasn't faced major league pitching and everyone wants to kick Overbay to the curb and crown him? I know I'm in the distinct minority but I would prefer the jays keep Wallace in the minors at least two years, maybe three. Let's see if Wallace can tear it up consistently in the minors for more than one season. Resign Overbay for another year, reduced if possible, especially considering he's fully healed from his injury. I don't think baseball fans understand the severity of breaking bones in your hands because it grossly affects the entire swing mechanics. Another thing that is really stupid is the notion of having Overbay face right handers only. This is rediculous because nobody is considering the timing factor in facing pitches from both lefties and righties. Everyday major leaguers face lefties and righties, and Overbay has hit lefties in the past. Lyle Overbay is a doubles machine and he hit one of the furthest home runs I've seen in a long time. The jays will likely trade him, but I hope they don't. Wallace hasn't proven anything except beat up on minor league pitching.

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  10. Mr. Coltrane, thanks for the comment.

    I don't think there's an overall rush to get Overbay out of town, but I certainly don't think they're going to re-sign him. Brett Wallace will hopefully get the call up at same point this season and I'll keep my fingers crossed that he'll be the starting first baseman next season.

    Overbay is undoubtedly a great defensive asset to have on the team.

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