Free Agent Forecast: Lyle Overbay
The story of Lyle Overbay in 2013 is actually pretty remarkable. He was a very late invite to Spring Training for the Yankees, who had lost Mark Teixeira to injury and were desperate for a first basemen. Overbay was there essentially for a tryout, and he impressed the coaching staff enough to earn a spot on the roster. He never gave it up, and ended up playing in 142 games for the Yanks, hitting .240 with 14 homers and 59 RBIs. Although his stats are far from what Teixeira's would have been, Overbay was consistent with his glove and had some very clutch hits. The 36-year-old wore down towards the end of the season, and lost some playing time against lefties to Mark Reynolds. Overbay's best seasons were with Milwaukee and Toronto earlier in his career, and he was known as a doubles machine. Last season was the first time since 2010 that he had hit over 10 home runs.
Overbay is going to be looking for backup gigs, that's for sure. But there's really no reason to think he won't be able to get one. He held his own for the Yankees as their starter, and is a very good guy to have in the clubhouse. He's a team-first guy, and can easily mentor any young first basemen that's coming up. For AL teams, Overbay can serve as an extra pinch-hit bat, as well as a defensive replacement in both the American and National leagues. In terms of his chances to return to the Yankees, it mostly depends on their interest in guys like Mark Reynolds and Eric Chavez, who could play both first and third base. If the Yankees sign either one, Overbay has almost no shot at returning. However, Overbay would make sense as insurance to Teixeira after Tex missed almost the entire 2013 campaign due to injury.
I think there are two options for Overbay: he will either retire and call it a career (and a very respectable one, at that) or he will sign on as a bench player for around the league minimum. Either way, I doubt you'll see him back in pinstripes in 2014. At the very least, he'll get invites to Spring Training from big league clubs that see potential.