Lyle Overbay’s phone hasn’t been buzzing much this winter

14 Comments

In today’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo reports that free agent first baseman/DH Lyle Overbay hasn’t drawn much interest thus far in the off-season. Overbay turns 37 years old next month and has posted a below-average adjusted OPS in each of the past three seasons (88, 95, 87; 100 is average) but he proved to be quite useful to the Yankees when Mark Teixeira succumbed to a wrist injury.

If used as a platoon partner at first base or at DH, Overbay makes sense for a team looking to boost production on a budget. He posted a .748 OPS against right-handed pitching last season compared to .516 against lefties and has an .815/.684 split over his 13-year career. Cafardo suggests the Orioles or Indians could be fits but doesn’t expect Overbay to find a home until January.

Unfortunately for Overbay, this off-season has featured a glut of options at first base, so his value is less than it normally would be in a typical off-season. Five free agent first baseman signed multi-year deals, another six received a one-year deal, Kevin Youkilis went to Japan, and still there are in excess of ten free agent first basemen remaining including Overbay.

Julio Urias to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The news has gone from bad to worse for Dodgers’ left-hander Julio Urias, who is scheduled for anterior capsule surgery on his left shoulder next Tuesday and expected to be sidelined through the middle of the 2018 season. His MRI came back negative on Wednesday, giving the Dodgers some hope that the 20-year-old’s bout of shoulder inflammation wasn’t masking any structural damage, but the pain lingered several days later and prompted further concern from the club. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Urias was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City in late May and placed on the disabled list with left shoulder discomfort several weeks into his assignment. At the major league level, he owned a 5.40 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 4.2 SO/9 through 23 1/3 innings, going 0-2 in five starts with Los Angeles. He made a brief rebound in Triple-A, posting three wins and striking out 17 of 67 batters in 17 1/3 innings before landing on the DL.

It’s a tough blow for the southpaw, who had yet to hit his stride in the majors before getting sidelined with shoulder issues. The Dodgers were especially mindful of this outcome for Urias, and had taken preventative measures to protect his arm by establishing a strict innings limit last season. According to club president Andrew Friedman, there’s a small silver lining here: while Urias’ injury will keep him out of work for at least 12 months, he doesn’t appear to have sustained any damage to his labrum or rotator cuff, and could be facing a much more streamlined recovery process as a result. Whether he’ll be able to rebound once he takes the mound again remains to be seen.

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

Getty Images
4 Comments

Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.