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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Sources: Overbay will be designated for assignment

I’m hearing that the Pirates already have told Lyle Overbay he will be designated for assignment.

In that event, a team has 10 days to trade, waive or release a player. In Overbay’s case, given his miserable performance this year, that almost surely will lead to a release. Overbay is making $5 million on a one-year contract, and he will be paid all of that money, even with a release.

UPDATE 1:44 p.m.: Another source confirms it: Overbay will be DFA.

1:58: Here’s my full report on the Trib’s main site.


  1. Naje says:

    And while rejoice might be too strong a word over this news, thanks Lyle… and good luck.

  2. Naje says:

    Oh, and may Huntington learn from this consistent pattern of signing free agents who are in their 3rd or 4th year of decline and start going after guys who are in need of a bounce-back year, or, better yet, may actually still be near, or in, their prime.

  3. ExileInDC says:

    So what is path forward for (zero home runs) Matt Diaz?

  4. AJS says:


    I would hope seeing how this team battled and performed so far thsi season would be enough to start adding legitimate pieces in the off season. A total collapse down the stretch could change that. Notice I said I hope, not that it is a guarantee. The fans are interested and turning out to fill the stadium(tonights attendance should be interesting after the brutal road trip,) the team is playing hard and if even one of the pitchers continues to look real good, the FO will have no excuse not to spend on a legitimate free agent bat for first base and hopefully an upgrade at short. A starting pitcher should be ont eh shopping list as well.

    Next years opening day line-up:
    Presley RF
    Tabata LF
    McCutchen CF
    Walker 2B
    FA 1B
    Alvarez 3B
    FA SS
    McKenry C


    i don’t see Maholms option being picked up, though he is making it a really hard decision.

    And if they can get meek back at full strength and Hanrahan keeps it up, I like that team, assuming the FA pick ups are legitimate players.

  5. ExileInDC says:

    Not sure I buy that lineup, Naje, but just for fun, here is your shopping list for those two FA position players:

    First Basemen
    Lance Berkman STL
    Russell Branyan LAA
    Jorge Cantu SD
    Prince Fielder MIL
    Brad Hawpe SD
    Ross Gload PHI
    Nick Johnson CLE
    Derrek Lee PIT
    Xavier Nady ARI
    David Ortiz BOS
    Lyle Overbay PIT
    Carlos Pena CHC
    Albert Pujols STL
    Jim Thome MIN

    Yuniesky Betancourt MIL *
    Ronny Cedeno PIT
    Adam Everett CLE
    Rafael Furcal LAD
    Alex Gonzalez ATL
    J.J. Hardy BAL
    John McDonald TOR
    Augie Ojeda ARI
    Jose Reyes NYM
    Nick Punto STL
    Edgar Renteria CIN
    Jose Reyes NYM
    Jimmy Rollins PHI
    Ramon Santiago DET
    Marco Scutaro BOS *
    Jack Wilson SEA

    Not sure what I would do with that list.

  6. T.J. says:

    As we all know…The Pirates cannot afford to make mistakes. We do not have the $$$ that say the Philles, Yankees, Red Sox and others have. Biting the bullet and admitting to a mistake is always hard, but, very much necessary in this case. Continued best to L.O.

  7. SouthSideBucsFan says:

    JJ Hardy signed an extension, so I think you can take him off your list, Exile. But your larger point is still 100 percent right: There’s absolutely no one on that list (outside of pipe dreams like Pujols, Fielder and Reyes) who excites me.

  8. Bizrow says:

    Well, wonder when the other shoe will drop?

  9. Naje says:


    I do think this coming year’s free agents will be more enticing than last years. And all through this trade deadline process I’ve discussed how much more important this coming offseason will be in procuring some bigger, better bats. That said, Huntington has to come through this offseason in picking up those players… can’t just get guys who are clearly diminishing in their ability to hit for power.

    Question about the 8th inning relief role: aside from D. McCutchen, or even Resop, could this be a role for Ohlendorf or Lincoln in the short term? Long term? I know DK’s mentioned on several occasions that he believes that Ohlendorf is better suited for relief pitching rather than starting.

  10. sms says:

    must be a hard pill to swallow for this FO basically admitting the 5mil mistake. Question is who will fill the void for a left handed bat that can (is supposed) to hit for power..

  11. David says:

    Looking at the 3B market may also be a good idea. Alvarez has looked dreadful defensively so even if he starts hitting a move to 1B next year may not be a bad idea.

  12. Naje says:


    It beats giving him 220+ at bats at 1B over the next 56 games… gotta give them credit for the move. Slowly but surely, it seems the front office is getting their act together regarding major league moves for the 25 man roster. Off season should be a real harbinger for Huntington and his staff…

    @ Exile….

    Thanks for that early list of free agents… I’m sure we’ll be looking for more of those lists in October and November. And that lineup above was from AJS… my 2012 opening day lineup would look a bit different, but I’ll wait till next March to put that out.

  13. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @SMS: They’ve swallowed a lot of those pills, haven’t they?

    Anyone care to come up with a list of free-agent position players signed under Huntington?

  14. Robert says:

    Feel bad for Lyle. Let’s not put him in the same boat as Derrick Bell. He tried, his teammates liked him, wasn’t a clubhouse problem. Unfortunately he just lost it.

  15. neil says:

    should have done this weeks ago

  16. Justin says:

    Overbay actually was able to SHOW us what operation shutdown looks like on the field.

  17. Billy C says:

    The worst part about Overbay being gone is that Pearce is still with the club. I don’t know if it is his one handed K swing or what but that guy drives me crazy. I know he had good numbers in the minors but wow does he look bad in the bigs. Am I missing someting here fellow Bucco fans or is Pearce as bad as I think he is?

  18. sms says:


    yep they swallowed a few but also left a few on the table for way too long as well….

    I know the dislike for over”pay” (me too), but do we have another option for a left handed bat that can offer something off the bench… they’ll pay him anyway..

  19. Naterosboro says:

    Anyone care to come up with a list of free-agent position players signed under Huntington?

    No. It would only bring tears to the eyes.

  20. Guy says:

    Sick of hearing about NH’s free agent signing blunders. What do you expect. We have to win before the top free agents want to come here. Shut up already about it NH has done a great job, and the trades he made were responsible upgrades.

  21. Bizrow says:


    Like, like, like

  22. stewart says:

    Should have some extra money to spend next year. With Doumit,Snyder and Malholm leaving that would clear 20 million

  23. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    Welcome to all newcomers, even those who tell me to “shut up” as opposed to having a reasonable debate.

  24. Guy says:

    What is your debate on the topic? According to the people in the Pittsburgh media the pirates have tried to get the higher level free agents, but they went to perennial winners for the same amount of money instead of coming to a team who most likely wasn’t going to win this year. Can’t expect Lance Berkman and guys of that nature to come here now. And I dont want to trade our top pitchers or guys such as starling marte to get the top rental players to come here either.

  25. Holla says:

    jaramillo should be given a shot to start next season……when he stepped for doumit in ’09 he was very adequate from what i recall. i saw him pick a guy off last week that was nothing short of sickening….staff seems to throw well to him. ss should be shopped through FA, many good players to be had…..1b should be given 100% to Jones…guys like that need to play everday to work kinks out. he could be peligroso(dangerous)

  26. dcpinpgh says:

    This begs the age old question: i see the talk between Frank and Neal going something like this

    Frank:, while I agree that, in time, our team will be most triumphant. The truth is, the Piarates will never be a super team until we have superstar.
    Neal: Yes, Frank. But, I do not believe we will get a superstar until we have a triumphant team.
    Frank: Neal, it’s pointless to have a triumphant team before we even have decent 1B & RF.
    Neal: Well, how can we have decent 1B & RF when they don’t really even know how to play?
    Frank: That is why we NEED a superstar!
    Neal: And THAT is why we need a triumphant team.
    Frank and Neal: EXCELLENT!

  27. Naterosboro says:

    @ Bizrow

    Lol. I mean, Chris Gomez, Luis Rivas, Lyle Overbay, Matt Diaz (altho he was signed as a bench player), Doug Mientkiewicz, Eric Hinske, and there are probably a few others, but that’s all I can think of off the top.

    It’s a sad list.

    I do like what they’ve done with the pitching though, and that needs to be the foundation the org. is built on.

    While it is a bit disheartening to see Owens, Locke, Morris, and, to a much lesser extent, Wilson not having great years, but they’re young enough where they have some time to bounce back. Not much tho. Clock is ticking…..tick….tock…tick….

  28. impliedi says:

    Sad to see Overbay go as he seemed like a great guy and has been such a good ballplayer for a long time, but obviously his time was up.

    As others have mentioned, it would have been nice to see Overbay stay on as a guy off the bench (since they’re still paying him anyway).

    If the Pirates stick around in the hunt, late in the year, I would have liked to see Overbay on that bench, I’d have a little more confidence in him (for one at-bat) than say Steve Pearce or Brandon Wood (and often Jones.)

    But obviously, the Pirates feel there is a roster crunch coming soon, so better to get him out of the way, I guess.

  29. Naterosboro says:

    Forgot Bobby Crosby. How could I forget Bobby Crosby?

  30. gjs1982 says:

    noticed thome on the 1b FA list for next yr.. how many baseballs could he put into the river?? although im sure he’d prefer to DH

  31. Suckmeter says:

    Letting go of Lyle Overbay sucks. He was such a consistent run producer and also a great defensive 1B…wait…my wife, who knows absolutely nothing about baseball, just told me he was neither of those two things. She says everytime she walked into the room when the game was on he was making an out. I guess he did suck.

  32. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @Suckmeter: Been waiting for you to show up here one of these days. Sucks that it took so long.

  33. Hubby_88 says:

    Apparently every other team knows his time is up as we could not even get a new scooter for the parrot in a deal…

  34. Suckmeter says:

    It sucks to think about writing more than 140 characters.

  35. stewart says:

    Hopefully the old saying of build it and they will come will work in the future. If we can finish the year strong, maybe free agents will be more open to coming here.

  36. Thundercrack says:

    1) Overbay might be a good guy, but I was very surprised by the lack of hustle.

    2) NH signings of position players hasn’t been good. But they guy hasn’t been shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue. He’s mostly been at the Dollar Store. Maybe the lesson learned will be to put the money into one or two proven major leaguers who are young enough to still have something left….than hoping that guys like Church, Overbay or Diaz still have another year left.

    3) Maybe the other lesson should be instead of paying Overbay $5 mil, you pay him $2 million. Instead of 2 years, $4 million for Diaz, you pay him $1.5 for one year. And if they don’t want to take it, play some young kids and let them gain experience.

  37. frost says:

    thanks lyle for your great year i hope you have a terrible future in baseball because you are terrible and let the whole cith of pittsburgh down
    thank you once again,

  38. Robert Goulet says:

    Off the top of my head, these are the free agent position players NH has signed;

    (Note, not counting players acquired in trades of from waivers)

    Bobby Crosby, Ryan Church, Lyle Overbay, Matt Diaz, Chris Gomez, Eric Hinske, Cesar Izturis, Jason Michaels, Doug Mientkiewicz, Craig Monroe, Josh Phelps, Josh Wilson, Garrett Atkins, Andy Marte.


  39. RI Bucco says:

    Let’s not lose focus of something that has been lost in the last few months of good ball. The Pirates aren’t going to win with a bottom dwelling payroll. It’s been really nice that Hurdle’s squad has diverted our attention away from ownership and onto the field, which is where it should be. It’s so refreshing to actually follow baseball instead of ownership….Then it occurred to me…

    Whatever one’s view of the job NH has done, I would venture to say that he’s done that job in spite of his owner. We have heard that payroll will increase when the “time is right”. And we are seeing some very modest follow through on that ever so vague of promises.

    Unfortunately for us, there is more than just modest improvement needed in major leage payroll necessary. No excuse why the Brew Crew can pay a Fielder to hit balls off steel structures beyond bleachers but the Pirates can’t. If next year’s major league payroll isn’t in the 80 million range, I would maintain that Nutting is continuing a brutal game with our fan base.

    Also, I wouldn’t be listening for many soundbites from big Frank C. This is about the time of year he goes incommunicado.

    I don’t want to be negative, but I fear the worst is still ahead with this season. Somebody give me a reason why I’m wrong.

  40. Thundercrack says:

    I wouldn’t count on Free Agents suddenly finding the Pirates a desirable team to play for just because we’ve started to win more often.

    It is all about the money. It is with 95% of all athletes. Look at Plaxico Burress. He went to the team who offered him the most money…even though another team was willing to offer him a longer term deal (in a city he was comfortable in)

  41. mwhit14 says:

    One of my biggest concerns with the Huntingdon regime has been the inability to judge current major league talent. Overbay now adds another piece of evidence. Frankly, it makes me wonder about the value we’ll get from DLee and Ludwick, even though we didn’t give up much for them. I honestly thought Overbay would be a good pickup, but I’m not the “expert.” Perhaps the Bucs need to overhaul the major league scouting department?

  42. stewart says:

    I know it’s all about the money, but they wouldn’t come before even when the money was comparable because of our losing ways. Look at carlos beltran. He didn’t want to come here and it would have been the same money.

  43. stewart says:

    It’s interseting that they have done well with FA pitchers but not the position players.

  44. JollyRoger says:

    I hope Huntington learns a lesson that brining in this $5 million players just are not cutting it. The Pirates have some positions for the first time locked up now go out and bring in some legitimate players this offseason. Don’t go bring in this players that are at the end of their careers. So many players come to Pittsburgh to end their careers. You can add Offerbay to that list. Come on Neil bring in a legitimate player.

  45. RI Bucco says:

    Kubel was the guy they really could have used…

  46. Bud Watkins says:

    Overbay is finally gone. Thank God. Now when Presley returns, Diaz is the next to go hopefully. Him and Overbay were huge free agent busts. Credit the Pirate front office though with taking full responsibility with Overbay. 2 dead weight players remain on this roster Cedeno and Diaz. I suggest Wood at SS and you already have the players to replace Diaz. Hope after this season we no longer make free agent mistakes on washed up players. Just ask Dave Littlefield about Jeromy Burnitz and he’ll tell you all about aging free agents. Matt Morris as well. Good Luck the rest of season, job well done so far!!

    Bud Watkins, Greensburg,Pa

  47. Better Days Coming says:

    RI Bucco,

    The jury is out on whether the Brewers will pay Fielder. They stepped up on Braun. Let’s see what happens to the rest of their young core as the contracts come up.

    As for bringing in “better” FAs, look at the list for next season and identify what you’d be willing to dole out large(r) checks for. The pickings are slim. I think a larger trade might be their better or more likely option.

    Finally, do we really have to make it personal with Overbay? He was a bad signing. He didn’t perform and now he’s gone. Can we leave it at that and stop disparaging him? I don’t know him at all but jeez, some of the venom is pretty pointless.

  48. Better Days Coming says:


    Didn’t mean to imply those last two points were directed at you. Just the Fielder comment. Thanks.

  49. Andy T says:

    My (half-humorous) guess as to why Overbay was DFA instead of Pearce, Diaz or someone else:

    NH was afraid that Hurdle would keep putting Overbay in the lineup if he didn’t send Lyle off the map.

  50. MrB says:

    This blog is getting more like Smiziks every day and that is not a compliment.

  51. buccos since '04 says:

    I’ll b disappointed if they don’t win the next 56.

  52. Donald says:

    I agree with Guy, i dont want to tell Dejan to shut up, but i mean what do you expect Neal to do? He can not go out and sign players like Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth, ETC. By the way, they all have been busts so far after getting 120 million plus contracts. Neal is brining in players who have been good previously for relatively low amounts of money. Overbay was a bad sign, but you cant say Marte and Atkins are because they never got a chance to play. Im glad we didnt trade for big rental players at the deadline because i dont want to lose top prospects for players like Beltran and Ubaldo.

    I mean people are calling for Garrett Jones to take Overbay’s spot, but lets face it he has been TERRIBLE all year and the last few years, he cant hit with runners on and is a defensive liability in the outfield.

    Lets give Neal credit because players we traded that were only good in Pittsburgh have been not good lately. Freddy and Jack have been hurt, Bay was good in a great lineup in Boston and a bum now in New York. So give Neal credit for what he has done with the little money he has had. He needs more time to build this team up and is doing a good job with it in the draft. I stand behind Neal and always will.

  53. FormerSoxFan says:

    I’m not sure why people keep including Cedeno as “dead weight” or SS as a position that needs to be filled. Cedeno has been fine this year. I think the problem stems from the overall stinkiness of the offense. With better offense at 1B and RF you can accept Ronny’s offense in exchange for the above-average defense he’s played.

  54. FormerSoxFan says:

    Piggybacking off of what Donald said . . .

    The problem with the Pirates and FAs isn’t just the average salary, i.e. paying Overbay $5M/year as opposed to $17M/year for Werth. It’s the length of the contract. Star players coming off their arbitration years are going to seek 5-8 years on their deals. And it’s at the end of those deals where you can really run into a problem.

    Look at Carl Crawford as an example. He was signed to a sevn-year deal at age 29. He’ll be 36 at the end of his contract. Even assuming he had maintained his level of production from last season to this season, we know that for a player with his skillset, production would decrease significantly over the last couple of years of his contract.

    For a team like the Red Sox, they can accept the burden his contract will have in 2016-2017 in exchange for what he would provide in the first few years (or at least what they thought he would provide). The Pirates don’t have the luxury to have that kind of contract on their books a few years down the line.

  55. JaxBuc says:

    Thome hasn’t played an first base in five years. He’s strictly a DH, and is turning 41 this summer. Even the Pirates FO would not view him a solution at first base.

  56. pattonbb says:

    Good luck Lyle. I was really pulling for you. Until the last month or so..then I was ready to light some torches and chase you out of town like villagers chasing Frankenstein.

    All kidding aside. This move had to be made. He’ll probably go to the AL next year and hit .300 with 35 hrs.

    The FO whiffed on a lot of FA signings, but I really think they’re getting better. They were in on a few big names up until the trade deadline. If they understand they might have to overpay for some real help, things will get better. Detroit was in a similar situation just a few years ago. In 2004 they overpaid for Pudge and in 2006 they did the same for Rogers. Worked out pretty good for them. This offseason will be the true test for our FO.

  57. Absolute59 says:

    List of FA position player signings by NH according to BA. Does not included players traded for

    2008-Raul Chavez; Chris Gomez; Doug Meintkiewicz; Luis Rivas
    2009-Hinske; Garrett Jones; Jeff Salazar; Ramon Vazquez
    2010-Church; Crosby; Kratz
    2011-Brown; Diaz; Overbay; Toregas

    Additionally he added X. Paul and Brandon Wood by claiming off of waivers

  58. SeanE says:

    One thing to consider in FA signings by Huntington is that he was doing so with one arm tied behind his back. When finances force you to go dumpster diving you likely are going to pick up a few things that don’t smell very good. Generally, NH has done a good job with FA pitchers and building a bullpen….not so well on position players.

  59. JollyRoger says:

    Hey Dejan I know there is still a lot of baseball to be played this season but what are your thoughts on a Lance Berkman for next season as a Free Agent? I know he has been great then bad and he has rebounded this season. I am not sure how much he has left in the tank.

  60. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @JR: Not really into the speculative thing. Plenty of real issues to discuss. I like Berkman. Always have. Not surprised he’s hitting this well.

  61. JollyRoger says:

    Thanks for the response Dejan I am a big bucco fan but also frustrated.Let me ask you one more question Dejan. I follow the bucs drafts and minors. My thoughts with the Pirates are Huntington is in love with drafting pitchers. I know 3 years ago they drafted I think 8 of the first 10 rounds right handed pitchers. Almost every year since Huntington came on board he has drafted a pitcher in the first round. If they don’t draft bats and they have shown no ability to sign bats in the offseason. Then how do the Pirates ever expect to have any quality bats? I was at the game tonight and I left every frustrated.

  62. Dejan Kovacevic says:

    @JR: Simply put, you draft what’s there in baseball, not by need. Past two drafts have been pitching heavy.

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