Former Pack star Overbay knows Wallace is at his heels
DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) – Toronto’s Lyle Overbay has heard the rumors, and not for the first time. He’s been traded twice in his nine-year career Now, the Blue Jays have Brett Wallace, a first baseman-in-waiting.
So Overbay, in the final year of his contract, says won’t be surprised to be playing elsewhere come next season.
“To be honest, yeah. Absolutely,” he said. “The way they’re going, it seems like they’re setting the table for the young guys.”
The 23-year-old Wallace, a fast-track minor leaguer acquired from Oakland, likely will start his third professional season at Triple-A Las Vegas to give him as much playing time as possible.
But if Wallace’s bat is as good as the Blue Jays hope it will be, the 33-year-old Overbay and his $7 million contract could be gone by the July 31 trade deadline.
In 2003, Arizona included Overbay in a nine-player deal that sent him to Milwaukee. Two years later, the Brewers made room for rookie first baseman Prince Fielder by shipping Overbay to the Blue Jays.
“I’ve been there before. I’ve been there with Prince Fielder,” said Overbay, who played collegiately at Nevada before being drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1999. “When (Wallace) is ready, he’ll be here. They have to look to the future.”
“There’s always somebody behind you. It’s just the way this game is,” he said.
Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston wants Overbay to stifle any thoughts about where he’ll be next season and concentrate on his one.
“To worry about, ‘Hey, this could be my last year here,’ I think that’s something you should put aside and just go, ‘Hey, I’m going to have the best year ever and I’ll give them the chance of bringing me back or not bringing me back.”‘
Overbay hit .265 last year with 16 home runs and 64 RBIs.
Alex Anthopoulos, the Blue Jays’ first-year general manager, says he appreciates how Overbay feels.
“I understand there’s a lot of talk in the offseason and he’s in the last year of his deal and it’s clear we’re going with a younger-type team,” Anthopoulos said. “He understands the direction we’re going, but he also realizes that he wants to help the team win and wants to have as good a year as he can. We’ll see how things go.”
Shortly after last season, rumors surfaced that the Blue Jays were contemplating a trade with the Diamondbacks to deal Overbay for catcher Chris Snyder. Anthopolous called Overbay to tell him not to be concerned.
“Alex told me that I’m here and they want me here. That’s all I want,” Overbay said.
NOTES: Gaston’s wife Linda underwent an appendectomy Thursday and was to remain hospitalized overnight. Gaston, who did not attend training camp, took his wife to the hospital when she awoke and said she felt ill. The team said he was expected back Friday.