I was thinking about the discussions we've had, both positive/negative about the signings (or lack thereof) that the Pirates have made this off-season. There's, of course, been tons of talk about Lyle Overbay. While I feel he's a good solid signing, I realize that many don't. I think some are thinking more about what the Pirates MIGHT have signed (though it's hard to know any of that, unless we knew every free agent that the Pirates contacted, each one that they made an offer to, what the dealbreaker ended up being, and WHO broke off the talks - team or player). Some think that the Pirates should have addressed other areas (a reasonable argument, but not to be held over Overbay).
But it's this next point I want to discuss. He's not great. Or he's in decline. Or he doesn't project well. Take your pick.
So the chance that you catch a guy on his best year ever is just as likely each year. (The same is true for their worst - that's directed at you, Aki!!!)
People love to use past stats to predict future success, which isn't always a good idea. But, I think is reasonable to do over a 3-year contract. You aren't typically going to see a bad player, suddenly have 3 tremendous years in a row, where he suddenly returns to normal.
Where I think it's unreasonable, is discussing the potential impact of a player on a 1-year deal.
Lyle Overbay's career OPS in the majors is .805. Which when you throw him into group that could have played 1st this year: Pearce, Jones, Doumit, Bowker....oh yeah, he still ranks 1st.
Obviously, what he's do this year is completely up in the air, but to even cite his .805, since it's his average, has to have a huge error range.
So, let me ask those of you who throw a lot of stats around here to prove points, what's the % gap from their career numbers that is likely to occur in a one-year time frame?? Since any year COULD be that player's BEST year or their WORST year in their career. Obviously, a guy's not going to stray too far off of the mean, over a longer deal, but has anybody studied the percentage change impact that a player could have based on a 1-year deal.
Overbay could hit .300 again and clobber 40 HRs this year, play stellar defense and allow the Pirates to restock the farm at the trading deadline.
Or he could pull an Aki and just plain stink.