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Lesser Brewers: Lyle Overbay

Lyle Overbay wasn't the most exciting choice to platoon at first base, but he proved his value as the season wore on.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

When the season began, I don't think too many people were particularly excited for Lyle Overbay receiving platoon-starting time at first base. I know I wasn't particularly pleased, while others had an appreciation for it in part because of nostalgia.

Overbay had been on the downside of his career for the last few years before signing with Milwaukee, culminating in a 2013 line of .240/.295/.393 in 142 games with the Yankees. The Brewers brought him in on a minor league contract and lo and behold he earned a roster spot out of spring training as platoon-mates with Mark Reynolds in what was just an absolutely fierce competition for first base duties (/s).

Over the first two months of the season, Overbay didn't do much to make people more comfortable with him receiving playing time. His defense was fine as ever, but through May he hit just .210/.294/.305 while starting in 27 games and seeing time in 14 more.

Funny thing is, though, is Overbay started to actually hit a bit after that. The Brewers don't particularly excel at taking pitches, but over the last four months of 2014 Overbay was among the team's best in drawing walks. Though he batted just .248, he got on base at a .350 clip from June on thanks to 23 walks in 177 plate appearances. He didn't blow the world away, of course, but he became an acceptable role player by virtue of his OBP and defense.

Though Overbay made 27 starts in April and May, he saw just 37 starts from June-September despite his improved hitting. The Brewers seemed to have lost a lot of faith in both him and Reynolds at some point, playing guys like Jonathan Lucroy and Matt Clark more at first as the sun set on 2014.

Still, in the end Overbay managed to be a nice complimentary player on the 2014 Brewers. That makes me happy -- he was a fan favorite before Prince Fielder ascended to the first base throne and the 'O' chants lived on in his return. His career is probably over. If that's true, I think he went out on a pretty positive note.

Best Game

By WPA, Overbay's best game came on August 15 against the Dodgers in a 6-3 Brewers win. With the game tied 2-2 in the eighth inning, Overbay pinch-hit with the bases loaded. Overbay brought all three runners home with a sharp double into left field, giving Milwaukee a lead they would not relinquish as they bested old friend Zack Greinke and company.

Statistically, Overbay didn't have many stand-out games. His best was probably September 20 against the Pirates when he went 2-3 with a walk and hit two doubles. That was one of 11 two-hit games for Overbay in 2014, and one of four where he reached base safely three times.

Contract Status

Overbay was playing on a one-year deal in 2014, making him a free agent. He doesn't figure to factor into the Brewers' future plans. Early this off-season Overbay said he was '99.9% sure' to retire and there hasn't been any word otherwise.