Lyle Overbay came up in the Diamondbacks organization as a guy who hit for a high average with medium power and walks. He only had one season in the minors where he hit below .342. Arizona thought that he would be a younger and cheaper version of the guy he was replacing (Mark Grace). He was the most usual first baseman for the D-Backs in 2003 hitting .276/.365/.402/.767 but with only 4 homers. Remember that this era was a much more offensive environment and it was also in a friendly hitters’ park, so this wasn’t quite as impressive as Arizona had hoped. Also, Overbay was already 26. In the offseason, Arizona decided to make a big trade with Milwaukee for Richie Sexson and sent Overbay to the Brewers.
Overbay was roughly a league average first baseman for Milwaukee over the next 2 years hitting .289/.376/.464, for an .840 OPS and an 118 OPS+. After 2 seasons he was then traded to Toronto where he was the regular first baseman for the next 5 seasons. However, during this time, Overbay’s major skill which was hitting for average began to decline as he passed the wrong side of age 30. After 2010, when Overbay hit .243/.329/.433, Toronto let him leave as a free agent and Overbay went to Pittsburgh.
Overbay was a failure as the first baseman for Pittsburgh and lost his job midseason. After Pittsburgh released him he was picked up by his original organization, Arizona, where for the past season he has been primarily used as a pinch-hitter. He has done well in this role hitting with above an .800 OPS since last August and seems to be a good pickup for the Braves if he can continue at this level, since Eric Hinske looks toast.
He is not a great defensive first baseman, with a -3.8 defensive bWAR over his career.