Let me start off by saying I think highly of Lyle Overbay. He's a great defensive first basemen, one of the best in the league. He hits well for a first basemen, although he lacks homerun power. He makes up for it with doubles though, and his plate patience is good. Acquiring Overbay most likely means that Shea Hillenbrand or Eric Hinkse is on their way out of Toronto. The good news? The Jays may actually get a useful part in exchange for one of them, which would be a plus.
Gabe Gross: After tearing up spring training, Gross went down to Triple-A Syracuse and hit well, but not overly impressive. His line was .297/.380/.438, which was the same as his Double-A line the year before with a tad less power. In 102 plate appearances in the majors he did not seem to cut it offensively, but his defense was superb in both corner spots. It will be interesting to see if Alexis Rios' bat can develop in order to fend off Gross, because they are defensive equals. The Jays could use some more offense in the lineup and in the outfield, so if Gross does finally hit major league pitching they have themselves an in-house solution.
David Bush: Bush has done well for himself in the first 234 innings of his major league career. His main problems seem to be a below average strikeout rate with too many homeruns given up, something that showed up in his ERA this season. Bush is a solid back of the rotation option at this point, and if he can lower his homeruns allowed rate he would increase his value greatly. Expect Bush to improve as time goes no, not to get worse, since he is only 25 years old.
A good package for Overbay, but I think considering the Jays situation, it may benefit them more. Zach Jackson appeared to be rushed through the minors after dominating at Single-A at age 22 (read: old for the level), pitched at a level that can best be described as "meh" in Double-A, and was hammered in Triple-A. I'll have more on Jackson later when I get home to my books and am able to research him a little more.
Update [2005-12-8 13:45:48 by Marc Normandin]: I found this online in regards to Zach Jackson, from the website Blue Jays Farm Report:
MLB: Large frame. Excellent body. Physical specimen. Broad sloped shoulders. Strong, muscular, durable, proportioned, athletic build. Quick full windup, 3/4 delivery. Loose, easy arm. Hides ball well. Sneaky quick fb w/ deception, most 89-91, armside tail, occaisional cuts. Ball gets on hitter quick. Not afraid to pitch inside. Circle change w/ sink, deception. 3/4 slurve w/ signs tight rotation, depth. Pitchability. Shows potential 3 ml pitches w/ plus command & deception. Excellent make-up.
Baseball America: Teams that covet performance won't be able to ignore his numbers from the Cape Cod League last summer (6-0, 1.88). Jackson commands three solid pitches: an 88-93 mph fastball that holds its velocity for nine innings, a slider that's a big improvement over his old curveball and a circle changeup. He's durable and athletic at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, and the fact that he's lefthanded enhances the total package even more.
Adding Overbay improves the lineup, and improves the defense. First base was one of the few positions the Jays had last year without above average defensive value. Now they have a better first base bat than either Hillenbrand or Hinkse, and they have a much, much better glove there. Overbay is also a low cost acquisition, since he made less than $500,000 in 2005, and will enter arbitration for the first time this winter, but won't pull in as much as either Shea or Hinkse. I like this move more than the pitching acquisitions to be honest, but I'm cheap :-)
For the very first news/analyis post, I'm putting up an opinion poll. Have at it!