Blue Jays trade for Lyle Overbay

After spending $102 million US on pitchers A.J. Burnett and B.J. Ryan, the Toronto Blue Jays traded for affordable offence in first baseman Lyle Overbay.

Overbay, 28, was acquired Wednesday from the Milwaukee Brewers for pitcher Dave Bush, outfielder Gabe Gross and a prospect - in all likelihood, pitcher Zach Jackson.

"I think we are going to show that we can compete in the American League East," Overbay told the Toronto Sun.

"We have added two good arms and a bat we really wanted," Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi pointed out. "We'd like to get one more bat."

Overbay, who earned $446,000 US in 2005 but is eligible for salary arbitration, hit .276 with 19 home runs, 72 runs batted in and 80 runs scored in 158 games last season, his second full season in Milwaukee.

The five-year veteran is a .285 hitter with 39 HRs, 188 RBIs and 186 runs in 415 games with Arizona Diamondbacks and Brewers, but his departure paves the way for Prince Fielder, son of former Blue Jays slugger Cecil Fielder, to play regularly at first base.

"He'd better be ready now," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said of Fielder.

"He (Overbay) knew it was going to happen. He's seen Prince play.

"He knows what kind of player he is. Now he's going to get a chance to have a good career."

Bush posted a 5-11 record with a 4.49 earned-run average and two complete games in 24 starts and a relief appearance in 2005.

The 26-year-old right-hander went 5-4 with a 3.69 ERA and one complete game in 16 starts during his rookie campaign.

Gross, 26, played 84 games for the Blue Jays over two seasons, averaging .226 with four HRs, 23 RBIs and 29 runs.

Jackson pitched at three different minor-league levels last year, his first as a pro.

The 22-year-old left-hander was drafted 32nd overall by Toronto in 2004.

"We've got some very good positional prospects, (but) we're a little short on pitchers," Melvin said. "So this deal allows us to get better."

with files from CP Online