Lyle Overbay, by virtue of signing a minor-league deal with the Red Sox this off-season, could opt-out at noon on Tuesday if he was not going to make the Opening Day roster. The Red Sox didn't let it get to that point, though, and instead have released Overbay roughly an hour before that deadline.
It was expected he would make the club as a bench player, but then the Red Sox traded with the Mariners for the designated Mike Carp. While spring training isn't exactly going to tell you about how a player's season is going, when you have two fringe guys vying for one roster spot, and one of them hits .220/.327/.341, they don't exactly make their case any stronger, either. While Carp did no better in his own spring performance, he has at least played in the outfield in the majors before, making him more useful as a depth piece if that's what Boston wants to have around.
Granted, Carp is a terrible defensive outfielder, but that probably just goes to show you what Boston thought of Overbay's chances of handling a corner outfield spot if pressed into action.
Cutting Overbay now keeps him from deciding to stick around and collect a $100,000 bonus on his way to an assignment at Triple-A. While the depth would have been nice to have, especially given David Ortiz's Achilles and Mike Napoli's hip, Mark Hamilton and Mauro Gomez are both younger and around to soak up the at-bats between first base and designated hitter. There is also Alex Hassan for the DH slot, even though he is normally an outfielder. Pawtucket's outfield is overflowing with options, even with Ryan Kalish out of action, and since Hassan is on the 40-man roster, he's going to need to get consistent playing time at the level.
It's likely Overbay will sign quickly, with someone like the Brewers or the Yankees. The Brewers are without Corey Hart but also Mat Gamel, who was slated to replace him. The Yankees are going to miss Mark Teixeira for a couple of months, and their current first base depth chart includes the likes of Dan Johnson and outfielder Juan Rivera. Even though Overbay's spring wasn't strong, one hopes that he's headed to the National League just to squash even the potential of him helping out a rival now that he's a free agent once more.