St. Louis Cardinals’ Outfielder Tyler O’Neill Could Be on the Move
Former MVP Candidate’s Performance Declines, Opening Trade Opportunities
St. Louis Cardinals’ outfielder Tyler O’Neill, once considered a potential MVP candidate, has seen a significant decline in his performance since his standout season in 2021. Back then, O’Neill boasted an impressive slash line of .286/.352/.560, with an OPS+ of 148. He even secured a well-deserved Gold Glove, further strengthening his case for the prestigious MVP award. However, in the subsequent years of 2022 and 2023, O’Neill’s numbers took a nosedive, slashing just .229/.310/.397, resulting in an OPS+ of only 97 in a limited 572 at-bats. As the arbitration deadline looms, O’Neill’s future with the Cardinals hangs in the balance.
While O’Neill’s strikeout rate has decreased and his walk rate has increased since 2021, it is his hard-hit rate that has suffered the most. Plunging from 52.2% to 43.3% in both 2022 and 2023, this decline has been a significant factor in his overall performance. However, defensively, O’Neill has remained a consistent force. Outs Above Average data reveals that he has been a positive defender in left field since his rookie season. Accumulating 11 Defensive Runs Saved since 2021, O’Neill’s strong arm and decent range make him an ideal fit for a corner outfield position.
With a weak free agent market for position players, the trade market for offensive talent is expected to heat up during the Hot Stove season. The Cardinals, boasting an abundance of position player depth, could capitalize on teams seeking to bolster their offense. General Manager John Mozeliak may find a perfect trade partner for Tyler O’Neill by targeting teams with surplus pitching talent but lacking offensive firepower.
Several teams are in dire need of an outfield power bat, and O’Neill’s Gold Glove-caliber defense adds an extra allure. The New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Guardians, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, and the San Francisco Giants are all potential suitors looking to upgrade their outfield. These teams appear poised to contend for their respective divisions next season, making an upgrade in the corner outfield a priority.
Here are six teams that could greatly benefit from trading for Tyler O’Neill and what they could offer the Cardinals in return: