• Chris Lollis

St. Louis Cardinals: Thoughts on Tyler O’Neill

Tyler O’Neill photo credit Chris Lee (St. Louis Post Dispatch)

Tyler O’Neill was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals on July 21, 2017 from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for pitcher Marco Gonzales.

At the time, many Cardinals fans were perplexed thinking that the lefty pitcher that this team was giving up on, was doing so too soon. After being traded to Seattle, Marco went 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA with 30 strikeouts in 36.2 innings pitched in 2017, followed by going 13-9 with a 4.00 ERA, 145 strikeouts in 166.2 innings pitched last season.

O’Neill on the other hand, finished his 2017 season helping the Memphis Redbirds win the PCL Championship and was ranked the Cardinals fourth best prospect heading into 2018.

He got called up and sent down a few times by St. Louis last season, in part of raking at the AAA level, Dexter Fowler’s injury and the trading of Tommy Pham. After being called up on July 31, following the Pham trade, Tyler spent the remainder of the season with the Cardinals.

At age 23, O’Neill finished his first MLB season with a slashline of .254/.303/.500 with 9 HR and 23 RBI. In 130 AB’s in 61 games, he accumulated 33 hits (5 doubles), 2 SB, 29 R, and struck out 57 times while walking 7 times.

He played each outfield position for the Cardinals in ‘18, and with the uncertainty of Dexter Fowler’s future in St. Louis, is a player that the Cardinals definitely covet.

Adolis Garcia, who received minimal opportunity in the majors last season, currently sits behind O’Neill on the depth chart.

Tyler’s high strikeout rate leaves a bit to be desired, but the organization does like the power that he provides. With Bryce Harper being the free agent outfield bat that many fans want to see the Cardinals pursue, the potential inability to move Dexter Fowler due to his no-trade clause, could be problematic.

If St. Louis pursues Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the asking price of prospects in that trade, would start with pitching but may have to include an Adolis Garcia or Tyler O’Neill.

While, Marcell Ozuna is still under contract and will be manning LF next season, the possibility of a “bro-dacious” outfield of Bryce Harper & Harrison Bader, could see Tyler O’Neill as the future fit in left. That’s assuming the Cardinals land the most sought after free agent, and decide to move on from Ozuna after next season.

If you were the Cardinals GM, what would your plans be as it pertains to the power hitting O’Neill? A fit now? A fit in the future? Or, a trade piece waiting to happen?

Let us know in the comments.

Thanks for Reading.

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