MLB insider anticipates Yankees push to sign Cardinals’ unhappy slugger

The Yankees target and Cardinals slugger Tyler O'Neill played WBC for Canada in 2023.

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The New York Yankees may be preparing for a deadline-day trade for St. Louis slugger Tyler O’Neill. There has been ongoing speculation about the potential trade of outfielder Tyler O’Neill, who has been the subject of trade rumors throughout the season.

According to a report by Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Yankees have emerged as a team that could be interested in acquiring the Cardinals’ two-time Gold Glove winner.

The report claims that there has been discussion regarding the possibility of the St. Louis Cardinals becoming sellers in light of their recent decline. While the Cardinals initially stated their intention not to sell a few weeks ago, their unexpected slump has raised doubts about their stance. The Yankees’ owner is open to adding reinforcements.

Yankees-Cardinals trade a possibility

Things look brighter for the Yankees, as it is worth noting that the Cardinals have a history of not engaging in selling moves. The upcoming 2023 MLB Trade Deadline is expected to be a hectic and active period for the St. Louis Cardinals.

According to sources, there is speculation that the St. Louis Cardinals may consider selling some players ahead of the trade deadline. In particular, free agents Jordan Montgomery and Jack Flaherty are being mentioned as potential trade options. Additionally, given the Cardinals’ surplus in the outfield, Tyler O’Neill has emerged as a logical candidate for a trade. It has been suggested that the New York Yankees, who are in need of a left fielder, could be interested in acquiring the slugger.

With a disappointing record of 27-42, the St. Louis Cardinals find themselves in last place in the National League Central. Despite their struggles, there remains a glimmer of hope for the Cardinals to make a comeback in the division race. The NL Central has been underperforming this year, creating an opportunity for St. Louis to climb the standings. However, the Cardinals must act swiftly and reverse their fortunes. Currently, they trail the division-leading Pittsburgh Pirates by a margin of eight games.

In 2021, Tyler O’Neill displayed his power with an impressive 34 home runs and a strong OPS+ of 148, although it came with a high strikeout total of 168. And the Yankees need offensive support. However, the following year in 2022, he experienced a notable decline in his performance, hitting just .228 with 14 home runs in 96 games. Unfortunately, he also had to sit out the Cardinals’ brief postseason due to a hamstring injury.

At the beginning of the 2023 season, there were high expectations for Tyler O’Neill as he showcased his skills and received acclaim from his manager, Oli Marmol, after performing well in the World Baseball Classic. However, tensions arose between him and the Cardinals when he was suddenly pulled from games, benched, and given a directive to meet a “higher standard” in April. This incident strained the relationship between Tyler O’Neill and the team. This could help the Yankees get hold of him.

Presently, Tyler O’Neill is sidelined with an injury but is expected to embark on a rehab assignment in the near future. Considering the Cardinals’ surplus of outfielders at the major league level, it would be logical for them to explore a move involving O’Neill. Such a trade could yield a valuable return for the Cardinals, especially considering the earlier drama that unfolded during the season. A fresh start for O’Neill with a new team, such as the Yankees, could be a favorable option for all parties involved.

With a promising future ahead of him, there is a possibility that the Cardinals may choose to retain the 27-year-old outfielder. However, it’s worth considering that acquiring a starting pitcher through trade could provide more long-term benefits for the club. As the 2023 MLB Trade Deadline draws near, it is expected that the Cardinals will undergo significant changes and look different after August 1st and the Yankees can get the prized asset.

Who is Tyler O’Neill?

St. Louis Cardinals' Tyler O'Neill watches his two-run home run during the third inning of the team's baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday, July 13, 2019, in St. Louis.
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Hailing from British Columbia, Canada, Tyler O’Neill was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the third round of the 2013 MLB draft. His 2014 season was limited to just 51 games across various minor league teams, including the Arizona League Mariners, Everett AquaSox, and Clinton LumberKings, as he fractured a bone in his right hand after punching a concrete wall in the dugout. In 2015, Tyler O’Neill showcased his skills with the Bakersfield Blaze, achieving a .260 batting average along with 32 home runs and 87 RBIs. He also represented the Canada national team in the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto and the 2015 WBSC Premier12.

In 2016, Tyler O’Neill played for the Jackson Generals in the Southern League, showcasing his skills with an impressive .293 batting average, 24 home runs, and 102 RBIs. His outstanding performance earned him the prestigious title of Southern League Most Valuable Player (MVP). During the playoffs, he continued to excel, batting .448 with three home runs and eight RBIs in seven games. The following year, O’Neill started the season with the Tacoma Rainiers, the Class AAA team in the Pacific Coast League (PCL).

Tyler O’Neill joins St. Louis Cardinals

tyler-o'neill
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

On July 21, 2017, the St. Louis Cardinals made a trade to acquire Tyler O’Neill, who had a combined .246 batting average, 31 home runs, and 95 RBIs in 130 games while playing for Tacoma and Memphis. Following the season, the Cardinals added him to their 40-man roster to ensure he wouldn’t be selected in the Rule 5 Draft.

According to MLB.com’s rankings prior to the 2018 season, Tyler O’Neill was regarded as the fourth-best prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals organization. He received a promotion to the MLB on April 19, 2018, and made his debut the following night against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, becoming the sixth Canadian-born player to be on an active MLB roster that season. After seven hitless at-bats, he was sent back down on April 28 but was recalled again on May 18. On May 21, he had a standout performance with four RBIs, and the following day, he homered for the third consecutive game. Tyler O’Neill achieved his first walk-off home run on September 22, a powerful 414-foot hit against the San Francisco Giants, securing a 5-4 victory for the Cardinals. Throughout his 61 games with the Cardinals, he maintained a batting average of .254 and recorded nine home runs and 23 RBIs.

During the 2019 season, Tyler O’Neill earned a spot on the St. Louis Cardinals’ Opening Day roster. However, his season was marred by injuries, and he was also temporarily sent down to the Memphis team for a period of over a month. In June, he was once again called up to St. Louis. Throughout the course of approximately 60 games, Tyler O’Neill displayed a .262 batting average and recorded five home runs and 16 RBIs.

During the 2020 season, Tyler O’Neill’s offensive performance took a dip as he posted a slash line of .173/.261/.621 with seven home runs and 19 RBIs in 139 at-bats. However, despite his struggles at the plate, he received his first-ever Gold Glove Award for his outstanding defensive skills in left field. The outfielder led all left fielders in the major leagues with nine defensive runs saved and four outs above average. Impressively, he did not commit a single error over 344 innings played, solidifying his reputation as a stellar defender.

In 2021, Tyler O’Neill had an outstanding season for the Cardinals and received several prestigious accolades. He began by earning the National League Player of the Week title after an impressive performance, batting .391 with three home runs, nine runs scored, and a 1.308 OPS, contributing to the team’s undefeated week. His remarkable performance continued throughout the season, leading to him being named the National League Player of the Month for September. In September, he posted impressive numbers with a batting average of .328, an on-base percentage of .377, a slugging percentage of .731, 13 home runs, thirty RBIs, and a 1.108 OPS. Overall, Tyler O’Neill played 138 games, accumulating 482 at-bats and slashing .286/.352/.560. He hit 34 home runs, drove in eighty RBIs, and showcased his speed with 15 stolen bases. Additionally, O’Neill secured his second consecutive Gold Glove Award for his exceptional defensive performance in left field.

In the 2022 season, Tyler O’Neill faced a setback when he lost his salary arbitration case against the Cardinals. Unfortunately, his performance on the field also encountered difficulties. At the beginning of the season, he struggled with a batting line of .195/.256/.297, recording only two home runs and 42 strikeouts in 32 games. His challenges persisted as he battled injuries throughout the year, first with a sore shoulder that led to his placement on the injured list in mid-May. Later in September, another hamstring injury further sidelined him for the remainder of the season. In his 96 games with the Cardinals, Tyler O’Neill managed a .228 batting average, hitting 14 home runs and driving in 48 RBIs.

The Yankees need a run-getter. As of January 13, 2023, the slugger and the Cardinals reached an agreement on a one-year contract worth $4.95 million, effectively avoiding salary arbitration. In the current season, Tyler O’Neill has contributed 12 runs, hit 2 home runs, maintained a .228 batting average, achieved a .283 on-base percentage (OBP), and recorded a .620 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) in 92 at-bats.

What do you think? Does he fit for the Yankees? Leave your comment below.

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5 thoughts on “MLB insider anticipates Yankees push to sign Cardinals’ unhappy slugger

  1. Yanks can have him as long as we get something good in return . He has plenty of potential but is hurt way too much ! Maybe he needs a change of scenery.

  2. Last thing Yankees need is another power hitting, strikeout king, with a low average, that’s injured. That’s half the Yankees now. Cards dumping their trash on us. Of course, hehe fits Cashman’s MO. And who do e give up? If I hear Peraza, or Wells, or Sweeney, or any good pitching prospects then hell NO. Lars Nootbar is different. But O’Neil will be another all or nothing player.

  3. Another strikeout artist and injury prone geep who looks good on paper(analytics) Miss July penthouse pet looks good on the paper centerfold but paper doesn’t do squat on the field or in the sack.Yankees have won one championship in 23 years with Cashman, I’m sure he’ll make this trade, he loves stripping the farm system for geeps who hit 220 and are injury prone. Bader is another one, Stanton too and now Judge again but at least he can hit.

  4. I’d love to unload O’Neill on the Yankees, but I doubt we will get much for him. He is constantly injured. His great ability does not matter, because his availability sucks.

  5. Yes trade him I think he is a problem in the dugout every since he lost his arbitration and got sent down.

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