The St. Louis Cardinals have a young outfielder who is making the most of his playing time. Is he playing his way into a trade at the deadline?
Many people are going to read the title of this post and leave an angry comment strictly because they think they know what this says before they read it. If you’ve made it this far, let me just say thank you. Let me also say, THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS SHOULD NOT TRADE TYLER O’NEILL… But they could…
This started as just a thought I had and now has grown and morphed into something I feel like could actually happen and something that I feel like John Mozeliak could actually explore.
I am a huge Tyler O’Neill fan and have been a huge advocate for him getting regular playing time in the OF when Marcell Ozuna is out and clearly if he continues to hit like he is (if he is still here when Ozuna gets off the IL), he’s going to find himself in the starting lineup because the Cardinals would be idiots not to play the slugger.
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In his opportunities since his most recent callup, O’Neill has been one of the hottest players in the NL. Over almost exactly two weeks, O’Neill is batting with a .351/.383/.614 slash line with seven XBH (four homers) and 12 RBI’s. He is still striking out at a 33% clip and his BABIP is .471, so we are going to see a dip in production, but he’s also tearing the cover off the ball evidenced by his barrel rate that is right up there with Joey Gallo and Aaron Judge.
The Barrel rate can make that BABIP look more realistic, but it’s still alarmingly high in my eyes.
O’Neill has been the perfect cleanup hitter since his return and while he may not last, it’s great to see someone batting behind Paul Goldschmidt that can provide perfect protection. Many have said O’Neill is just a AAAA player that gets hot every once in a while but can’t actually be a consistent producer. That’s still up in the air, but one question still comes up.
Should the Cardinals sell high on O’Neill?
When you look at this year’s trade market, there are really a whole lot of buyers and not many buyers. Anyone who has taken any level of an economics class would be able to tell you that it means that prices are going to be sky high because demand is high.
In general, you are always looking to sell high and buy low. That’s all GM’s are trying to do (in general). When you look at the Cardinals roster, what players are there possibly to sell high on? The list more or less ends with O’Neill (maybe Tommy Edman). I’m not saying that the team needs to sell as a whole, and some of you will not like the idea of getting rid of our best hitter, but if there’s one player who has gotten hot at the right time to sell him off, it’s O’Neill.
Whether it’s using him as a centerpiece for a better player or a re-tool for more prospects, O’Neill is hot right now and showing his peak for what he can do. In my head, his full potential is going to be somewhere between Joey Gallo and Randall Grichuk. If O’Neill could net the Cardinals Marcus Stroman with him as the most valuable piece given up, I’d do that every day of the week.
O’Neill could be an outfielder of the future for the team, but you can’t help but accept that maybe, just maybe, the Cardinals should at least entertain some offers on the 24-year-old slugger. I don’t want them to, but his recent hot streak has definitely raised his trade value.