Cardinals news: Kolten Wong, Tyler O’Neill win Gold Glove Awards
Kolten Wong and Tyler O’Neill were the two Cardinals players awarded Gold Gloves on Tuesday night.
After being skunked in the end of season award nominees, the St. Louis Cardinals had two players win the Rawlings Gold Glove Award: second baseman Kolten Wong and outfielder Tyler O’Neill.
It marked the second straight season which Wong has won a Gold Glove and the first time O’Neill has taken home the award. Wong has emerged as an elite defensive infielder the last seven seasons in St. Louis and was near the top amongst all second basemen in Defensive Runs Saved (6) and Outs Above Average (2).
The Cardinals, of course, did not pick up Wong’s $12.5 million club option, immediately making him a free agent. The club has not ruled out bringing Wong back at a cheaper rate, but he drew immediate interest from the Los Angeles Angels and other teams. For now, his replacement figures to be Tommy Edman, though president of baseball operations John Mozeliak is expected to explore options both in free agency and via trade.
O’Neill, meanwhile, played in 48 games this season and did not commit an error in 89 chances. His four Outs Above Average ranked first in the majors among left fielders and tied for 12th best among outfielders. He is the first Cardinals outfielder to win the award since Jason Heyward in 2015, and a big reason why the outfield defense was so strong in ’20.
Like Wong, there is a chance that O’Neill is not back in St. Louis next season. He is expected to be a trade candidate considering his offensive struggles (.173 average and .360 slugging percentage) and the Cardinals having a logjam in the outfield with Harrison Bader, Dexter Fowler and Dylan Carlson. There is reason for keeping him – his elite defense and home run numbers (21 in 171 career games) – are among them.
The Cardinals took a risk declining Wong’s option and would be taking another risk by potentially parting with O’Neill. Tuesday night was another reminder why.