St Louis Cardinals: Way-too-early trade deadline shopping list
Much like the rotation, injuries have plagued the outfield as well. When everyone has been healthy, things have been awesome. Tyler O’Neill looks like he’s taken a step forward in terms of box score power production with eight homers on the year, Harrison Bader’s defense and an improved approach have paid off, and Dylan Carlson looks like a legit Rookie of the Year candidate.
However, both Bader and O’Neill have both found themselves on the IL two separate times this season. An arm issue started Bader on the IL and then a cracked rib landed him back after only 22 games. O’Neill started healthy, then strained his groin, and now cracked a finger diving into second base.
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This year is a “prove it” year for pretty much everyone in the outfield outside of Carlson, specifically O’Neill, Justin Williams, Austin Dean, and Lane Thomas. Whether it has been in starts, pinch-hit appearances, or any other situation, none of the trio of Williams/Dean/Thomas have shown anything at all at the MLB level.
Just like the rotation, health would make everything fine, but it just hasn’t been there. O’Neill’s spot in left is probably the first seat to be changed, and getting a more consistent bat out there would be awesome for the team, especially if that bat could offer legit protection for Nolan Arenado in the batting order.
If health continues to be an issue, the bigger names to go after would be Trey Mancini or Mitch Haniger. If all the outfielders come back and are playing well while the bench isn’t, it still is easy to argue that outfield depth needs help. Adding an outfielder of starting or bench caliber could add competition or at least sure up the bench so Tommy Edman never needs to play out there.