The Cardinals have decisions to make on the future of many different players this offseason, five of whom it may be time to cut bait on.
Going into the offseason, it is clear that the St. Louis Cardinals need to make changes to compete at a higher level in the National League next season. While the lineup is good, it still lacks the greatness of other’s around baseball. The pitching staff is good, but neither the rotation nor the bullpen are among the elite in today’s game.
In order to make the necessary improvements, the club will need to choose to cut bait with a few players this offseason to either upgrade the team, or do a bit of addition by subtraction. I have gone ahead and identified five different Cardinals who the club could choose to move on from this offseason for various reasons.
The first name is the most difficult name for me to consider, and I personally hope Tyler O’Neill is in the club’s starting outfield in 2023. But with Lars Nootbaar, Dylan Carlson, Juan Yepez, Alec Burleson, and Brendan Donovan on the roster and Jordan Walker knocking on the door, John Mozeliak is going to need to find some answers for the outfield logjam.
O’Neill does not carry the same value that he did coming into 2022 after an injury riddled and down year. Playing in just 96 games, O’Neill slashed .228/.308/.392 with 14 HR and 58 RBI on the season. Just one year removed from a top 10 finish in the NL MVP voting, O’Neill will have suitors around the league if the club shops him.
St. Louis could build up some more prospect depth with a trade of their 27-year old outfielder, or package him in a move for a need like starting pitcher. With O’Neill being the only arbitration eligible player of the outfielders I listed, this could also save St. Louis some money and allow them to continue the development of other young outfielders.
Personally, I would be nervous to sell this low on a guy who could be that third big bat the club needs next season, but I would not be surprised to see the front office deal O’Neill.