I've been the king of the Tyler O'Neill fan club since the day he was traded for by the Cardinals. I even recently wrote a story about how I thought O'Neill had slugged his way back into the Cardinals' plans for the 2024 season. Not as some super reliable outfielder, but that his upside was too great to trade away if it wasn't for good value, and they were better served to have him as a fourth outfielder who could emerge as a key contributor for them.
And then the situation in Tampa Bay happened.
It's beyond frustrating at this point. It feels like any time O'Neill gets some momentum going for himself, he finds a way to kill it. I don't get frustrated at the injuries he's experienced that have forced him into the IL time and time again, but situations like the one in Tampa, where he just wasn't confident in how his knee would react to the turf in Tampa, are the ones that I just think have ended the future that O'Neill could have had in St. Louis.
I imagine the Cardinals will still try to play him often for the rest of the season, hoping to build his trade value up some so they can at least get something in return for him this offseason. But with Jordan Walker, Lars Nootbaar, and Alec Burleson clearly being the club's top three outfielders, I do not see them wanting to run back the O'Neill experiment anymore.
It's really a shame. When O'Neill is right, he can be the best player on the field for a team that has two superstars in Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt. His power, speed, and defense make him one of the most talented players in all of baseball. But he just cannot get out of his own way, and I hope for O'Neill that he is able to get his career back on track here soon. I just do not see the Cardinals being the team he does that for anymore.