Takeaway 2 - Tyler O'Neill's value was lower than we thought.
It's tough to think about, but it's probably true. O'Neill was likely one of the most valuable pieces in all of baseball following the 2021 season. Now, just two years later, he couldn't even bring back a decent prospect. Such a result would have been unthinkable at the time. On top of that, the Cardinals weren't just listening to offers. They were actively shopping Tyler O'Neill. Unfortunately, this is our new reality.
The Cardinals traded Tyler O'Neill for Nick Robertson and Victor Santos. Santos is unlikely to impact the big league club, especially in 2024. Robertson will probably compete for a bullpen spot, and he has interesting peripheral numbers. He pitched to a 6.04 ERA in 22.1 innings in 2023, but he was incredibly unlucky. His FIP was a much more respectable 3.88.
Even if Robertson has a nice year in the bullpen and becomes a reliable option for the middle innings, it's difficult to pretend I'm happy with this outcome. At one point, O'Neill was the third bat to go with Arenado and Goldschmidt. Even with all of these issues, it's entirely possible that he makes an All-Star team again. Nobody will be surprised if Tyler O'Neill hits .275 with 35 homers at Fenway in 2024. That's not to mention the strong defensive and base running skills he brings to the table. It's just not hard to imagine O'Neill morphing back into a very valuable player. Is it going to happen? Who can say? But if it does, the Cardinals will probably be harangued, just as they have been for Garcia and Arozarena.
For what it's worth, Foolish Baseball seems to think O'Neill will return to form in 2024. Here's what he's said over the last week.
The whole situation is just a little disappointing. I'm not just talking about the trade and its minimal return. The last two years of Tyler O'Neill have just underwhelmed in every possible way. Why should his time in St. Louis conclude any differently?