Some people saw this coming, while others, like myself, thought 2021 was the beginning of big things for Tyler O'Neill.
Since his .912 OPS season where he won a Gold Glove and finished 8th in MVP voting, O'Neill has played in just 125 games over the last two seasons, slashing just .228/.303/.480 with 16 HR and 64 RBI.
I don't blame the Cardinals for holding onto O'Neill after the 2021 season. He made notable changes to his approach, being uber-aggressive on pitches in his "wheelhouse", making harder contact, and cutting down his strikeout rate. O'Neill looked like a legit star at the plate and was playing elite defense in left field. You do not trade that kind of player...if he's going to continue that run of excellence.
After his injury-plagued 2022 season, I'm not sure there was a reason to deal him unless there was more interest in O'Neill than we were told. It was basically an open secret that the Cardinals were more than willing to trade O'Neill this past offseason, but since they didn't it's clear they were not getting a great offer for him.
So, in hindsight, the Cardinals could have moved on from O'Neill after 2021 to get prime trade value.