Former Cardinal outfielder Tyler O'Neill made a guest appearance on the podcast Foul Territory. Scott Braun, Todd Frazier, and A.J. Pierzynski discussed topics ranging from O'Neill's excitement to be in Boston, the result of his rocky interactions with Oliver Marmol to start the 2023 season, and whether or not he'll be the next "Cardinal outfielder who got away".
Overall, O'Neill handled the probing questions with class. He spoke highly of St. Louis's organization, the fans, and his time with the team. When asked about being the next outfielder to succeed after leaving St. Louis, similar to Randy Arozarena and Adolis Garcia, O'Neill spoke about his excitement to perform well in a new environment. He deflected the question a bit saying, "I'm more thinking about providing for Boston rather than what I could have been for St. Louis at this point."
Tyler was asked about his excitement to play in Boston and his departure from St. Louis, O'Neill responded by saying, "I got a call about a month ago letting me know that I was flipped out, so it was exciting, it was bittersweet, you know, just a whole whirlwind of emotion." The right-handed outfielder was traded to the Cardinals in the summer of 2017, and he played six seasons for the Redbirds.
Regarding O'Neill's dispute with Oliver Marmol from early in the season, O'Neill spoke openly about the topic. He didn't bad-mouth Marmol or the organization; in fact, O'Neill spoke about the situation in an honest way. He said that he ended on good terms with the organization and coaching staff in St. Louis.
"I think in the moment I handled it the right way. Obviously you don't want to create any division like that. It was quite the situation for sure. You know, I'm happy it's all behind us, and Oli and I were able to move past it. At the end of the day, it turned into respect at an arm's length."- Tyler O'Neill
It's interesting to hear him say that there was respect after the situation, but distance was maintained. O'Neill has been known as a player who works hard, both on his body and on the field. He did take it personally that Marmol called him out for not hustling, so him being hurt so much that he wanted to keep some distance from his manager is noteworthy.
Tyler went on to discuss his approach both this offseason and for next year. He has been working hard to maintain his mobility and strength; he said that he doesn't have back pain anymore, so he is able to not only prepare for the season, but he can now pick up his newborn daughter with ease and without pain. O'Neill is working to hit the ball up the middle and avoid pulling it too much.
Another interesting aspect of the interview is when Tyler was asked about who reached out to him from Boston after the trade. The Sox's Chief Baseball Officer, Craig Breslow, was the first to speak to O'Neill, and manager Alex Cora reached out soon after. Both individuals gave O'Neill a positive perspective on clubhouse culture, perhaps a different situation than what he experienced last year in St. Louis.
"It sounds like they really prioritized culture down there. It sounds like they want to have open dialogue and really be on the on the same page, and keep that communication open."- Tyler O'Neill
Lastly, O'Neill spoke words of gratitude and thankfulness regarding the fans in St. Louis. Despite the ire that some fans had for the oft-injured outfielder, O'Neill still felt love and appreciation from the fans in St. Louis. "I have nothing but gratitude and thank for the city and the organization of St. Louis," O'Neill stated, "but everything comes to an end, and it was my time this time."
A fresh start for the veteran outfielder should be beneficial. O'Neill's speed, defense, and bat should do well in Boston. It would be great to see him succeed in Boston, especially after how much he offered the Cardinals during his tenure here, particularly in 2021.