How Tyler O'Neill becoming the Cardinals' next Colby Rasmus could help them this year

Los Angeles Angels v St. Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Angels v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

In 2011, the Cardinals' flipped the once promising Colby Rasmus for a collection of "glue pieces", Tyler O'Neill could have the same fate

In 2011, the St. Louis Cardinals had a young outfielder who had shown a ton of promise, but after some frustration with the front office and his manager, was shipped out at the deadline to bolster their pitching staff with multiple useful arms.

Sound like a familiar story?

Colby Rasmus could end up being the blueprint for the Cardinals in their quest to offload Tyler O'Neill and receive some value in return. Let's be clear - O'Neill and Rasmus are different situations, but they have a ton of similarities that lends me to believe that a similar trade could go down.

In 2010, in his second big league season, Rasmus slashed .276/.361/.498 with 23 HR, 66 RBI, and 12 SB while playing center field for the Cardinals at just age 23. Ramus was one of the top prospects in baseball at one point, ranking within the top-5 prospects in all of baseball for a time, so his pedigree before making his MLB debut was a bit different than O'Neill's.

But O'Neill has a different level of MLB success than Ramus ever did. Just two years ago, O'Neill finished 8th in the NL MVP voting, after slashing .286/.352/.560 with 34 HR and 80 RBI and collecting his second career Gold Glove in left field. Both players experienced brief success with the Cardinals early on, and both ended up souring on and off the field with the club.

In 2011, Rasmus hit .246/.332/.420 with 11 HR and 40 RBI before he was eventually traded for a package that included Edwin Jackson, who was a journeyman starter at best, and two solid, but not special, relief pitchers. O'Neill this season is slashing .228/.283/.337 with 2 HR and 6 RBI while playing in just 29 games.

Tyler O'Neill and Colby Rasmus were at odds with the Cardinals' organization as well

Not only was their play on the field concerning to the Cardinals' brass, but they were becoming issues off the field, as well.

Rasmus was reportedly at odds with manager Tony La Russa long before the trade was made to Toronto, and some even reported that he had requested a trade at one point. O'Neill seems to have created a lot of friction with manager Oli Marmol and the President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak, very similar to the Rasmus situation.

While I couldn't imagine the Cardinals would have preferred to have to end up trading away Rasmus or O'Neill, sometimes you have to give up on young talent when there is a clear riff, and the Cardinals have an opportunity to make strategic improvements to their roster by dealing O'Neill.

If you don't remember, Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel, Marc Rzepczynski, and Corey Patterson all made impacts on the Cardinals' 2011 World Series run, even though none of the names individually, or even collectively, measured up to the talent of Rasmus. Rasmus would go on to have a couple of random productive years for the Blue Jays, Astros, and Rays over the coming years, but never fully realized his potential.

O'Neill could find that a change of scenery is exactly what his career needed, and could go right back to his upward trajectory as a star in this league. But unless something drastic happens in the next few weeks with St. Louis, it appears O'Neill's best days are somewhere else, and the Cardinals' could find some improvements for their roster in the process.


It could be a collection of arms that may or may not end up being impactful for the club, just like the Rasmus trade. Maybe the Cardinals grab some interesting prospects in return, helping replenish or boost their farm system as they look to upgrade their rotation. Whatever it is, John Mozeliak would be wise to think back to the Rasmus days when making a deal, as there is potential for a seemingly "sell-low" trade to pay huge dividends for the club.

dark. Next. 3 former Cardinals failing miserably with their new team. 3 former Cardinals failing miserably with their new team