Mozeliak's comments speak volumes about the league's interest in Tyler O'Neill

The St. Louis Cardinals are desperate to move on from Tyler O'Neill, but few teams seem to be calling for his services.
Washington Nationals v St. Louis Cardinals
Washington Nationals v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages
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The pleas of the St. Louis Cardinals front office for a team to take Tyler O'Neill appear to have been met with little more than crickets chirping in the night. In an interview on MLB Network Radio, President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak acknowledged that the Cardinals are listening to trade offers for the outfielder.

The fact that the Cardinals are shopping O'Neill is not exactly a revelation to Cardinals fans, but Mozeliak's declaration to the public that the team is looking to deal him is a 180-degree turn from the usually coy and secretive Cardinals executive. If Mozeliak is going this far to announce to the world that O'Neill is available, it seems that other teams' interest in O'Neill is negligible and Mozeliak is making a last-ditch attempt to find a suitor.

The lack of interest among other clubs makes sense. After a 2021 season in which he hit 34 home runs, O'Neill has been unable to stay healthy. Questions about his effort have also persisted, with one example being his substandard hustle when he was tagged out at the plate early in the 2023 season. O'Neill has also expressed a reluctance to play on fields with artificial turf because the turf isn't kind to his knees.

The Cardinals are in a tough position after tendering O'Neill a contract in hopes that they could hammer out a trade over the winter meetings. If they don't see him in their plans for 2024 and no other team is willing to take a flier on him, the Cardinals might have to cut bait on O'Neill. In that case, a team would almost certainly pick up a player who once received down-ballot MVP votes.

There is one team that is in a difficult situation with its television deal, which could affect its spending limits and thus be a logical landing spot for O'Neill. The Cleveland Guardians do not have much information on the future of their television contract with Diamond Sports Group, which could lead them to be more cautious in their spending. On the field, what the Guardians need is outfield help, and O'Neill could be the perfect low-cost player for them to take a gamble on.

Shane Bieber would likely be seen as the jackpot return, but bullpen help could be more pressing for the Cardinals at this point, so someone such as James Karinchak, who has excellent stuff but walks far too many batters, could be a more realistic acquisition

Although seemingly no team is willing to part with anyone significant for O'Neill, the Cardinals could package him with a more tantalizing player. The Guardians would make a perfect partner for such a deal, and Mozeliak has made it clear that all avenues are open when it comes to dealing the talented but frustrating outfielder.

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