The St. Louis Cardinals had an abysmal 2023 season, and nobody could've seen it coming. After a stellar 2022 regular season in which they won the NL Central at 93-69, the Cardinals seemed poised for a repeat in 2023 after adding Willson Contreras to replace the retired Yadier Molina.
However, contrary to most predictions, the Cardinals finished last in the NL Central after their worst season in decades. With such a terrible and unpredictable season, fans inevitably had some freezing-cold takes. In honor of the frigid temperatures this weekend, here are a few from myself and fellow contributor Sandy McMillan that we reacted to on the Noot News Podcast.
Tyler O'Neill will finish top 10 in MVP voting in 2023
In 2021, Tyler O'Neill finished 8th in NL MVP voting after a monster breakout season. It looked like O'Neill would be a fixture in the Cardinals' lineup for years to come with Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado moving forward in 2022. However, he took a step back after suffering injuries and only played 99 games. He was still a plus defender in left field, and his 99 OPS+ indicated he was a serviceable hitter, but not nearly as good as his 2021 performance.
With an offseason to recover, we believed O'Neill would rebound in 2023 and return to his 2021 form. With his elite power tool as well as Gold Glove defense, O'Neill could've been one of the top hitters in the National League if healthy. Unfortunately, his injury problems worsened, he only played 72 games and was front and center in early season clubhouse disputes with manager Oli Marmol. O'Neill's future with the Cardinals was clouded, so he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for two relief prospects.
Ultimately, this was a bold take that didn't come to fruition. O'Neill is a high-ceiling, high-floor outfielder who has the potential to finish top-10 in MVP voting but could also miss significant time due to durability concerns. In 2023 it was the latter, but I wouldn't be surprised if he has a resurgence with the Red Sox in 2024.