St. Louis Cardinals: Why a Scott Barlow trade makes sense

Kansas City Royals v San Diego Padres
Kansas City Royals v San Diego Padres / Denis Poroy/GettyImages

It’s never too early to formulate trade ideas for the St. Louis Cardinals. Earlier, my colleague Josh Jacobs evaluated a trade for Guardians starter Shane Bieber. After being swept in Pittsburgh, the Cardinals again look to improve their pitching. While the Royals have not fully committed to trading Scott Barlow, the organization is at least entertaining the idea.

The Kansas City Royals are listening to trade ideas for reliever Scott Barlow. The St. Louis Cardinals need all the pitching help out there, especially for a strained and ineffective bullpen.

Barlow currently owns a 3.68 ERA, but a dive into his Statcast numbers show something else. Barlow ranks in the highest percentiles in average exit velocity, HardHit%, and K%. Not only is Barlow striking a higher percentage of people out, but he’s eliciting more weak contact from batters he’s faced. In fact, Barlow’s xERA is lower than his actual ERA at 2.90, meaning he is getting a little unlucky.

As Jon Morosi tweeted, this team needs to acquire arms in exchange for bats. With the Royals in sell mode, the Cardinals need to inquire about Scott Barlow. I have a simple trade idea that might benefit both teams.

Trade OF Tyler O’Neill to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for RP Scott Barlow.

At this point in the season, O’Neill would benefit from a change of scenery once his back is fully healed. After being called out in April for his baserunning effort and his prolonged absence from the team with his back injury, it is fair to question if O’Neill will play another game with the Cardinals.


If traded to Kansas City, O’Neill will be an immediate upgrade, offensively and defensively, over Edward Olivares. On the other side, Barlow gives the St. Louis Cardinals an effective relief option out of the bullpen. Finally, both players have nearly identical one-year contractions. O’Neill and Barlow both have one year of arbitration left and will become unrestricted free agents after the 2024 season. This means that both players could be retained by their respective clubs for next season as well.

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