June 15, 2024

Cardinals trade Tyler O’Neill, open much needed OF space in deal with Boston: Law

Deal particulars: Boston Red Sox purchase OF Tyler O’Neill for RHPs Nick Robertson and Victor Santos

The Cardinals have been rumored to be buying a number of of their outfielders for ceaselessly, and on Friday they lastly made one such swap, sending Tyler O’Neill to Boston for right-handed reliever Nick Robertson and right-handed minor-league starter Victor Santos.



Red Sox land Tyler O’Neill in trade with Cardinals

O’Neill had a breakout season in 2021, hitting .286/.352/.560 with 34 homers, however had a 31 p.c strikeout fee that portended some fast regression. That got here instantly, and in the previous two years he’s hit .229/.310/.397 whereas lacking about half of the Cardinals’ video games with at the very least 4 distinct accidents to his again, shoulder, hamstring, and foot. (It’s just a flesh wound.)

Most of the harm he’s finished in that span has been off lefties, with a .295 OBP over the previous two years in opposition to right-handed pitchers. That similar 2021 season was his career-best displaying on protection as nicely, as he was 6 Runs Above Average as a left fielder, however he’s been at 0 over the previous two seasons whereas spending a little bit time in middle as nicely, though the comparatively poor displaying could possibly be as a result of he was by no means precisely wholesome. In a great world, he’s a platoon bat in left subject who can deal with middle in a pinch and isn’t so atrocious that he can by no means face a right-hander however ought to at the very least keep away from these with massive fastballs and/or plus breaking stuff. He has one 12 months left till free company.

Nick Robertson started his profession with the Dodgers earlier than being traded to the Red Sox this summer season for Kiké Hernández. (Meg Oliphant / Getty Images)

Robertson was a seventh-round choose by the Dodgers in 2019 and got here to Boston simply this summer season in a trade for Kiké Hernández, displaying above-average stuff however poor command in his transient big-league time. He was as much as 97 mph in the majors with a little bit journey up in the zone. He paired that with a hard-sweeping slider and a changeup that labored for him in the minors however that lefties hammered in the majors. The change can present a little bit fade and tumble, however he threw a bunch in the majors that had little to none of that motion, with predictable outcomes. He posted very excessive strikeout charges in the minors and his total whiff fee in the majors was strong, so I might see a path the place he turns into an above-average reliever if the changeup turns into extra constant.

Santos initially signed with the Phillies and went to the Red Sox in a 2021 trade for infielder C.J. Chatham. He missed all of 2023 with a proper elbow harm however has returned to pitch in winter ball. Before 2023, he was principally 91-93 mph with a 55 changeup and 45 at finest slider, with sufficient management (5.5 p.c stroll fee) to probably profile as an emergency starter or swingman even with out a mean breaking ball. He was homer-prone in Double A and Triple A, nonetheless, and that alone in all probability limits him to a bulk function and precludes him from turning into a fifth starter or extra in the majors. If wholesome for 2024, he might at the very least give the Cardinals some size from their bullpen.

The Cardinals have too many outfielders as it’s, as they’re dedicated to former top-10 total prospect Jordan Walker and to Lars Nootbaar, with Dylan Carlson, Richie Palacios, Tommy Edman, Alec Burleson and Brendan Donovan additionally in the combination. Walker and Burleson each struggled defensively final 12 months, and Nootbaar hasn’t hit lefties but. Carlson hasn’t progressed from what regarded like a promising 2021 marketing campaign, whereas Edman is more likely to play in the infield, so little or no is settled past the truth that they’ve extra outfielders than they want. It made sense for them to maneuver on from O’Neill and take no matter they may get, even when it’s only a center reliever and swingman with six years of management apiece.

For Boston, O’Neill is a stopgap as they anticipate Roman Anthony, who completed the 12 months in Double A, to succeed in the majors, assuming Ceddanne Rafaela takes the vast majority of reps in middle for them in 2024 — Rafaela is an elite defender however punched out 28 occasions in 89 major-league plate appearances (31 p.c) in his debut this previous season. O’Neill might platoon with Jarred Duran and/or Masataka Yoshida, each left-handed batters, and offers some insurance coverage if Duran isn’t again instantly from toe surgical procedure or if Rafaela wants to return to Triple A, but when O’Neill’s taking part in each day he’s more likely to value the group with his incapability to get on base in opposition to righties.

The return for St. Louis appears greater than honest for a participant they really didn’t want, particularly since his worth needs to be at its nadir, whereas Boston could have felt like they may trade from the deepest finish of its pitching pool after including three arms in the Alex Verdugo swap.

(Top picture of O’Neill: Scott Kane / Associated Press)