June 23, 2024

Red Sox land Tyler O’Neill in deal with Cardinals for 2 pitchers: Why Boston made the move

A busy first couple of months on the job for Boston Red Sox common supervisor Craig Breslow concerned one other commerce Friday when the Red Sox landed left fielder Tyler O’Neill from the St. Louis Cardinals in change for RHP Nick Robertson and minor-league RHP Victor Santos.

O’Neill, 28, slashed .231/.312/.403 with 9 residence runs and 5 stolen bases in 71 video games final yr. The two-time Gold Glove winner’s finest season got here in 2021, when he slashed .286/.352/.560 with 34 residence runs and 15 stolen bases, ending in eighth place in the National League MVP Award race.

The deal comes lower than per week after Boston dealt outfielder Alex Verdugo to the New York Yankees for three pitching prospects.

Robertson, 25, appeared in 9 video games for Boston final season, posting a 6.00 ERA in 12 innings. He made his debut in 2023 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and was despatched to Boston in the deal that brought Kiké Hernández back to Los Angeles. Santos, 22, has been in the Red Sox system since 2021 and reached as excessive as Triple-A Worcester in 2022. He missed the whole 2023 season as a result of harm.

Why the Cardinals traded O’Neill

Eager to alleviate a positional outfield logjam that finally plagued the lively roster, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak was clear about his intentions to commerce O’Neill, who’s getting into his ultimate season earlier than free company and was as a result of make an estimated $5.5 million in arbitration, per MLB Trade Rumors.

“Getting him everyday at-bats is going to be really difficult given the way our outfield, we predict, will line up,” Mozeliak instructed St. Louis-based reporters Monday at MLB’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn. (*2*)

Mozeliak described the Cardinals projected beginning outfield subsequent yr to be Lars Nootbaar in left area, Tommy Edman in heart area and Jordan Walker in proper area, with Dylan Carlson slated to be the reserve. That left O’Neill out of the combine. With St. Louis specializing in bullpen upgrades, the plan was to focus on aid pitching in a return.

“Obviously we felt like we addressed a lot of our starting pitching needs prior to getting down (to Nashville),” Mozeliak stated. “But we’re still looking at ways we can possibly improve the club. There’s no secret we want to try to move one of the outfielders to try to address some of that.” — Katie Woo, Cardinals employees author

What Boston is getting in O’Neill

Three days after buying and selling Verdugo to the Yankees, the Red Sox added one other veteran outfielder in O’Neill.

O’Neill is a right-handed hitting outfielder, who’s battled accidents the previous few seasons, however figures to steadiness out a lefty-heavy lineup for the Red Sox. When wholesome he can hit for energy with 34 residence runs in 2021 regardless of simply 23 the final two years mixed. O’Neill hit .231 with a .715 OPS in 72 video games final yr and performed 96 video games in 2022 following his finest yr in 2021 when he logged 138 video games hitting .286 with a .915 OPS.

Team sources indicated he’ll doubtless play all three outfield positions. Sharing time in left with Masataka Yoshida whereas the Red Sox have Jarren Duran and Ceddanne Rafaela as choices in heart and Wilyer Abreu doubtless taking on proper area. Fourth outfielder Rob Refnsyder additionally stays on the roster.

Like Verdugo, O’Neill is getting into his ultimate yr of arbitration and in buying him it leaves the door open for the Red Sox to present Rafaela extra enjoying time in 2025 and past, whereas outfielder Roman Anthony, one in every of the workforce’s high prospects, is prone to be nearing a 2025 debut.

Verdugo had been projected to make $9 million in arbitration, so O’Neill’s projected $5.5 million wage additionally saves the Red Sox $3.5 million to place towards one other piece of the roster.

While O’Neill has battled accidents, the Red Sox didn’t need to half with key items of their massive league roster. Robertson was one in every of two pitchers the Red Sox acquired from the Dodgers in the Kiké Hernandez commerce final summer time. With a crowded bullpen his position was in query as a middle-innings reliever. Santos, 23, missed the whole 2023 season as a result of a proper elbow harm after receiving an invite to massive league camp. In 101 profession minor league appearances, the right-hander posted a 3.72 ERA. He was not amongst the group’s high 60 prospects per SoxProspects.com. — Jen McCaffrey, Red Sox employees author

Required studying

(Photo: Jeff Robinson / Icon Sportswire through Getty Images)