The St. Louis Cardinals have multiple options in left field, and could parlay that into a trade for some pitching.
The Cardinals trading Dexter Fowler in February signaled a changing of the guard in their outfield. St. Louis is ready to hand over starting responsibility to the young guard, specifically the likes of Tyler O’Neill and Lane Thomas in left field.
Publicly, O’Neill has been penciled in as the starting left fielder. His play in spring training will only further solidify that. Yet, it’s his backup who is making noise, even pushing the Cardinals to have an open discussion about the starting left field slot. Nonetheless, O’Neill remains the clear starter at the position, but Thomas’ success proves that St. Louis would still manage without him.
Could Tyler O’Neill be traded by the St. Louis Cardinals?
Both players are 25, meaning both are young enough to be sold as MLB-ready talents. A recent spring slump has Thomas’ average down to .250 this spring, but it wasn’t always that way.
“Very comfortable with the depth, very comfortable with who could win or gain those opportunities in the outfield,” president of baseball ops John Mozeliak said. “But there will be some competition out there, and that’s good to see.”
The Cardinals consider their outfield depth to be a strength moving forward, so why not use that to fill another position of need?
Behind Jack Flaherty, the Cardinals starting rotation could use some work. Assuming both O’Neill and Thomas continue to rake once the regular season comes around, there’s no reason one couldn’t be involved in a trade package. O’Neill is the more likely candidate, as he’ll be the starter come Opening Day.
O’Neill’s spring has been remarkable. He’s hitting just under .400 in 12 games, with an OPS of 1.078. If the opportunity presents itself, don’t be surprised if he’s included in a trade package for some pitching by July.