The Red Sox brought in outside help on Friday night, announcing the acquisition of an outfielder Tyler O’Neill From the cardinals. Right-handers Nick Robertson And Victor Santos They will return to St. Louis.
O’Neal, who turns 29 in June, has had a mercurial career but has recently shown his tremendous ceiling in 2021. He played in 138 games that season, hitting 34 home runs. He hit at a high clip of 31.3% but hit .286/.352/.560 overall for a wRC+ of 143. He also received strong marks for his outfield defense and stole 15 bases. This all-around production has led to a total of 5.5 wins above replacement, per FanGraphs, while Baseball Reference has a 6.1 WAR.
But results since then have been less impressive, as injuries seem to drag him down. The past two seasons, O’Neal has been on the injured list with a right shoulder impingement, a left hamstring strain, a lower back strain and a sprained right foot. He was only able to pitch in 168 games over those two campaigns, hitting 23 home runs and producing a batting line of .229/.310/.397. That works out to a wRC+ of 98, indicating he was slightly below league average.
He appears to have lost popularity in St. Louis during that time. In early 2023, he and manager Oli Marmol got into a bit of a row, with the skipper publicly admonishing O’Neill for a perceived lack of hustle. Although the outfielder pushed back on the idea that he did not give a full effort and also appeared upset that Marmol made the disagreement public.
With the Cardinals out of contention during the final offseason, it looked as if O’Neal could have been traded at the deadline a few months ago, as he was scheduled to hit free agency after 2024. But no deal was reached and he stuck to the plan. The club in the current season. In recent weeks, trade rumors have surfaced and president of baseball operations John Mozeliak has done little to quell them. “On the field, at the moment, if we wanted to play tomorrow it would probably be that way [Lars Nootbaar], Tommy Edman And [Jordan Walker]Mozeliak said during the winter meetings earlier this week. “He will be our fourth player Dylan Carlson. …Tyler O’Neill is the guy we listen to in trades.
But for the Red Sox, O’Neal makes a lot of sense. After they traded Alex Verdugo Earlier this week, their outfield projects featured a lefty Masataka Yoshida, Jarren Duran And Wilier Abreu. The club also has rights Sedan Rafaela And Rob Refsnider, but the former has only 28 matches of experience while the latter is a platoon specialist. Major League Baseball Officer Craig Breslow He recently spoke of the club’s desire to add a right-handed player capable of playing in midfield, but that will not be necessary.
O’Neill actually hit from the right side and played center field, hitting 303 2/3 innings there over 40 career games. Defense reviews are mixed but it’s hard to glean much from such a small sample.
He probably wouldn’t be Plan A at center anyway. According to a report from Gene McCaffrey and Chad Jennings of The Athletic This week, the club considers Rafaela a viable option in midfield. Even if he struggled in his first extended spell in the major leagues, Duran spent plenty of time in midfield and Abreu saw action there as well. But finally, he balances out the mix and would be a low-cost bullpen for the Sox.
As previously reported, O’Neal is scheduled to hit free agency after 2024. According to MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz, he is expected to make just $5.5 million in salary next year before hitting the open market. If he returns to the upside for 2021, he would be a bargain and could help the club get back into contention or perhaps turn into a mid-season trade chip if the Sox fall out of the running. If he continues to struggle, he could give playing time to Duran, Rafaela or Abreu, depending on who performs well.
The Cardinals entered this season with a notable surplus of position players. Mozeliak outlined the situation on the field, which also includes players like Alec Burleson And Richie Palacios. But they also have it Nolan Arenado And Paul Goldschmidt On the corners of the field. In the middle, they have Masin where?, Nolan Gorman And Brendan Donovan As potential options.
It was thought that they would use this surplus to add to their rotation, as they were looking to add three arms. But they fell quickly Sonny Gray, Lance Lane And Kyle Gibson To enhance their core group. This has led to speculation recently that trading the player at the tight end position would bring back help or prospects.
Robertson, 25, was drafted by the Dodgers and added to the club’s 40-man roster earlier this year, but was traded to Boston as part of the team. Enrique Hernandez Trade a few months ago. He has 22 1/3 innings of MLB experience between the two clubs with an earned run average of 6.04, though there are more encouraging peripherals. He struck out 24.5% of the batters he faced while walking at 8.5% and getting groundouts at a rate of 47.1%. His .397 batting average on balls in play and 57.5% strikeout rate were both on the poor side of average, resulting in a 3.88 FIP and 3.76 SIERA.
He was even better in the minors, throwing 42 2/3 Triple-A innings between the two clubs with a 3.16 ERA, a 33.1% strikeout rate and a 7.4% walk rate. He still has a couple of options, so the Cards don’t need to allocate him an active spot right away, but he already has some MLB experience and could be part of their club next season.
Santos, 23, has mostly been a starter in the minors, but has never been a top prospect, although he has received praise for his leadership. He threw 145 innings in 2022, split between Double-A and Triple-A with a 4.97 ERA. His strikeout rate of 20.6% was slightly below average, but his walk rate of 5.6% was very solid. He did not play in 2023 due to injury. It would provide the Cards with a bit of roster depth not found on their core staff.
John Heyman of the New York Post O’Neal was first reported to be traded to Boston. Sean McAdam from MassLive It was reported that St. Louis will receive two young graduates. Alex Speer of the Boston Globe It was reported that Robertson and Santos were going to the Cardinals.
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