Detroit Tigers should get bold and trade for Tyler O'Neill
By Tyler Kotila
Detroit Tigers should make an early season splash for Tyler O'Neill.
The Detroit Tigers are off and running for the 2023 season. It's early enough for overreactions and people jumping to conclusions, meaning it's early enough to start throwing out trade content. Especially given the situation in St. Louis that could force the hand of the Cardinals in an early season move.
The Detroit Tigers may not currently be in the market for another outfielder, but the right-handed hitting Tyler O'Neill is certainly worth kicking the tires on. After a "lack of hustle," per Cardinals coach Oli Marmol, the Cardinals outfielder has been in a feud with his manager, much of it going public.
Here's the play in which O'Neill showed a lack of hustle that sparked this issue. Be the judge yourself, but the Cardinals skipper benched O'Neill on Wednesday. He came in for one at-bat but was out of the initial starting lineup.
However you feel about this, there is no question that O'Neill would bring a nice upgrade to the Tigers' outfield. A right-handed bat who could slot into left field. Sure, it makes for some roster crunch issues and raises some questions, but it's a situation where the Tigers could try and capitalize on the dismay of a manager and player that could result in a change of scenery needed.
While the Detroit Tigers may not have the assets to grab a player like O'Neill, Scott Harris has to pick up the phone and at least try. There's got to be some package of players that could make it work. The Cardinals are likely looking to upgrade pitching, and the Tigers may not have much to offer there, but it has to be discussed because O'Neill has two years of team control left, including 2023, so there's time to keep him around.
Detroit Tigers would benefit from adding Tyler O'Neill; here's why.
The Tigers' outfield was looking to add in a right-handed bat this off-season. They made some moves and brought in a few players via trade but never ultimately signed a right-handed hitting outfielder. While Matt Vierling has surprised and been a solid bat as a part of the lineup, you cannot sit there and at least try to grab O'Neill.
O'Neill is 27 years old and has been with the Cardinals since 2018, when he made his debut. He's slowly started to come into his own and lock down a corner outfield role with the Cardinals. He took home a Gold Glove award in 2020 and 2021 and played in 96 games last season.
The right-handed hitter slashed .228/.308/.392 with 11 doubles, a triple, and 14 home runs with 58 RBI to his credit over 334 at-bats. He's 5-for-18 in his first six games with the Cardinals to start 2023, with a home run as well.
Being able to bring in someone like O'Neill to anchor left field and stick around would be beneficial. It may take a while and won't vault the Tigers into a competitive state in 2023, but the long game to add O'Neill is worth it.
The bat can get it done, but he's also an asset in the field. He will run down balls and make outs, keeping the ball off the grass. Imagine an outfield with O'Neill, Riley Greene, and Matt Vierling. With Austin Meadows on the IL again, its worth giving this idea some thought.
The Tigers are not the likely suitors and probably aren't even batting an eye on the O'Neill drama, but they should at least try to kick the tires on a deal. A well-rounded player and right-handed bat for the outfield with team control left makes for an excellent addition to the Tigers moving forward.