Yankees linked to Cardinals power hitter as potential trade target

tyler o'neill, yankees

The New York Yankees, with heads hanging low from their 15–5 drubbing at the hands of the Boston Red Sox on Friday night, find themselves in desperate need of offensive help with the trade deadline only weeks away.

With superstar slugger Aaron Judge on the bench, the team’s offense seems unable to produce significant run production.

The Yankees could reportedly consider cost-effective options to bolster their roster, and one name that has emerged is St. Louis Cardinals’ outfielder Tyler O’Neill. O’Neill boasts substantial outfield experience and a positive impact on key performance metrics.

“If they do sell, free agents to be Jordan Montgomery and Jack Flaherty should go. With their outfield glut, Tyler O’Neill is another logical trade candidate. He’d fit the Yankees, who could use a left fielder.”

Via the New York Post.

O’Neill: A Potential Trade Candidate for Yankees

27-year-old O’Neill notched a career-high 34 home runs in 2021, accompanied by a .286 average, a .352 OBP, and a 144 wRC+. However, his performance has taken a significant dip since then, with a .228 batting average and a .283 OBP in only 29 games this season.

Yankees’ General Manager Brian Cashman might be reluctant to part with quality assets unless necessary, but O’Neill’s current struggle suggests the team might be able to negotiate a favorable deal.

Tyler O’Neill’s Defensive Skills and Potential Fit

Defensively, O’Neill has logged a significant number of innings in both left field and centerfield, racking up over 2950. He’s saved 24 defensive runs and has 10 outs above average to his name.

Despite the current season arguably being his worst professionally, there’s potential for O’Neill to bounce back, much like other players who have left the Bombers and subsequently found success.

The only wrinkle is that the Yankees generally prefer lefty hitters, and O’Neill is a righty. However, an analysis of his home run totals on a stadium-by-stadium basis reveals that 33 out of his career-high 34 homers in 2021 would have cleared the left-field fence. This suggests he can produce the power needed for Yankee Stadium’s short right porch.

Yankees’ Left Fielder Requirement and O’Neill’s Potential Impact

At present, the Yanks could certainly use another left fielder with starting-level potential. They’ve been employing a rotation of Jake Bauers, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and a mix of auxiliary players. However, injuries have left the team relying heavily on depth pieces in starting roles throughout the season.

The Cardinals’ asking price for O’Neill, a free agent only in 2025 and a low-cost player until then, will be of particular interest. Despite dealing with a back injury of late, he’s expected to be fully recovered by the trade deadline, potentially making him a valuable addition to the Yankees’ lineup.

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