Cardinals Trade Target: Tyler O'Neill
We've discussed the Tyler O'Neill fit extensively; the discourse may have peaked weeks ago when Cardinals manager Oli Marmol benched his outfielder for a perceived lack of hustle, setting off a firestorm of weirdness (long before the Willson Contreras weirdness).
O'Neill drilled 34 bombs with a 148 OPS+ under Mike Shildt in 2021, but has regressed under new leadership. The right-handed (dammit!) slugger is on the IL, at the moment, dealing with a back issue, but would be under control through 2024 if acquired.
O'Neill has the most extensive MLB record of any Cardinal, as well as the longest MLB rap sheet of dings and misdeeds. The Yankees do have a very recent history of freeing Cardinals from their decaying organization, and can surely rely on Harrison Bader to give an accurate scouting report of his ridiculously jacked ex-teammate (currently sporting a 72 OPS+).
Look. Joc Pederson is probably a better fit than any of these Cardinals, though nothing is more emblematic of the modern Yankees than attempting to retool by recapturing the glory that's currentlly being squandered by former top prospects. Maybe the Yankees prefer Carlson, but they're more likely to acquire a pre-arb or arbitration-eligible player than they are to add someone who's wrapping up a free agent contract. Keep your eyes firmly planted on the Cardinals these next few weeks, and hope O'Neill fights back from his balky back soon.