This Yankees-Cardinals Tyler O'Neill trade could fill left field gap

Toronto Blue Jays v St. Louis Cardinals
Toronto Blue Jays v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages

So, yeah. About these New York Yankees. Seem like a well-constructed team. Plenty of star power. Gleyber Torres has maybe another level to climb after his 2022 season unwound itself. Pitching depth might be less of an issue than anticipated. Interesting. Should be right up there with the Rays and Jays.

Quick question: Who the hell plays left field?

Because, for now, Oswaldo Cabrera has been fun, but he's probably not a 140-game starter at the position, considering he just learned it last year on a whim. When everybody's back and healthy again (hopefully), Aaron Judge plays right, Harrison Bader plays center, and Giancarlo Stanton usually DHs. Will Aaron Hicks still be around? What about Franchy Cordero? Because, at the moment, that lineup looks fine (again, pending Cabrera's ability to man the fort), but the bench depth is fairly hideous (and every game Hicks enters is a disaster).

May we offer a solution? Not now. Not tomorrow. But, at some point, the Cardinals are going to have to look themselves in the eye on Tyler O'Neill and decide whether they fractured the relationship to the point of no return this week when they yanked him, benched him, and told him he needed to meet a "higher standard". O'Neill seems to wish that had been handled in-house. We're glad it wasn't.

As Brian Kenny discusses in the clip below, what is the cost-benefit analysis of hustling on every single clear out, raising the potential for an untimely soft tissue injury? And what is the cost-benefit analysis of angering one of your stars for a "hustle" issue that he didn't even perceive (O'Neill swears he wasn't dogging it and was looking for an angle he couldn't find)? At what point do the Cardinals start eyeing the Yankees' stock of pitching once again, knowing they're a bit short in their department one summer after nabbing Jordan Montgomery?

Yankees-Cardinals Tyler O'Neill trade package

Let's say the Yankees wait until, realistically, the trade deadline. Hopefully, they have both Carlos Rodón and Luis Severino back -- or, at least one of the two is humming. Jhony Brito, ideally, has proven himself to be a high-upside rotation member, too. Who says no to: Tyler O'Neill to New York, Clarke Schmidt, MLB Pipeline's No. 9 prospect Drew Thorpe, and No. 30 prospect Brock Selvidge to St. Louis?

The Cardinals have no need for outfielders -- frankly, they're overstuffed. They have an elite player development program, and are on the verge of graduating 100+ MPH-throwing Masyn Winn to the infield picture. Somehow, though, they can't get the rotation right; No. 3 prospect Tink Hence is a ways away, and No. 6 prospect Matt Liberatore's upside is unclear. At the moment, the team is relying on a wide variety of No. 4 starters from Jordan Montgomery (in his walk year) to Steven Matz to Miles Mikolas, with a retiring Adam Wainwright atop the group.

Much of this discourse depends on what Schmidt proves himself to be in the months to come, and how O'Neill bounces back. Can he mend the relationship with his manager? Does he even feel like trying? Regardless, this is one to keep on your radar. The Cardinals have always been a good pairing for the Yankees. Now, there's an inciting incident to speed the process up.