What if the Mariners traded FOR Tyler O’Neill this time?

CINCINNATI, OHIO - AUGUST 29: Tyler O'Neill #27 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates his solo home run in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 29, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - AUGUST 29: Tyler O'Neill #27 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates his solo home run in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on August 29, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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It’s time to take a trip on the way back machine. It’s 2017, and the Mariners have a talented young outfielder. Thinking that they have a greater need on the mound, they send the outfielder to the St. Louis Cardinals for a pitcher by the name of Marco Gonzales. 5.5 years later, could the Mariners look to call up the Cardinals and try to re-acquire Tyler O’Neill?

The trade has been an interesting one. They’ve put up similar WAR numbers, with Marco accruing 8.9 since coming to the Mariners, with O’Neill at 9.9. They’ve both been important assets to their team. O’Neill was a young power/speed combo guy who could learn in the background behind veterans, and Marco led a young staff that needed someone to eat innings and fight through starts as the team’s number one.

The Cardinals have been rumored to move a player. Whether or not that would be someone like O’Neill (probably not, but it’s been mentioned a few different places online, so why not write on it), it’s fun to think about the Mariners possibly reuniting with the now veteran outfielder.

With two years of control left, it still might be a little tough to get O’Neill. Also, there is no chance that the Cardinals would take Marco back in the deal, especially if it was a straight-up offer. They’d laugh and hang up the phone if that was the case.

That being said, the Cardinals are looking for pitching. Luckily for us, we have a pitcher who is pretty good, has a good contract, and has reportedly been valued by a bunch of teams out there.

Here’s what I am thinking. The Cardinals get Chris Flexen, who has just one year left on his deal at $8 million. It’s not a ton to pick up but is about $3 million more than what O’Neill is projected to make. He seems like a Cardinals pitcher already to me, and I could definitely see him making 30 starts, putting up a 3.55 ERA, and just chewing his way through the year with a lot of 5-6 inning starts and 2-3 runs each time.

The Mariners also would give up Deloach in the deal. He might be a year or two away still but would give them a nice option for a corner outfielder down the line. I’m also including Campbell as a relief option. He could start in the minors, and come up around May or June whenever a member of their pen is struggling or injured. He made big strides after going to a relief role and looks set to debut in the majors soon.

With O’Neill, the Mariners are getting a nice power/speed outfielder that could help round out the outfield and keep Kelenic in a 4th outfield spot, which would be a good way for him to not feel too much pressure.

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I don’t know if the Cardinals would look to trade O’Neill for sure or not. However, it might entice them to get a starting pitcher, a reliever that could make the team this year, and a prospect outfielder for down the line. I think it would be fun to have Tyler O’Neill back on the Mariners, and if he’s truly available, it could be a fun call to listen in to.

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