Red Sox acquire two-time Gold Glove winner Tyler O’Neill from Cardinals.

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The Red Sox have acquired two-time Gold Glove Award-winning outfielder Tyler O’Neill from the Cardinals in exchange for right-handers Nick Robertson and Victor Santos, the club announced earlier Friday evening.

O’Neill, 28, was limited to just 72 games with the Cardinals this past season after spending time on the 60-day injured list with a lower back strain and the 10-day injured list with a right foot sprain. When healthy, the right-handed hitter batted .231/.312/.403 with 14 doubles, nine home runs, 21 RBIs, 27 runs scored, five stolen bases, 28 walks, and 67 strikeouts over 266 plate appearances.

As a two-time Gold Glove Award winner, O’Neill carries with him an impressive defensive pedigree. While he has experience at all three outfield spots, the 5-foot-11, 200-pounder saw the majority of his playing time this year come in left, where he recorded five assists and one defensive runs saved over 441 2/3 innings. He also logged 93 innings in center but did grade as well there.

A native Canadian who represented his country in this spring’s World Baseball Classic, O’Neill was originally selected by the Mariners in the third round of the 2013 amateur draft out of Garibaldi Secondary School in Maple Ridge, British Columbia. The one-time Oregon State commit established himself as one of the top prospects in Seattle’s farm system before being traded to St. Louis for left-hander Marco Gonzales in July 2017. He then broke in with the Cardinals the following April.

Since debuting for St. Louis at the onset of the 2018 season, O’Neill has shown flashes of his potential but has simultaneously struggled to stay on the field. After being limited to 61 games in 2018 and 60 games in 2019, O’Neill appeared in 50 of 60 games during the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign and took home his first of two straight Gold Gloves. In 2021, he broke out to the tune of a .286/.352/.560 slash line with a career-high 34 home runs and 80 RBIs over a career-high 138 games played, which netted him an eighth-place finish in National League MVP Award voting.

Unfortunately, O’Neill has not been able to build off the success he enjoyed in 2021. Last year, he posted a .700 OPS in 96 games while missing time with a right shoulder impingement and a left hamstring strain. To go along with additional injury trouble this year, he was called out by Cardinals manager Oli Marmol in early April for a perceived lack of hustle on the base paths. O’Neill pushed back on that notion, but it appears as though that marked the beginning of the end as far as his time in St. Louis was concerned.

Red Sox acquire Gold Glove-winning OF Tyler O'Neill from Cardinals for 2  pitchers | FOX Sports

All told, O’Neill is a lifetime .248/.318/.458 hitter with 67 doubles, three triples, 78 home runs, 217 RBIs, 239 runs scored, 40 stolen bases, 136 walks, and 491 strikeouts in 477 career games (1,636 plate appearances) at the major-league level. He has accrued 24 defensive runs saved over 2,856 2/3 career innings in left field, negative-two defensive runs saved over 303 2/3 career innings in center, and two defensive runs saved over 151 2/3 career innings in right.

O’Neill, who turns 29 in June, can become eligible for free agency after the 2024 season and is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $5.5 million in his final year of arbitration eligibility. The Red Sox believe O’Neill is capable of playing all over the outfield, according to’s Chris Cotillo. More importantly, he hits from the right side of the plate, which is a quality chief baseball officer Craig Breslow and Co. have been in search of this winter given the club’s abundance of left-handed hitting outfielders (Wilyer Abreu, Jarren Duran, and Masataka Yoshida) even after trading away Alex Verdugo earlier this week.

Whether O’Neill emerges as a regular in Alex Cora’s lineup or is used as more of a platoon option will likely depend on how the rest of the offseason plays out for Boston. Regardless, O’Neill — who possesses plus arm strength and speed — joins an outfield mix that currently includes the aforementioned Abreu, Duran, and Yoshida as well the right-handed hitting Ceddanne Rafaela and Rob Refsnyder.

As for who the Red Sox parted ways with in this deal, Robertson was one of two pitchers Boston had acquired from the Dodgers for Enrique Hernandez back in late July. After debuting for Los Angeles the month prior, the 25-year-old righty appeared in nine games for the Sox and flashed intriguing stuff in spite of allowing nine runs (eight earned) in 12 innings of work. He has two minor-league options remaining.

Santos, meanwhile, did not pitch for a minor-league affiliate in 2023 due to an elbow injury but has since returned to action in the Dominican Summer League. Entering play on Friday, the 23-year-old righty has pitched to a 2.96 ERA and 1.28 WHIP with 23 strikeouts to six walks in seven outings (five starts) spanning 27 1/3 innings for the Leones del Escogido. He can become eligible for minor-league free agency at the end of the 2024 season.

Following Friday’s trade, the Red Sox now have 38 players on their 40-man roster.

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