Blue Jays: Could a Canadian be the answer in centre field?
Could the Toronto Blue Jays look to someone from their home and native land to shore up their centre field issues in 2021?
The Blue Jays have employed the band-aid principal when attempting to shore up the centerfield position following the Kevin Pillar trade in 2019. The likes of Randal Grichuk, Teoscar Hernandez, and even Cavan Biggio have all taken reps at the premier outfield position, however, none are prototypical centre fielders.
With the exception of George Springer, the free-agent centre field crop is thin at best this offseason so the brain trust may have to look a the trade route to shore up the position. This is where Tyler O’Neill comes into play.
The 25-year old has struggled over parts of three seasons with the St.Louis Cardinals since breaking into the league in 2018. The Canadian looks like the ideal candidate who could benefit from a change of scenery especially one back to Canada. The native of Burnaby, British Columbia was ranked the 36th best prospect in the game by Baseball America at the start of the 2019 season.
More from Toronto Blue Jays News
- Matt Chapman has been exactly what the Blue Jays needed
- Blue Jays: The goalposts are moving in the right direction
- Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays advance to the Championship Series
- Blue Jays: Comparisons for Alek Manoah’s Second Season
- Blue Jays: Adam Cimber, the unlikely decision King
O’Neill is a strong, athletic kid who clubbed 30+ homers twice in the minor league ranks. He has above-average speed and has played centrefield throughout his career. Granted, he only has played six games there in the majors but O’Neill is athletic enough to hone his craft under the proper tutelage.
The Cardinals may be willing to part with O’Neill as he has hit just .229/.291/.422 with 21 homers and 153 strikeouts in 171 career games at the MLB level. The Cards also have Dylan Carlson, Harrison Bader, Dexter Fowler, Lane Thomas, and Tommy Edman competing for playing time in the outfield.
The Blue Jays definitely have the trade chips and prospects to facilitate a deal to the Cardinals liking. O’Neill came with big expectations and has just scratched the surface in terms of his potential, he could be a nice buy-low candidate for a team thin on outfielders.
Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, and Teoscar Hernandez all benefitted from a change of scenery, could a homecoming be just what the doctor ordered for O’Neill. It is definitely worth exploring.