The New York Yankees have spent over $600 million this offseason. They not only re-signed Aaron Judge, but brought in All Star pitcher Carlos Rodon. The Yankees are clearly not satisfied with their loss in the American League Championship Series.

But even with all of their spending, the Yankees have signed just four total players to MLB contracts. Alongside Judge and Rodon, New York re-signed Anthony Rizzo and agreed to terms with relief pitcher Tommy Kahnle.

Re-signing Judge was the Yankees’ top priority. Bringing in Rodon helps stabilize the pitching rotation. However, this Yankees team looks eerily similar to last year’s squad.

If New York wants to truly compete for the World Series, there is still work to be done. The Yankees should now focus on bringing in a strong left fielder. Tyler O’Neill of the St. Louis Cardinals would certainly fit the bill.

Yankees left field woes 

Right now, Aaron Hicks is projected to be the team’s starting left fielder. However, Hicks has been a liability for the Yankees over the past couple of seasons.

Hicks has been hit hard by injuries. While he appeared in 130 games this past season, he played in just 86 from 2020-2021. Over the past three years, Hicks hasn’t held a batting average higher than .225. He has just 18 home runs and 75 RBI. Furthermore, Hicks has struck out 177 times.

Hicks is under contract through 2025. It seems unlikely that the Yankees could trade him without adding significant prospects. But Hicks either needs to show massive improvement or be moved to the bench for the Yankees’ lineup to thrive.

If New York did bench Hicks, their best internal option is currently Oswaldo Cabrera. Cabrera was impressive in his MLB debut last season, hitting .247 with six home runs and 19 RBI. However, he still only has 44 games of major league experience.

Cabrera could be the future in left field, but the Yankees should be searching for an immediate option.

O’Neill fits the bill

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The Yankees traded for one Cardinals outfielder when they acquired Harrison Bader last season. New York should try to get another in Tyler O’Neill.

Looking at just last year’s stats alone, O’Neill struggled. He hit just .228 with 14 home runs, 58 RBI and 14 stolen bases. However, O’Neill dealt with hamstring and shoulder injuries throughout the year. He appeared in just 96 games.

Back in 2021, O’Neill looked like a star. He hit .286 with 34 home runs, 80 RBI and 15 stolen bases. He also won a Gold Glove for the second time in his career.

The Yankees would have to take a chance on O’Neill and hope his 2022 was an injury-riddled fluke. If he can return to his 2021 form, O’Neill is a true power threat with 20/20 potential. Furthermore, his defensive skills could give the Yankees one of the better outfields in the MLB in that regard.

Trading for O’Neill gives the Yankees that left field threat they’re looking for. He can hit anywhere in the lineup and provides New York with another potent punch in the outfield.

Why a trade makes sense

For the Yankees, trading for O’Neill is obvious. They have a clear need in left field and O’Neill is a strong buy-low candidate with major upside. But why would the Cardinals trade him.

St. Louis is in desperate need for pitching. While their rotation is intact for this season, many of their starters will be gone after the year. Adam Wainwright has already announced his retirement following the 2023 season. Miles Mikolas, Jordan Montgomery and Jack Flaherty are all free agents after the season.

While O’Neill has been impressive at times, St. Louis has a number of starting caliber outfielders. Dylan Carlson, Lars Nootbar, Juan Yepez or a number of other outfielders could take his place. St. Louis would have to do some tinkering with their outfield, but they have the depth to make a trade.

When the Yankees dealt for Harrison Bader, they traded Montgomery. Perhaps New York could offer a similar deal with another high profile pitcher or two. The Cardinals would begin building their future starting rotation while trading from a position of strength.

New York has had a tremendous offseason. Trading for Tyler O’Neill would be the final piece of a potential World Series winning puzzle.