The Cardinals count on to reinstate Tyler O’Neill from the injured checklist Thursday, and in doing so, they’ll push Dylan Carlson out of a beginning job and again right into a reserve position. With O’Neill occupying left area, the Playing cards will proceed to deploy Lars Nootbaar in middle area and Jordan Walker in proper area. MLB.com’s John Denton writes that supervisor Oli Marmol has already knowledgeable Carlson of the choice.
“On the finish of the day, we’ll discover acceptable at-bats for guys, however that is the place we’re at and there’s no approach round it,” Marmol mentioned of the choice to push Carlson right into a reserve position. “Sure guys have to play the outfield … and [O’Neill] goes to play.”
Had been it only a matter of discovering taking part in time for this quartet, it may be simpler to get every participant common at-bats. Nevertheless, the Playing cards even have first baseman/outfielder Alec Burleson to contemplate, in addition to super-utility standouts Brendan Donovan and (when wholesome) Tommy Edman. Slugger Nolan Gorman additionally suits into the combination at designated hitter and at second base.
It’s numerous proficient place gamers for Marmol to accommodate with taking part in time. For now, Carlson has been squeezed out of an everyday position on the membership, and the query turns into certainly one of whether or not he’ll be squeezed off the roster totally.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier within the week that the Yankees had expressed curiosity in Carlson, and Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Put up-Dispatch reported equally yesterday. Different golf equipment determine to be concerned on the switch-hitting 24-year-old, given his former prospect pedigree and remaining three seasons of membership management past the present marketing campaign.
Due to that membership management, the Cardinals don’t essentially have to really feel any urgency to make a deal. However the Playing cards are additionally in dire want of beginning pitching that’s managed past the present season. Miles Mikolas, Steven Matz, Matthew Liberatore, Dakota Hudson and Jake Woodford are their solely rotation choices with any actual massive league expertise who’re signed/managed past the 2023 season. All aside from Mikolas have struggled.
It’s at the least doable the Cardinals may contemplate different trades to handle the rotation wants and alleviate a few of the place participant logjam. Nevertheless, St. Louis was staunchly in opposition to buying and selling each Nootbaar and Donovan this previous offseason, and Goold reported just lately that Nootbaar stays unlikely to be out there. The Athletic’s Katie Woo wrote this morning that Nootbaar is seen by the entrance workplace as a “key member of their core.” Donovan, final yr’s third-place Rookie of the Yr finisher, and Walker, who entered the season considered certainly one of baseball’s high 10 prospects, are absolutely seen in comparable vogue.
There’s definitely an argument that it’s within the Cardinals’ curiosity to commerce O’Neill as a substitute, however he’s hitting simply .228/.303/.380 in 482 plate appearances relationship again to final season. He’s far much less prone to command a high quality return than Carlson would, given these struggles and his shorter window of staff management (by way of the 2024 season). They’d even be promoting low on a participant who hit .286/.352/.560 and popped 34 residence runs as just lately as 2021.
All of these components contribute to the mounting rumblings of a doable Carlson commerce. That mentioned, it’s nonetheless considerably exceptional that issues have reached this level. It was solely a pair years in the past that Carlson was the Cardinals’ equal of present-day Walker — a former first-round decide who entered the season ranked among the many sport’s high 10 to fifteen prospects. He didn’t hit the bottom operating in his 2020 debut, however that got here as a 21-year-old throughout the Covid-shortened season when Carlson didn’t have the chance to play minor league video games in a aggressive setting.
In Carlson’s first full season, 2021, he turned in a .266/.343/.437 batting line with 18 residence runs. Defensive grades on him had been tough, nevertheless it was a promising step for the 22-year-old nonetheless. His offensive manufacturing has diminished since that point, however Carlson’s defensive prowess has been on show as he’s posted high quality marks throughout all three outfield spots. In complete, he’s a .250/.333/.405 switch-hitter with plus protection relationship again to 2021 — and he has three-plus years of remaining staff management.
It’s uncommon for such gamers to even be out there on the commerce market, however the Cardinals have a knack for growing high quality place gamers. In addition they tend to play the new hand with these gamers, one which spans practically a decade; they’ve been going by way of comparable hot-potato situations way back to 2014 (Jon Jay, Peter Bourjos, Randal Grichuk, Tommy Pham, and many others.).
On the one hand, it’s a testomony to the staff’s participant improvement workers. On the opposite, the frequent stop-and-start strategy to taking part in time has arguably contributed to the glut of high quality bats (outfielders, particularly) that St. Louis has traded away over time.
Carlson, for his half, acknowledged to Denton that information of his lowered position was “robust” to take; he views himself as an on a regular basis participant and emphasised that the competitor in him desires to be on the market as usually as doable. He didn’t outwardly name for a commerce, however there’s little doubt he’s keenly conscious it’s a chance and maybe a path to the common position he needs.
Time will inform whether or not a commerce of Carlson really involves fruition, however his mix of youth, staff management, defensive excellence and still-present offensive upside will make him broadly interesting. In some unspecified time in the future — whether or not it’s Carlson, O’Neill, Burleson or another person — it looks as if the Cardinals will likely be in place to deal from their deep inventory of controllable place gamers to handle their want for pitching assist.