Cardinals GM predicted Tyler O’Neill’s Red Sox surge before trading him

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Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

This offseason, the Boston Red Sox traded for Tyler O'Neill to fill an Alex Verdugo-shaped hole in the outfield.

So far, O'Neill's contributions have far surpassed many people's expectations. The slugger spent six seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals where he experienced many ups and downs. In 2021, O'Neill hit 34 home runs and earned MVP votes as well as a Gold Glove.

Since then, O'Neill's tenure with the Cardinals was marred by injuries. He played just 168 games between 2022 and '23 and he hit 23 homers total in those two years.

But O'Neill's former general manager, John Mozeliak, saw his hot streak coming a mile away.

After one of their roughest seasons in recent memory, the Cardinals were looking to make a trade out of their outfield. They ended up sending O'Neill to the Red Sox in exchange for two minor-league pitchers. Just days before the trade, Mozeliak made a bold statement.

“Yeah, he’ll probably get MVP votes,” the general manager said.

John Mozeliak predicted Tyler O'Neill's tear with the Red Sox

Mozeliak likely wasn't speaking about O'Neill specifically, as the trade wasn't official when he made his prediction. It seems more like a blanket statement about the Cardinals' luck. St. Louis has a history of trading away dominant outfielders who eventually turn into great players — Randy Arozarena and Adolis García come to mind.

Since he arrived in Boston, O'Neill has clobbered a league-leading six home runs, more than half of his 2023 total. He's also scored an American League-high 13 runs and leads MLB with a 1.346 OPS.

Boston's manager Alex Cora expressed that he only started O'Neill on Opening Day so that he would have a shot at MLB history. The outfielder crushed his fifth-consecutive Opening Day homer after he was awarded the start over Wilyer Abreu, and the legend of O'Neill has been building ever since.

Red Sox fans likely don't want to give Mozeliak his flowers for his fortune-telling abilities just yet. There is still a lot of baseball to be played and O'Neill can't win any awards this early.

But if O'Neill does win MVP or get MVP votes, Mozeliak should be recognized for his prophecy.

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