Tyler O’Neill bats for Team Canada in a 2017 World Baseball Classic exhibition game.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Cardinals sent a top pitching prospect to the Seattle Mariners for a top power-hitting prospect Friday.
St. Louis traded Marco Gonzales, the club’s first-round draft pick (19th overall) in 2013, to Seattle for outfielder Tyler O’Neill, who is rated as the No. 2 prospect in the Mariners organization according to MLB.com.
“This was more of a traditional trade in the sense that O’Neill was an outfielder with upside in the Mariners organization and Gonzales was a pitcher with upside in our organization,” said John Mozeliak, Cardinals team president of baseball operations, in a team press release. “If you look at the depth we have with the pitching in our system, it allowed us to make a move like this to improve. We are excited for Tyler to join our organization.”
O’Neill, 22, was Seattle’s third-round pick (85th overall) in the 2013 draft out of Garibaldi Secondary School in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada. He was batting .244 with 19 home runs, 56 RBIs, 21 doubles, two triples and nine stolen bases through 93 games for Triple-A Tacoma in the Pacific Coast League.
In his minor league career, O’Neill has hit .269 with 89 home runs and 300 RBIs in 418 games. He led the California League with 32 home runs and a 12.72 HR/AB ratio in 2015.
O’Neill played in three games for Team Canada in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. His father, Terry, was named Mr. Canada in 1975, an honor bestowed on the top bodybuilder in the nation.
O’Neill will report to the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate in Memphis.
Gonzales, 25, made 12 appearances (seven starts) over parts of three major league seasons with the Cardinals, posting a 4-2 record with a 5.53 ERA covering 40 2/3 innings. He missed the 2016 season following Tommy John surgery.