January 17, 2023
By Kevin Glew
Canadian Baseball Network
St. Louis Cardinals slugger Tyler O’Neill confirmed on Monday that he plans to play for Canada in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
“It’s a different feeling. Really excited to be part of it,” the Maple Ridge, B.C., native said at a Cardinals press conference.
This will be the second time O’Neill has been part of the Canadian roster at the World Baseball Classic. He also participated in 2017.
O’Neill, who became a first-time father this past week, signed a one-year, $4.95-million deal with the Cards on Friday.
The Langley Blaze and Junior National Team alum, who competed for Canada on their 2015 Pan Am Games gold medal winning squad, is coming off an injury riddled 2022 campaign.
Prior to a hamstring injury that ended his season on September 17, O’Neill had batted .228 with 14 home runs and 56 RBIs in 96 games for the Cardinals. He also topped Canadian big leaguers with 14 stolen bases.
The hamstring injury was just one of a string of injuries O’Neill suffered in 2022. He also missed time due to neck stiffness, a wrist injury and shoulder soreness.
Selected in the third round of the 2013 MLB draft by the Seattle Mariners, O’Neill was scouted by Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Wayne Norton (Port Moody, B.C.). After parts of five seasons in the M’s organization, O’Neill was dealt to the Cardinals by the Mariners for left-hander Marco Gonzalez on July 21, 2017.
He made his major league debut with the Cardinals in 2018 and has played parts of five seasons with the club.
His finest campaign came in 2021 when he batted .286 with 34 home runs and had a .912 OPS and captured his second consecutive National League Gold Glove in left field.