Albert Pujols Irked by Colby Rasmus' Reported Trade Request
In response to a report in Sunday's St. Louis Post Dispatch that Rasmus had asked for a trade earlier this season, La Russa said that he had spoken to Rasmus about it and was convinced that he had a change of heart: "He realized the grass isn't always greener."
When reporters approached Rasmus, his answers were cryptic and non-commital. Asked about La Russa's contention that Rasmus was happier now with the Cardinals, Rasmus said: "If that's what he said, I don't have a comment on that."
Albert Pujols, the team's unquestioned star and leader, had plenty to say on the Post-Dispatch report, bristling at the idea of Rasmus' trade request.
"I'm a leader on this ballclub," Pujols said. "If I hear somebody on this ballclub saying they don't want to be here, then, you know, they shouldn't be here."
The three-time NL MVP said he would speak to Rasmus in the near future about having respect for his teammates and the Cardinals organization.
"This is something that should be between him and the manager and the GM, and plus he needs to get more years in the league before he says something like that and disrespect the players (here)," Pujols said.
"If you don't want to be part of this special organization ... then you know what, you need to go and figure out a place to play.
"It is a privelege to play in this organization ... to be in the postseason almost every single year, it's pretty special"
Rasmus, for his part, did little to illuminate the situation.
Asked if he was happy with the Cardinals, he said: "I'd rather not answer that if I don't have to."
Asked if he wanted to be back next year, he said: "I'm not going to say either way. I come in and play hard either way."
So there you have it. Clear as mud. Rasmus has frustrated the Cardinals with inconsistency, which La Russa said stems from the times that he loses the strike zone. The Post-Dispatch also reported that the Cardinals have questions about his "toughness and willingness to accept criticism."
A former first-round pick, Rasmus is a center fielder with five-tool potential, so there will certainly be a handful of clubs willing to take a shot at him if the Cardinals decide to move him.
That doesn't sound too likely, if you listen to St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak.
"Colby is young and may not always understand how to handle the media," Mozeliak told FanHouse after a 4-2 win over the Reds on Sunday. "He is a tremendous talent and we are going to give him every opportunity to do it here."