Albert Pujols says Cardinals need to find a way to get Colby Rasmus "out of here"

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Things are turning sour quickly in St. Louis, and not just in the National League Central standings.

Prompted with the report that 24-year-old center fielder Colby Rasmus asked for a trade earlier this season, Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols told Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports on Sunday, “We need to figure out a way to get him out of here.”

“That’ll
show you right there a young player that doesn’t respect what he’s got,” Pujols continued.
“He needs to find out the talent and ability that he has
and pretty much keep his mouth shut and play the game. Let the organization make those decisions, not himself.

It’s not surprising whatsoever that Pujols is siding with Tony La Russa, who has served as his only major league manager.  The two seem to have similar belief systems and Pujols, with his quiet and hard-working approach, isn’t the type of guy that is going to take kindly to a young player requesting a trade.

But Pujols lives in a bubble.  He has no concept of Rasmus’ value to the future of the Cardinals and probably hasn’t thought about the fact that the Redbirds need low-salary players to cover his own looming extension, which may prove to be the richest contract in the history of baseball. 

It’s upsetting that Pujols decided to go public with his thoughts, but it’s apparent that the Cardinals now must consider their superstar’s feelings when deciding how to best solve this suddenly volcanic matter.  Would firing La Russa rub Pujols the wrong way and cause him to test free agency?  Might it be time for the Cards to actually explore a deal for Rasmus? 

Whatever the case, this won’t end well.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.