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.

Bryce Harper will not be discussing his impending free agency with the media

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Bryce Harper is entering his walk year and it is widely expected that the Scott Boras client will, indeed, test out free agency next fall rather than engage in any substantial way with the Washington Nationals about a contract extension. There were some “casual conversations” between the parties in the early fall of 2017, but the Nats came away from that, quite reasonably, believing that Harper, who stands to land the largest contract in baseball history, will shop around.

For his part, Harper met the media on his first day of spring training workouts and let everyone know that, no, he does not plan to answer questions about his potential free agency every day between now and November. From MASN:

“Just want to let you guys know I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019, at all,” said Harper. “I’m focused on this year. I’m focused on winning and playing hard, like every single year. So if you guys have any questions about anything after 2018, you can call Scott and he can answer you guys.”

Makes sense. The alternative would be for Harper to give the same canned “I’m only focused on our next game” responses in front of his locker 150 times this summer, and that doesn’t serve anyone.

Thinking back to any other impending free agent’s comments about his free agency, I can’t remember a story along those lines which was worth much of anything. The genre generally consists of headlines which oversell an innocuous or offhand comment from a player as a means of guessing where his head is at with respect to his current team. I can’t think of any story in which a player, during his walk year, said something that concretely and definitively signaled his intensions in free agency one way or the other.

Reporters covering the Nationals who are curious as to how Harper feels about his current team at any given time would be better served just observing and inferring, with particular attention paid to how Harper and his teammates view the Nats’ competitive position as the season goes on, how they react to trades and stuff like that. There’s a lot of guesswork in all of that, but it sure beats trying to get a media savvy player like Harper to admit, after going 1-for-4 against the Phillies, where he plans to spend the next seven to ten years of his professional life.