La Russa reacts to Pujols-Howard trade rumor

St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa didn’t mince words when asked about the Ryan Howard-Albert Pujols trade rumors.

Speaking with the media on Monday morning prior to his St. Louis Cardinals taking on the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie, Florida, manager Tony La Russa commented on the rumor published by ESPN’s Buster Olney that the Philadelphia Phillies had internal discussions about the thought of trading Ryan Howard for Albert Pujols. That speculation was immediately shot down by Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro on Sunday.

Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols (Getty Images)“It’s like stats,” La Russa said. “Use and abuse. It’s the media; they can be really useful and they can be really abusive, but to come up with that one is abusive. It disrupts the Phillies, it disrupts  the… – to the extent anyone thinks it is serious. It could distract the Phillies; it could distract here.

“I am pretty sure that neither has happened, but…I would be surprised… Who wrote this? Who said this? The person who came up with that one should be tracked down and you’d say ‘Hmmm. That credibility just took a big hit.’ It is ridiculous, actually. It is really not worth speculating on other than trying to figure out who started it.”

Told it was Olney, La Russa didn’t believe it.

“I doubt that. I’d be shocked if it was him,” the manager replied.

When it was asked if a player of Pujols’ stature in a contract period would foster this kind of speculation, La Russa pointed out the reality of the situation from his perspective and that of the Cardinals organization.

“I think what it will foster is media bs, because what they said already without even a hesitation is our organization is going to plan on making Albert a player to start and finish his career here,” La Russa said. “So where’s the… and Albert has said he wants to stay here. So why would anyone want to start speculating?

“Whenever the contract gets worked out, it gets worked out. So that is what I said. If someone wants to start it up, it is media bs. Or if the fans start it up, then it is fan bs. There is nothing going on with St. Louis except what they both clearly said,” the manager explained.

La Russa was asked if he planned to discuss the situation with Pujols. He said he would not unless he sees anything different with the player, the same approach he takes with his entire team.

One writer speculated out loud that every organization might think about how to try to acquire a player of Pujols’ importance. La Russa flatly disagreed.

“I don’t think any team kicked it around, as a matter of fact, because they know he isn’t going anywhere. They’ve got more important things to do than waste their time. That’s my answer…”

When it was suggested this kind of speculation might arise again the future, La Russa made it clear his reply will be consistent.

“Then every time it comes up, you can use those quotes and we won’t have to talk about it,” the manager only partially joked. “It will be the same response.”

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