ST. LOUIS -- While wishing a former teammate well, Cardinals players heralded an aggressive move by their team's front office on Wednesday. While St. Louis may have sacrificed some of its future in an eight-player trade with the Blue Jays, the future is of little concern to players trying to win a championship in the here and now.
"You don't know what next year is going to bring," said pitcher Kyle McClellan. "You don't know what anybody's situation is. You have the opportunity to win, and I think [we] as players and this organization sometimes take that for granted, because you know every year you have a chance to win. But to have it and to have the front office back it, you just don't know. This could be the last time in my career that I have the chance to do it."
Though the primary player leaving St. Louis, Colby Rasmus, had at times a complicated relationship with his manager, his ex-teammates spoke well of him. Rasmus was sometimes reserved in the clubhouse, but he was not unpopular.
"He's a kid that has changed from the kid that he was a year and a half ago," said Albert Pujols. "He made a lot of changes in life. He thought before, as a player, he thought that we would pick on him when we helped him out. And he learned that [we were trying to help him]. As a player, you want to give him the experience that I have."
A fellow outfielder, Jon Jay, will be the primary playing-time beneficiary from Rasmus' departure. Jay expressed mixed feelings over the deal, though.
who's going where?
A look at which players went where in the three-team, 11-player trade between the Cardinals, Blue Jays and White Sox:
3 PTBNL or cash
"I'm sad to see him leave, because he's one of my buddies," Jay said. "But on the positive side of it, we're making moves to win this year and go on a run, which is huge. That's what you want from your team. Our ownership and our front office, they did a good job of getting us some pieces that they felt we needed."
As for the players coming back, some Cardinals players acknowledged they were unsure how to pronounce Marc Rzepczynski's name, but they are fully aware of his effectiveness against left-handed hitters. And starting pitcher Edwin Jackson, the most prominent player in the deal, is well-known for his power arm.
"We gave up some quality players, obviously, and some good teammates, but I think we're gaining some really quality players and [filling] some needs," said Gerald Laird, who played with Jackson in Detroit. "And to go get a guy like Edwin, who I picture as a top-of-the-rotation type pitcher ... I think this definitely sends a message that we're in this thing to win it."