Pujols, Howard react to trade talk
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard said they don't expect to be traded on Monday, a day after ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney reported that the Phillies had held internal discussions about swapping Howard, their All-Star first baseman, for Pujols, the Cardinals' MVP first baseman.
"I really don't have anything to say about it," Howard said at the Phillies' camp in Clearwater on Monday.
"Truthfully, I can go back to all the stuff that happened when I was in Double-A -- all the talk about trade rumors," Howard said. "I don't know anything about anything. I'm not really focused on it. If that were the case -- I don't know if it is or not -- it is what it is. You just keep going out there and doing your thing. If you get a call saying you're trade, then you're traded. Until that happens, I'm still a Phillie. I'm still here. Let's ride it out."
Pujols was more adamant.
"There's people, stupid, that like to write something when it's not the truth, and that's all I have to say about that," Pujols said as the Cardinals visited the New York Mets for an exhibition game.
"If I'm getting traded, they need to come to me. That's not my job to go to them," Pujols said. "I've been saying all along I want to be here, but whatever, it's not up to me. I just think somebody tried to be funny, but it's so stupid when somebody takes something like that serious."
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. denied his team had discussed a trade and used "lies" and "ridiculous" and "irresponsible" to describe the report.
Olney reported Sunday that, according to sources, an idea has been kicked around the Phillies' organization internally, with discussions about proposing a swap of Howard for Pujols. Olney's sources said that it's not fully clear whether the Phillies actually have approached the Cardinals with the idea.
The mere mention of a Pujols-for-Howard quickly became the talk of baseball, where fans thirst for big trades.
Like Pujols, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa didn't want to hear any more about a possible trade.
"To come up with that one is abusive. To the extent that anybody takes it seriously, it could distract the Phillies, it could distract here. I am pretty sure neither is happening," he said.
"Our organization plans on making Albert a player to start and finish his career here, and Albert has said he wants to stay here, so why would anybody want to start speculating?" he said.
La Russa said he hasn't spoken to Pujols about the rumors and doesn't plan to unless the player brings it up.
"I look at every player everyday and if I see anything that looks a little different with a player, I say, 'Hey, what's happening?' If Albert looks any differently, I'll say, 'What's happening?' If he says, 'You know, am I going to be traded?' I'll [talk to him]," La Russa said. "Otherwise, I treat it like I treat everything else. I see Albert today and he's exactly like he always is, so I'm not even going to talk to him about it."
La Russa said it would be a waste of any club's time to try to trade for Pujols.
"I don't think any team would kick it around because they know he's not going anywhere," he said.
Information from The Associated Press and ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney is included in this report.