Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak is interested in adding a player who can loosen up an occasionally tense clubhouse.
"When you think about our clubhouse personality, you think ‘businesslike.’ I would use the word ‘professional.’ I think we could use a true ice-breaker at times," Mozeliak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday. "I think sometimes a level of tension develops. You play 162 games with the same group of guys from February to hopefully late October, sometimes you have to be able to take a step back."
Mozeliak indicated a position player, rather than a pitcher, would have a greater effect. He noted the positive role infielder/outfielder Mark DeRosa played last year after coming to St. Louis in a July trade.
Mozeliak told the P-D he has spoken with manager Tony La Russa and the players about the need for such an addition.
La Russa, who is known for running a tight ship, didn’t reject Mozeliak’s claim, but he warned that whoever comes in also needs to play well. La Russa used Will Clark as an example — Clark batted .345 with 12 home runs for the first-place Redbirds the final two months of the 2000 season.
"I think Mo’s point is this clubhouse is quiet," La Russa told the Post-Dispatch. "I guarantee you that if you walk into those Yankees clubhouses (under former manager Joe Torre), it’s not like those Oakland A’s clubhouse when they had (Jason) Giambi and were playing games. The key is to have a good atmosphere in the clubhouse where guys care about each other and trust each other and go about their business. I think we have that."
St. Louis began Saturday’s action second in the NL Central, two games behind Cincinnati. The Cardinals also were two games back in the wild card race.