It was not denied that Pham's pointedness was not appreciated by the team. Was was pushed back against, at least here, was that his tell-it-like-it-is was the sole reason he got traded. It wasn't. But I digress.
"Effort" is always a question that comes up when a team struggles, and managers and coaches are always going to defend their players when it comes up. Because if any manager or coach admits his team isn't trying, the question quickly becomes why aren't players trying for their coach.
I think Nolan Arenado has a fire that can fuel his teammates. We've seen it at times this season in slammed bats, snarls and all that good stuff people like to see on TV.
I think more importantly what the Cardinals could use are players who play with an edge, not ones who bark and shout or whatever. A starting pitcher like Lance Lynn who pounds the strike zone with a come-and-hit-it-mentality. A hitter who finds some way to glue himself to the bases no matter how he has to get there -- getting a walk, getting a bunt hit, getting hit by a pitch, smacking a ball the other way. I think they are missing a true OBP guy. That's what I see this team missing this season.