Not that it wanted an announcement, however there was a short time frame final evening when Albert Pujols’ wife had declared this upcoming season the final of his illustrious profession. She did her finest to stroll it again later, as that’s how this stuff are likely to go.
But this is the best 2+2 in baseball. Pujols is 41 and this is the final 12 months of that gargantuan 10-year contract he signed with Anaheim/Los Angeles. It’s been 5 years since Pujols was even an honest hitter, and 9 since he was a star one. It’s laborious to fathom any workforce providing him a lot of something come 2022. Maybe a minor league deal and an invitation to spring coaching, however that’s the most effective he can hope for if he needs to proceed enjoying.
It’s laborious to recollect for a variety of baseball followers that Pujols was essentially the most feared hitter within the recreation for a decade as soon as. This is the product of recent sports activities lately, the place gamers get extra identified for their contract than what they did on the sector, particularly in the event that they go into the bathroom effectively earlier than that deal is up.. It can’t actually be helped, even in a sport like baseball that supposedly doesn’t have a wage cap. Pujols’ contract stored the Angels from doing rather a lot over the previous few years, like discovering a real ace or letting Shohei Ohtani be a full-time DH or the huge quantities of shuffling they needed to do when Pujols couldn’t play the sector anymore (which was just about on arrival). But it’s not like Pujols was going to stroll away from any of the rest of this contract. It’s nonetheless paying hime $30M this 12 months. And definitely he didn’t power the Angels to supply him that contract. The job pays what it pays.
It’s fairly foggy to recollect the seasons when Pujols would hit .330 together with 40 homers and but strikeout in lower than 10 p.c of his ABs. It felt like he may get on base each time he felt like, and he in all probability may have if he didn’t additionally need to hit for energy, which he did frequently.
The factor followers might keep in mind most about Pujols’ heyday was how he by no means appeared fooled, by no means off-balance. He by no means stretched for a pitch, by no means was out entrance, and his stridelss swing at all times appeared completely poised and weighted between each legs. It was like he knew. Probably as a result of he did. I do know from expertise — too many afternoons watching him membership the Cubs mercilessly — that the ball sounded totally different off his bat than another participant. It was a thud. Not a crack, however a thud. The sound of a pitch really dying upon his bat.
Pujols was additionally one of many smarter gamers round — he stole bases on the precise proper time when pitchers fell asleep on him and it was nearly essentially the most annoying factor on this planet. I almost wanted stitches when he predictably, frequently, did it in opposition to Carlos Marmol to result in one more blown save to the Great Red Enemy. He was additionally greater than a suitable first baseman when he lastly landed there after sojourns at third and in left.
He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer, although it’s laborious to consider one other participant within the Hall who spent most of a decade being a detriment to his workforce. Willie Mays as a Met is at all times used as a logo or metaphor, however he was solely there two years and put up a 158 OPS+ at 40. It was a tough and lengthy comedown, that’s for certain.
Pujols’s second act is the ghost story/boogeyman all GMs are instructed as kids, and why virtually all of them are petrified of handing out a contract to anybody over 30.
Watch your finances or The Pujols is going to value you your job.
His first act deserves greater than that, however that’s the best way it goes.
As anticipated, Mariners president Kevin Mather needed to fall on his sword yesterday after saying the entire quiet elements out loud at a rotary membership assembly. There was no different manner this was going to finish, although the swiftness of it is a small shock.
It’s nonetheless comedic to listen to Mariners chairman John Stanton declare that Mather’s feedback don’t “represent our organization’s feelings about the players, staff, and fans,” when he was, y’know, the president, and was setting the coverage for the group. If he had gone utterly rogue it would have been a distinct story. At least so far as their holding prospects down and never beginning contract clocks, we all know that’s what most groups need to do. We know the TV offers have stored them afloat through the pandemic.
The Mariners will hope that Mather’s resignation can be sufficient for everybody, and that the brand new man would have the nice sense to not broadcast the workforce’s secret information. Will there be any institutional change? You can neglect that. This is how baseball is run now. You’re simply not alleged to name consideration to it.