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Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Albert Pujols could keep playing to reach 700 career homers: ‘If I’m close to it, why not?’

Now, with Los Angeles Angels slugger Albert Pujols sitting on 662 home runs, if he gets close this year and has a legitimate chance to join the trio, he’d like to march on and keep playing past this season with a chance to be among baseball’s immortals.

“If I’m close to it, why not?” he told USA TODAY Sports. “I don’t try to chase numbers, but 700 is a big number.

“If I don’t re-sign with the Angels, I’m going to have to find a team that will give me that opportunity. I just wish I had been able to stay healthy and didn’t have those injuries. Can you imagine if I had kept the pace I was on when I was in St. Louis? I’d have 800 homers by now.’’

Pujols passed Willie Mays (660) last season for fifth on the all-time home run list. Next up is Alex Rodriguez (696), who retired before he could reach the 700-homer milestone.

Pujols, who enters his 20th major league season, is in the final year of his 10-year, $240 million contract.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 11:20 AM | 171 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: albert pujols

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   1. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 11:42 AM (#6007396)
What a sad trudge. Four seasons at a 92 OPS+ or lower for a guy with hugely negative defensive value is ugly enough. Two or three more seasons is just unwarranted.

Has there ever been an Inner Circle guy who ended his career with six awful seasons?
   2. bachslunch Posted: March 03, 2021 at 11:50 AM (#6007397)
Looking at Pujols in 2017, when he had 101 RBIs and an OPS+ of 80. Has any player crossed the 100 threshold in a season with a lower OPS+?
   3. gef, talking mongoose & suburban housewife Posted: March 03, 2021 at 11:51 AM (#6007398)
“If I’m close to it, why not?” he told USA TODAY Sports. “I don’t try to chase numbers, except when I do. Also, stealing money is fun.


Fixed.
   4. bunyon Posted: March 03, 2021 at 11:51 AM (#6007399)
It seems I say this every time an article like this comes up. I don't find it sad. If he's enjoying playing and someone will pay him, why not? I don't think you can detract from an inner circle career. If he retired three years ago, he'd be just as bad, or worse, at playing baseball today. Time marching on is sad.


Now, if you're a GM charged with putting together a winning ball club? Signing him next year may well be sad. GMs should age better.


   5. flournoy Posted: March 03, 2021 at 11:55 AM (#6007401)
Has any player crossed the 100 threshold in a season with a lower OPS+?


Joe Carter in 1997. I'm sure he's not the only one, just the first one I checked.
   6. Itchy Row Posted: March 03, 2021 at 12:01 PM (#6007403)
Lave Cross had 101 RBI and a 75 OPS+ in 1895. Lou Bierbauer had 109 with an 80 OPS+ in 1894.
   7. Ron J Posted: March 03, 2021 at 12:13 PM (#6007405)
#1 Well Miguel Cabrera's not aging that much more gracefully. Guys like Foxx weren't given the opportunity.

Steve Carleton went 16-37 with an 80 ERA+ over his final four years.
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 12:18 PM (#6007406)
Lowest OPS+, 100 RBI season

Lave Cross 1895, 75
Joe Carter 1997, 77
Albert Pujols 2017, 80
Lou Bierbauer 1984, 80
Tony Batista 2004, 81
Ray Pepper 1934, 83
Herman Long 1899, 83
Vinny Castilla 1999, 84
Joe Carter 1990, 85
Tony Armas 1983, 85
   9. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: March 03, 2021 at 12:26 PM (#6007408)
I remember Fred McGriff tried to stick around to get 500 home runs. He thought he'd get there in 2003 but got hurt and ended 9 HRs short. He got a deal with the basement dwelling Devil Rays as they were called at the time and was so bad it wasn't clear that he'd even be able to get the last 7 HRs he needed by the end of the season and even the Devil Rays couldn't justify giving him the playing time for a milestone chase. Pujols still needs 38 HRs for 700. I don't see him getting there.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 12:37 PM (#6007409)
It seems I say this every time an article like this comes up. I don't find it sad. If he's enjoying playing and someone will pay him, why not? I

So you can clear a spot for someone who hasn't made $300M and really needs the chance to play?

Professional pride that you shouldn't be playing when there are 100 guys in AA/AAA better than you?
   11. bunyon Posted: March 03, 2021 at 12:40 PM (#6007411)
snapper, I'm viewing it from Pujols' standpoint. If I were a GM, no, I wouldn't sign him. So it might be sad for an Angels fan but it isn't sad for Pujols or somehow tarnishing who he was when he was 25.
   12. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: March 03, 2021 at 12:41 PM (#6007412)
No one forced his employer to sign that contract. No one is forcing the team to play him or even keep him on the team. There is no salary cap, they can just make him go away if they want to pay for it. Heck they can just let him go away once his contract is up and no one has to sign him.

What people are really saying is that he should walk away from the money and game, because the money is driving the behavior of his employer, because of the fallacy of sunk costs and possible bad decisions his employer might make.

   13. I Am Not a Number Posted: March 03, 2021 at 12:43 PM (#6007415)
Isn't all this moot? What team would possibly pay Pujols to play for them in 2022, even at the league minimum?
   14. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: March 03, 2021 at 12:44 PM (#6007416)
In other words, it is his job to play as long as he can get a job and wants to play. It is the team's responsibility if they employ someone not qualified.
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 12:50 PM (#6007418)
What people are really saying is that he should walk away from the money and game, because the money is driving the behavior of his employer, because of the fallacy of sunk costs and possible bad decisions his employer might make.

No. I'm not saying he should have walked away from the money. I'm saying he should have reached a settlement with the Angels to get his money, maybe deferred a bit, and not stunk up the league for the last couple, three years.
   16. gef, talking mongoose & suburban housewife Posted: March 03, 2021 at 12:54 PM (#6007419)
What team would possibly pay Pujols to play for them in 2022, even at the league minimum?


Aren't the A's required by, like, the Constitution or the 10 Commandments or something -- the Baseball Encyclopedia, perhaps -- to serve as the final stopping place for every player anyone recognizes by name?
   17. Tim M Posted: March 03, 2021 at 12:54 PM (#6007420)
Can you imagine if I had kept the pace I was on when I was in St. Louis? I’d have 800 homers by now.


That is actually close to true. He averaged 40 with StL, and 26 with LAA, so if you add 14*8 (skipping 2020), you get 774. Add in a full 40 for an imaginary full 2020 and he is over 800. But I don't think that's how it works, just copy-paste your age 20s into your 30s!
   18. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: March 03, 2021 at 01:04 PM (#6007424)
“If I’m close to it, why not?”


oh honey

(or what 13 said)
   19. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 03, 2021 at 01:15 PM (#6007428)
I suspect even Pujols doubts he’ll play beyond 2021, but it’s not like he can come out and say that he’s on his last legs and lucky to be playing anywhere. Players are almost always optimistic in their comments to the press, so I wouldn’t assume that this is more than normal pre-season puffery.

However, for Pujols to actually be close to 700 HRs (within 10?), he’d have to have a better 2021 than most expect. Perhaps, in his own way, Pujols was saying it’s not happening.

   20. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: March 03, 2021 at 01:22 PM (#6007431)
The idea that a player has some obligation to walk away is silly. Pujols is playing, presumably he likes being a Major League Baseball player, and the Angels are employing him. Now the Angels probably shouldn't be playing him (I've got to think they can do better) but that's their responsibility. Pujols' responsibility is to give a 100% effort and I've never read anything that suggests he hasn't done that.

I'll be stunned if he's an active player next year though.
   21. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 01:23 PM (#6007432)
Are injuries really to blame for Pujols' decline? He has actually been pretty good about staying on the field, but his numbers have just stunk for years now.
   22. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 03, 2021 at 01:31 PM (#6007434)
In a player’s mind, injuries or mechanical flaws are the only possible reasons for poor performance.
   23. Nasty Nate Posted: March 03, 2021 at 01:42 PM (#6007438)
His total AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS+ from his time with the Cardinals was .328/.420/.617/170. He hasn't reached a single one of those for any individual year of his 9 with the Angels. In fact, he hasn't come particularly close to any of them. It's remarkable.
   24. The Duke Posted: March 03, 2021 at 01:48 PM (#6007439)
All the messages out of LA camp are that he is in the best shape of his angels life. I’d love for him to get 700. Why wouldn’t a team like the Boston braves pick him up to juice attendance.

Pittsburgh, Texas and Baltimore could sign him next year. What do they care ?

I love that he still wants to play. How great is that? You’d have to pull me off the field, too.
   25. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 01:48 PM (#6007440)
Are injuries really to blame for Pujols' decline? He has actually been pretty good about staying on the field, but his numbers have just stunk for years now.


He was having at least one surgery per offseason for several years in a row. I think plantar fasciitis popped up for him later in his St. Louis days and it only got worse in Anaheim. He wants to be on the field, and, from my outsider's reading of his quotes and from watching him these last nine years, there's a mixture of delusion about his ability and a commendable sense of duty and responsibility to his team to be on the field. Albert strikes me as a guy who won't miss a game for injury unless there's no way he can play. So he stuck it out through entire seasons with debilitating pain in his feet, only to have surgery in the offseason which required a recovery period that left him unable to train the way he wanted.

Some of that is supported by statements from Albert and the team and some of it is my own reading of the situation, so take it for what it's worth. His skills have clearly declined with age, and there is a lot of evidence that he's actually 43 now. But I do think his injuries kept him from having the more gradual decline that a lot of elite players have. Instead, they sapped his strength after that age 36 season and he was never able to get back to that level.
   26. Nasty Nate Posted: March 03, 2021 at 01:57 PM (#6007445)
Why wouldn’t a team like the Boston braves pick him up to juice attendance.
Too little too late - I think they are bound for Milwaukee no matter what.
   27. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 02:06 PM (#6007449)
It seems I say this every time an article like this comes up. I don't find it sad. If he's enjoying playing and someone will pay him, why not? I don't think you can detract from an inner circle career. If he retired three years ago, he'd be just as bad, or worse, at playing baseball today. Time marching on is sad.


It's interesting to compare with the articles talking about Ricky Henderson or Manny Ramirez playing in Japan or some tiny semi-pro league after MLB, or even someone like Julio Franco, whom everyone loved even with a negative WAR his last four years -- the tone in those sorts of treatments seems to be 'It's great that they love the game so much.' But Pujols doesn't get that.
   28. John Northey Posted: March 03, 2021 at 02:21 PM (#6007454)
My first thought for terrible finishes was Pete Rose who wrote his own name in the lineup for the final 2 years - 84 OPS+, 86 over his last 5 years (625 games, 261/348/315 while playing at 1B and a bit in LF and RF and was on the All-Star team twice, TWICE during that stretch). Ugh. 27-17 in stolen bases as well. Amazingly was 'only' -2.5 WAR (BR) with a 0.0 oWAR and -6.1 dWAR those years. -1.1 fWAR those years. It was ugly outside of that one day he set the hit record (that was fun to watch on TV - an unbreakable record broken).
   29. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: March 03, 2021 at 02:22 PM (#6007455)
700 is still pretty far away. The bigger question is whether he can stay above 100 WAR - he's at 100.7 now. Fangraphs is much rougher and has him at 87.2.
   30. The Duke Posted: March 03, 2021 at 02:23 PM (#6007456)
25. That’s my reading as well. I’d like to see him go out on a high note but it’s unlikely. Baseball is a hard game at 43
   31. Karl from NY Posted: March 03, 2021 at 02:26 PM (#6007458)
But I don't think that's how it works, just copy-paste your age 20s into your 30s!

Hank Aaron basically did that. 342 HR, 158 OPS+ in his twenties, 371 HR, 161 OPS+ in his thirties.
   32. AndrewJ Posted: March 03, 2021 at 02:32 PM (#6007461)
I remember Fred McGriff tried to stick around to get 500 home runs. He thought he'd get there in 2003 but got hurt and ended 9 HRs short. He got a deal with the basement dwelling Devil Rays as they were called at the time and was so bad it wasn't clear that he'd even be able to get the last 7 HRs he needed by the end of the season and even the Devil Rays couldn't justify giving him the playing time for a milestone chase.

The 1994-95 strike probably cost The Crime Dog 10-15 more homers, which would have punched his ticket to Cooperstown.
   33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 02:36 PM (#6007462)
His total AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS+ from his time with the Cardinals was .328/.420/.617/170. He hasn't reached a single one of those for any individual year of his 9 with the Angels. In fact, he hasn't come particularly close to any of them. It's remarkable.

On the plus side, he's amassed an insurmountable lead in career GIDP. 399 vs Ripken's 350.

The night he gets #400 will be special. Will they award him both the 1st and 2nd base bags?
   34. Traderdave Posted: March 03, 2021 at 02:59 PM (#6007467)
My first thought for terrible finishes was Pete Rose who wrote his own name in the lineup for the final 2 years - 84 OPS+, 86 over his last 5 years (625 games, 261/348/315 while playing at 1B and a bit in LF and RF and was on the All-Star team twice, TWICE during that stretch)


-------------


Rose's job was to write his onw name into the lineup. It THE reason the Reds got him. I was at his first game back in Cincy in '84 and the Reds were talking up the record from day 1. Not long after, the 4192 swag factory was running 3 shifts producing Hit King/Ty Cobb/4192 merch. That wasn't his fault or his error, the Reds hired him exactly for that. And his combined WAR for '84/85 was 2.3, which beats the hell out of Pujols
   35. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 03:07 PM (#6007469)
Most seasons by a 1B/3B/LF/RF, after age 30 with a OPS+ of 100 or less (min. 400 PA), since 1945 (these don't have to be consecutive seasons):

Six seasons:
Pedro Feliz

Five seasons:
Vinny Castilla
Gary Gaetti
Pete Rose
Frank Malzone

Four seasons:
Alex Gordon
Ichiro
Juan Pierre
Garret Anderson
Joe Randa
Ron Coomer
Tim Wallach
Keith Moreland
Brooks Robinson
Vic Power
Bubba Phillips
Jim Gilliam

Pujols only has 3 - last year wouldn't count for him because of the PA
   36. JJ1986 Posted: March 03, 2021 at 03:17 PM (#6007472)
Ron Coomer was an All-Star as a 1B with an 82 OPS+. To be fair, it was 95 in the first half.
   37. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: March 03, 2021 at 03:20 PM (#6007473)
worst bWAR as a Card: 5.3
best bWAR as an Angel: 4.8


   38. KronicFatigue Posted: March 03, 2021 at 03:23 PM (#6007474)
It seems I say this every time an article like this comes up. I don't find it sad. If he's enjoying playing and someone will pay him, why not? I

So you can clear a spot for someone who hasn't made $300M and really needs the chance to play?

Professional pride that you shouldn't be playing when there are 100 guys in AA/AAA better than you?


I find it sad b/c I have a 1000 things I'd love to do in my lifetime that I'll never have the time nor money to do. Pujols could do anything he wants, but instead wants to repeat the same thing he's done for 20 years, except at a much much worse rate. I presume he has a family that he's okay being away from for another year.

Go do something else. Either something fun, or something that helps others.
   39. bunyon Posted: March 03, 2021 at 03:33 PM (#6007475)
Playing baseball is fun. Even badly.

Ask me how I know.

The point that we love Colon and Franco holding on forever makes clear we think we own inner circle HOFers and that they should never play worse than inner circle HOFer. A lot of them love the game as much as Colon and Franco. And he's 43. That isn't old. Once you quit playing, that's it, it's over and you won't be coming back at 58 (well, most won't).

The Angels can release him anytime they like. If it were my team, I would have. But they haven't, so, I hope his foot holds together and he has a good year. I don't expect it, but I hope it.

If he hits 30 HR this year, yeah, I think he'll get a spot somewhere if he's not worried about money. Royals maybe?
   40. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 03:35 PM (#6007476)
I find it sad b/c I have a 1000 things I'd love to do in my lifetime that I'll never have the time nor money to do. Pujols could do anything he wants, but instead wants to repeat the same thing he's done for 20 years, except at a much much worse rate. I presume he has a family that he's okay being away from for another year.

Go do something else. Either something fun, or something that helps others.


Of the 1,000 things I'd love to do in my lifetime, 900 of them involve things inside of a major league baseball stadium. So I find it hard to blame him for loving his job. Playing sports is fun. And Pujols' foundation does a lot to help families dealing with Down's Syndrome.

I feel like I have the exact opposite mindset. I always find it sad when someone retires in the middle of a contract, regardless of how good they are when they hang them up. It means they're either too injured to continue to play or they no long enjoy playing. I can't imagine willfully walking away from the game while someone is still paying me to play it.
   41. Rally Posted: March 03, 2021 at 03:46 PM (#6007478)
At this point it looks like Jared Walsh is the starting 1B for the team. He was great last year but small sample size and might be a fluke. Ohtani is the DH if he’s not pitching. That doesn’t leave much of a role for Albert. DH 2-3 times a week when Ohtani is pitching or resting before/after a start. And then some 1B at bats against lefties. Probably doesn’t get more than 250-300 AB for the year. That’s if Ohtani can pitch, if not the DH at bats will be hard to come by.
   42. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 03:57 PM (#6007481)
Of the 1,000 things I'd love to do in my lifetime, 900 of them involve things inside of a major league baseball stadium. So I find it hard to blame him for loving his job. Playing sports is fun.

Is it fun when you're the worst guy on the field? Especially when you used to be the best guy?
   43. Jay Seaver Posted: March 03, 2021 at 04:00 PM (#6007482)
Isn't all this moot? What team would possibly pay Pujols to play for them in 2022, even at the league minimum?


Depends how many teams are using the DH next year. Do the Royals have anyone likely to be penciled it for that? Seems like a good semi-homecoming situation where they could draw a few people for a round-number-chase. If the Cardinals have a DH spot to fill, even better.

Is it fun when you're the worst guy on the field? Especially when you used to be the best guy?


If Pujols is talking about it, I'm guessing he's thinking it may be fun. What have the stories out of Anaheim been the past few years, in terms of where he fits on the "I'm still who I was despite all the contrary evidence and am not getting the playing time I deserve" to "he's been great, like an extra batting coach even when he's not playing" spectrum? I mean, Jason Giambi was never at Pujols's level, but he was still a big deal for a while, and he hung around anywhere that would take him for what seemed like forever.
   44. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: March 03, 2021 at 04:21 PM (#6007487)
I never fault a player for staying around and playing as long as someone will pay them. If you must blame someone, blame the team.
   45. Walt Davis Posted: March 03, 2021 at 04:27 PM (#6007489)
In addition to Aaron, when it comes to big-time HR hitters (before 30, 30-39)

Bonds 259 444
Mays 279 349
Sosa 273 336
ARod 429 267
Griffey 398 232
Ruth 284 424
Thome 233 356

So hardly uncommon to hit more, even many more, HRs in your 30s than 20s. As Arod and Griffey kinda show (and Ott before them), being a top HR hitter through 29 hasn't boded well for your 30s. I'm sure there are many others on the HR list with more in their 30s (Palmeiro, Ortiz, probably Mac, Stargell, Reggie I would think and then maybe some more who are around 50/50).

If he did get two fullish years, Pujols would probably pass Ruth for 2nd on the all-time RBI list (he needs 115) but he's still 197 behind Aaron which would require two solid years which seems very unlikely.
   46. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 04:32 PM (#6007490)

Depends how many teams are using the DH next year. Do the Royals have anyone likely to be penciled it for that?


Oh god, I can totally see this. Pujols has veteran presence and totally has the values* they like.

*-the Christian variety
   47. Booey Posted: March 03, 2021 at 04:33 PM (#6007491)
A few posts have referenced Pujols being 43 rather than 41. Has that been proven recently, or is it just the same speculation we've heard for over a decade now?
   48. Rally Posted: March 03, 2021 at 04:35 PM (#6007493)
#43, he definitely fits in the extra batting coach side of the spectrum. A class act all the way.
   49. Rally Posted: March 03, 2021 at 04:37 PM (#6007494)
As for the age, didn’t he talk about hitting against Octavio Dotel as a kid in one interview? Dotel is 47.
   50. Walt Davis Posted: March 03, 2021 at 04:39 PM (#6007496)
Further ...

Pujols does not have "hugely negative defensive value." Per Rfield, he remains an average or slightly better 1B. Nearly all 1Bs have negative value of course but he's still picking it there OK and somebody's got to play there. (The bat is the issue.)

And Miggy is aging worse. Pujols was still a good player at 34-35 and not terrible at 36. Even with an atrocious age 37, Pujols had 6.5 WAR across 34-37; Miggy is at 0 for those ages (and is pretty strictly a DH with "hugely negative defensive value"). Miggy still has 3 years on that contract. It is weird that Pujols gets all this negative reaction and Miggy gets very little. Cabrera's extension was 8/$240 and the Tigers are probably going to get 5 WAR and 7 replacement-level seasons for that but it's the Pujols contract trotted out as the disaster and has everybody wishing he would just retire already.
   51. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: March 03, 2021 at 04:40 PM (#6007497)
He's also got 669 doubles, which is way up the list but no threat to Speaker at #1. He probably won't get to 700 there either which is kind of too bad. I think only Aaron and Bonds have 600/600, not too many guys are even at 500/500.
   52. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 04:43 PM (#6007498)
Is it fun when you're the worst guy on the field? Especially when you used to be the best guy?


Are you playing baseball every day? Then it's fun. It's not AS fun, but it's still fun. If the Angels sat Pujols on the bench every day, then I could see him working out a deal with them to buy out the remainder of his deal. But he's still getting to play more than half the time. If you think you've got something to contribute (and regardless of what we think, Pujols obviously still thinks he does), then yeah, it's still fun.
   53. SoSH U at work Posted: March 03, 2021 at 04:46 PM (#6007500)
Has that been proven recently, or is it just the same speculation we've heard for over a decade now?


David Samson said yesterday that every GM in the league believes he's older than his listed age.
   54. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 04:46 PM (#6007501)
Are you playing baseball every day? Then it's fun.

I would not want to engage in any activity every day at which I was terrible. Playing golf with people who are way better than you sucks, even if you play relatively well.
   55. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 04:51 PM (#6007502)
A few posts have referenced Pujols being 43 rather than 41. Has that been proven recently, or is it just the same speculation we've heard for over a decade now?


There have been more people within the game talking about the speculation openly, but I think the main piece of evidence is what Rally referenced above. Pujols gave an interview a few years ago where applying math to his story made it clear that he was at least two years older than his listed age. Of course, his memory could be off, which happens all the time, but unless he just completely made the story up about facing Dotel, the details would require that he was two years older than he says. It's not absolute proof, but it's better than just pure speculation in that it came directly from Pujols.
   56. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 04:52 PM (#6007503)
I would not want to engage in any activity every day at which I was terrible. Playing golf with people who are way better than you sucks, even if you play relatively well.


I wouldn't either. But Albert Pujols is not terrible at baseball.

Edit: This also ignores everything else involved with the game. Heck, I'd pay money just to take batting practice at Angel Stadium. Or take groundballs. He gets to hang around and mentor his teammates and interact with other ballplayers for hours per day, something that Pujols apparently loves according to all reports.
   57. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 03, 2021 at 04:53 PM (#6007504)
it isn't sad for Pujols or somehow tarnishing who he was when he was 25.
Not to be pedantic, but he missed his age-25 season because he was serving in Korea.
   58. Rally Posted: March 03, 2021 at 04:53 PM (#6007505)
Here’s the discussion regarding a homer he hit off Dotel:

https://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/newsstand/discussion/pujols_age_revisted
   59. Srul Itza Posted: March 03, 2021 at 04:54 PM (#6007506)
What team would possibly pay Pujols to play for them in 2022, even at the league minimum?



One that is looking to tank, and wants to say, Hey, we're trying, we signed a Hall of Famer!

   60. Lars6788 Posted: March 03, 2021 at 04:55 PM (#6007507)
Chris Davis gets a pass compared to Pujols - that is a schmuck that should have walked away 3-4 years ago.

Where are Davis’ obligation to walk away to give someone else a chance to play?
   61. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 04:59 PM (#6007510)
Chris Davis gets a pass compared to Pujols - that is a schmuck that should have walked away 3-4 years ago.

Where are Davis’ obligation to walk away to give someone else a chance to play?


1) Davis has made a lot less than Pujols. His four terrible season comprise the majority of his earnings.
2) No one cares if Chris Davis sucks.
   62. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: March 03, 2021 at 05:02 PM (#6007512)
No one cares if Chris Davis sucks.


I suspect the Baltimore Orioles and their fans do.
   63. bunyon Posted: March 03, 2021 at 05:24 PM (#6007517)
At this point it looks like Jared Walsh is the starting 1B for the team. He was great last year but small sample size and might be a fluke. Ohtani is the DH if he’s not pitching. That doesn’t leave much of a role for Albert. DH 2-3 times a week when Ohtani is pitching or resting before/after a start. And then some 1B at bats against lefties. Probably doesn’t get more than 250-300 AB for the year. That’s if Ohtani can pitch, if not the DH at bats will be hard to come by.

Yeah, the Angels should absolutely trade or release him. He really has no role on the team.



Is it fun when you're the worst guy on the field? Especially when you used to be the best guy?


You ask a similar question later: Is it fun to be terrible. And the answer is, of course not. But it's MLB. Being the worst MLB player is still being otherworldly good. Pujols hasn't been good but he'll be a long way from worst person to make a MLB appearance in 2021. I didn't quote your thing about playing golf with people better than you. If you're not having fun playing and you don't enjoy their company, don't play. But don't tell me I shouldn't have a good time having a few drinks on a long walk and teasing them about taking themselves too seriously.

No one cares if Chris Davis sucks.

This is the weird part to me. Albert Pujols owes me nothing. I enjoyed watching an all-time great be an all-time great. That he's a 25th man on a bad team now has no effect on that. (Also, as long as Chris Davis is in the league, Pujols won't be the worst player).

I mean, I don't think we're going to come to agreement here. But I think you take career image and golf too seriously. I suspect you think I don't take it seriously enough.
   64. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 05:26 PM (#6007518)
I suspect the Baltimore Orioles and their fans do.

Nah, he's helping cement those sweet, sweet #1 picks. He'll be long gone before they're good.
   65. phredbird Posted: March 03, 2021 at 05:36 PM (#6007519)

i used to be a fake age denier, but that was when i was dazzled by pujols' career in st. louis.

when we won the series in 2011 i briefly forgot what had happened with him that season. he missed his 30/.300/100 mark by a single hit and a single rbi, and had several chances in the last game, which i watched on the edge of my seat. but looking back, you could see it happening. his OPS that year was the lowest of his time as a cardinal by far, and he only had 15 IBB that year and a ton of GIDPs. this was only two years after he had batted .327 and led the league in OBP, SLG, OPS, OPS+, total bases, etc. ... he was aging fast.

those years in anaheim have me seriously wondering.

the cardinals have always been a completely unsentimental organization about the talent on the field -- branch rickey was the GM of the cards when he practically invented player development in the minors, and he famously said he'd rather let a guy go one year too soon instead of one year too late. the 'cardinal way' is still a thing, sorta. so i wasn't surprised when they let albert get away after 2011, and i don't see them giving him some kind of limited role for a brief period next year, as some other orgs might do -- wasn't boggs past it when he finished with the rays, who signed him cuz he was from the area?

finally ... if i was still getting a chance somewhere, i'd play too, numbers be damned.
   66. Howie Menckel Posted: March 03, 2021 at 05:41 PM (#6007521)
Why wouldn’t a team like the Boston braves pick him up to juice attendance.

Too little too late - I think they are bound for Milwaukee no matter what.


if only the Boston Braves had signed, say, a Babe Ruth, they might have lasted another 15 years there....

Mickey Mantle hung 'em up at age 36 mainly because his body gave out, but when he retired (March 1, 1969, it's on the Topps card I got as a kid), he also suggested he thought he was terrible in 1967 and 1968 because hit only .245 and .237 to knock his career AVG below .300.

but he drew 107 and 106 walks (so 213, vs 210 Ks), 2nd in AL in both seasons - and he was 5th in OBP in '67 and 3rd in his '68 finale for his 11th and 12th top 5s in the AL in the category. he also was 9th in WAR in 1967.

Pujols is on the other extreme - he knocks in 100 runs, so he thinks he's a reasonably valuable player.

[ANNOUNCER: "Pujols is not, in fact, a reasonably valuable player."]
   67. McCoy Posted: March 03, 2021 at 05:50 PM (#6007522)
This will probably be his age 44 season
   68. bunyon Posted: March 03, 2021 at 06:06 PM (#6007526)
I referred to Pujols being 43. I did that because someone else did and I have no idea how old he is. I'm fairly agnostic on the issue but didn't mean to imply I'm convinced he's older than he's listed. I'm not convinced he's not but it's a pretty flimsy case. I don't think his career arc can be used as evidence. Plenty of players are washed up at 37 or 38. Even all time greats.
   69. Rally Posted: March 03, 2021 at 07:19 PM (#6007538)
When Mantle hit .237 in his last year he was still 7 points higher than the league.
   70. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 07:20 PM (#6007539)
I referred to Pujols being 43. I did that because someone else did and I have no idea how old he is. I'm fairly agnostic on the issue but didn't mean to imply I'm convinced he's older than he's listed. I'm not convinced he's not but it's a pretty flimsy case. I don't think his career arc can be used as evidence. Plenty of players are washed up at 37 or 38. Even all time greats.


According to MLB, he'll be 41 this season. As for being 43, the evidence is all circumstantial, aside from his "admission" in the discussion on the homer he hit of Dotel, which could be weird, faulty memory or apocrypha. I've long held the position that there isn't enough for me to be completely convinced he's lied about his age.

However, there's enough circumstantial evidence now that I think it's more likely than not he's older than his official MLB age. His career arc, his family background, the pictures of him in high school, the Dotel story...there's a lot there. My basic position on it is now: Absent hard evidence, I don't think it's fair to convict him of being a fraud, but I'm also not going to argue with anyone who is convinced he's 43. He probably is.
   71. Lars6788 Posted: March 03, 2021 at 08:01 PM (#6007543)
At this point, his age doesn't matter with what he has accomplished and how is career turned out for better or for worse.

I think he's 43 but maybe he's closer to 44 or 45 - we can go with '41' as well if that is what the record says.
   72. Zach Posted: March 03, 2021 at 08:03 PM (#6007544)
Cabrera's extension was 8/$240 and the Tigers are probably going to get 5 WAR and 7 replacement-level seasons for that but it's the Pujols contract trotted out as the disaster and has everybody wishing he would just retire already.

Yeah, but the Tigers got good years out of Cabrera before the extension.
   73. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: March 03, 2021 at 08:52 PM (#6007547)
Well if has lied about his age, what about the issue of the Angels giving him a 10 year contract. If his real age is 33 when he signs a new contract, no way anyone is giving him more than 6-7 years. So he's essentially fleeced the Angels out of $60-80 million....
   74. The Duke Posted: March 03, 2021 at 09:03 PM (#6007548)
I think it’s not only the Dotel story but all the stories that opposing high school coaches thought he was several years older. To me that’s more telling because it’s pretty easy to see the difference between a 16-17 year old and a 19-20 year old. I believe that also ties into why he was drafted so late - concern that he was much older.

At any rate, he had a Hall of Fame career. That’s what counts.
   75. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 03, 2021 at 09:06 PM (#6007549)
If his real age is 33 when he signs a new contract, no way anyone is giving him more than 6-7 years.
It’s Arte Moreno. Odds are at least even money that he would have still gotten 10.
   76. Walt Davis Posted: March 03, 2021 at 09:28 PM (#6007552)
In the wake of 9/11, visa checks and requirements were tightened substantially. Quite a few players got caught being a couple of years older than they were. There was one (Soriano maybe?) who had signed an FA contract but the GM made clear that he was aware of the true age when he offered the contract, it just wasn't made public at the time. Unless Pujols never left the US between 2001 and 2007, when he became a citizen, he would have needed to establish his correct age (and identity if necessary) to re-enter. I assume they also tightened up citizenship application checks and he could not have become a citizen without establishing his true age and identity.

All of which is to say that while I can maybe believe that his true age was somehow kept secret all this time, I think it's very likely that the Angels knew his true age when they offered the contract.
   77. Nasty Nate Posted: March 03, 2021 at 09:43 PM (#6007556)
Just because they cracked down on stuff after 2001 doesn't mean that everyone with a fake DOB got caught.
   78. gef, talking mongoose & suburban housewife Posted: March 03, 2021 at 09:54 PM (#6007560)
His career arc, his family background, the pictures of him in high school, the Dotel story...


... the military service during WWII ...
   79. Tim M Posted: March 03, 2021 at 09:56 PM (#6007561)
This came out just today - David Samson (former Marlins prez) said
There is not one person in baseball, not one executive, who believes Albert Pujols is the age that he says he is. The amount of fraud that was going on in the Dominican back in the day, the changing of names, the changing of birthdays, it would blow your mind.

Put me in the camp of, if a team signs a player who knowingly lied about his age, they should have some recourse (what recourse exactly, I'm not sure)
   80. Tin Angel Posted: March 03, 2021 at 10:47 PM (#6007566)
Put me in the camp of, if a team signs a player who knowingly lied about his age, they should have some recourse (what recourse exactly, I'm not sure)


Mow the owner's lawn in the summer and clean out the gutters in the fall?
   81. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: March 03, 2021 at 11:00 PM (#6007567)
As for Pujols not retiring:

I think I get it. Beyond baseball just being fun to play, as long as he's playing baseball he's ALBERT PUJOLS. Once he retires to spend time building bird houses or whatever, he's just the guy who used to be ALBERT PUJOLS. I few years ago I met a guy in my field who... well, doesn't have it anymore. But in the 70s he set the world on fire. And he still gets invitations to give keynote addresses at big conferences, and people speak in hushed tones around him. He's been, effectively, putting up zero WAR seasons for decades, but because of what he accomplished in the past he's still a huge deal. As long as Pujols is still an active player, and spending all of his time in baseball circles, and so on, his greatness is still, in a way, present. (Even if he's not actually great anymore.) Jo Adell, even if he is a total bust and never makes it back to the big leagues, will tell his grandkids about how he was teammates with Albert Pujols. But after Pujols retires, he doesn't get that, at least not in the same way. His neighbors are not going to tell their grandkids about how they used to live down the block from Albert Pujols, or, if they do, it will be in a "this is a neat thing" sort of way, not in the way that Adell is going to tell his grandkids about it.
   82. bjhanke Posted: March 03, 2021 at 11:01 PM (#6007568)
Everyone in STL could tell, at the end of Albert's tenure there, that he had a serious problem with the plantar fasciitis. You could see him limping when trying to run bases. It's much more obvious now, because he is SO slow that you just can't miss it. When the Angels signed him, I didn't know whether to be upset or relieved. "Relieved" turned out to be the right answer. On the other hand, the reason that the Angels had to bid so high was because the STL offer was close to that high.

The main driver of the lying about age thing is that he's from Latin America. Players from there have been accused of lying about age for decades, and it is sometimes true. It was much worse in the 1950s and 60s, because you had a lot of black guys who lied because no MLB team took them seriously until they were 25 or so. When that problem went away, the lying went away. I think it was Tony Perez who actually used his brother's documentation when he came to the U. S., because his brother was younger than he was. Not sure it was Perez, but that's what I remember.
   83. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: March 03, 2021 at 11:08 PM (#6007572)
I few years ago I met a guy in my field who... well, doesn't have it anymore. But in the 70s he set the world on fire. And he still gets invitations to give keynote addresses at big conferences, and people speak in hushed tones around him. He's been, effectively, putting up zero WAR seasons for decades, but because of what he accomplished in the past he's still a huge deal.


Huh, I never would've guessed that a porn star would still be so recognisable with his pants on.....

All of which is to say that while I can maybe believe that his true age was somehow kept secret all this time, I think it's very likely that the Angels knew his true age when they offered the contract.


That's a fair call. But if the Angels had no idea, I can imagine Moreno is not too happy about it.
   84. Howie Menckel Posted: March 03, 2021 at 11:13 PM (#6007574)
Huh, I never would've guessed that a porn star would still be so recognisable with his pants on.....

so sayeth Hugh Jorgan
   85. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 03, 2021 at 11:50 PM (#6007578)
I think it was Tony Perez who actually used his brother's documentation when he came to the U. S., because his brother was younger than he was. Not sure it was Perez, but that's what I remember.


It was a Tony from Cuba, but Tony Oliva, not Tony Perez. From Oliva's SABR bio:

It is unclear if Cambria knew Oliva’s actual age at the time of extending that first contract offer, but the experienced birddog was impressed enough with the judgments of Fernández to orchestrate Oliva’s transfer as a largely untested prospect to the Minnesota farm system. As Oliva himself recounts the events, his February signing allowed only a few short weeks before a scheduled departure for spring training in the United States. The cramped time frame created a significant problem because he lacked a passport. But since his brother Antonio (older by Oliva’s telling) did possess proper documentation, a switch was hurriedly arranged and the hopeful ballplayer was cleared to leave his homeland with obviously illegitimate paperwork. The Twins’ timely offer and the availability of his brother’s passport papers enabled an escape from Cuba in the immediate aftermath of the 1959 Castro-led revolution and thus at the precise time of worsening Cuba-USA relations. One fateful consequence for the future was that the youngster would become known by a brother’s name and not his own, a fate he could never shake despite later legally changing his name in U.S. courts to Pedro Oliva Jr. (actually his rightful given name in Cuba). An equally devastating consequence was the fact that worsening relations between Washington and the newly installed Castro regime would soon block any possibilities of returning to his beloved homeland and his family homestead for decades into the future.
   86. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 04, 2021 at 12:17 AM (#6007580)
Jo Adell, even if he is a total bust and never makes it back to the big leagues, will tell his grandkids about how he was teammates with Albert Pujols.
”And kids, let me tell you, that son of a gun just would *not* retire. Blocked my buddy Jared Walsh from a job for years.”
   87. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: March 04, 2021 at 01:48 AM (#6007583)
.. the military service during WWII ...


...surviving the sinking of the Titanic...
   88. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 04, 2021 at 05:49 AM (#6007585)

...surviving the sinking of the Titanic...


I was surprised to see him doing a cameo in the James Cameron flick too, but you can just catch him in the back of one of the lifeboats.
   89. Rally Posted: March 04, 2021 at 08:12 AM (#6007592)
There is not one person in baseball, not one executive, who believes Albert Pujols is the age that he says he is. The amount of fraud that was going on in the Dominican back in the day, the changing of names, the changing of birthdays, it would blow your mind


Samson may be saying that now, but in 2011 his Marlins were one of the top competing bids before Pujols signed with the Angels. They might have offered more money. My guess as to why Pujols didn’t sign there is the Marlins probably were only going to pay him 5 million in year 1 and trade him before the raises kicked in.
   90. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: March 04, 2021 at 08:53 AM (#6007598)
Professional pride that you shouldn't be playing when there are 100 guys in AA/AAA better than you?

I'd rather watch even a greatly diminished Pujols play rather than an anonymous AAA guy, wouldn't you?
   91. Rennie's Tenet Posted: March 04, 2021 at 09:03 AM (#6007600)
I think it likely that Pujols looks at the 90+ RBIs and figures he's still contributing. There's probably a huge gap right now between how 40-year old players perceive success and how young players do.
   92. bunyon Posted: March 04, 2021 at 09:29 AM (#6007602)
It's true that there is motive and (some) opportunity for players to lie about their age. But it's one thing to tell a scout you're 16 and another once you get government officials involved. As for looking older than your age in high school, I don't buy that either. I was accused of it and knew some other guys who were. 17 and 18 is a weird time. You have a lot of guys still looking like 13 year olds and other guys looking 30. Being really good, big, and looking older is common. It's a worry because, a lot of the time, those guys really did just mature faster and once everyone else catches up they fall back to average. If a 20 year old was playing high school ball, I'd expect the numbers Pujols put up and it wouldn't suggest the career he ended up having.

It's the problem of proving a negative, of course, and there is a LOT of smoke around this question. So maybe it's a fire. But a misremembered story from 20 years ago and David Samson being a self-serving ass still make as much, or more, sense than that Pujols lied about his age.


On the other hand, I've thought a fair amount on this issue. My father spent a year playing in the Giants system after graduating college in 1956. This would have been, like D ball or something. When Baseball Reference got minor leaguers listed, I was obviously excited to see his page. It all checked with his stories except for his birthday. Right day, but 1935 instead of 1934. I asked Dad and he just shrugged and said you can't trust what you see on the internet. I didn't push. When he died, I saw his birth certificate (so much paperwork in death) and the folks at BRef scooped up his obituary within a week or two and corrected the age.

My hunch is someone messed up a date and Dad went along with it. He was in the National Guard by that point and a college graduate so I don't know how he'd think he'd get away with lying. But...maybe. And certainly if a scout wrote down the wrong year, I doubt he would have said anything. Something in the way he addressed it when I showed him suggested he knew something was hinky.
   93. Rally Posted: March 04, 2021 at 09:39 AM (#6007603)
I'd rather watch even a greatly diminished Pujols play rather than an anonymous AAA guy, wouldn't you?


Gets boring sometimes. When Pujols hits a ground ball and runs to first, I sometimes change the channel, watch a sitcom rerun, and turn back before he gets to first base.
   94. bunyon Posted: March 04, 2021 at 09:41 AM (#6007604)
I can believe plantar fascitis could effectively end a career. As far as I know, there aren't many good therapies and I've got friends - mostly runners - who, while never elite athletes, ran ~3 hour marathons and were very active. Once they developed plantar fascitis, they became lazy slobs like me. It's extremely painful and persistent. That Pujols has had the last 10 years he's had with it is actually amazing.
   95. McCoy Posted: March 04, 2021 at 09:45 AM (#6007605)
Pujols came to America in 1996 as a complete unknown. If he was 19 that makes his road to the majors or much of anything in baseball incredibly hard. Buy if instead he's 16 he gets 2 seasons of high school to attract the attention of scouts. Ll and attract their attention he did.

For the draft there were several issues. His age and his agent being two of them. Others being that his performance in front of scouts was uneven and being a relatively new prospect a lot of teams didn't get to see him a lot. Consequently some scouts and teams liked him and some scouts didn't and some teams he wasn't even on their radar.

The Rays were high on him along with the Red Sox. The Red Sox got cheap on signing bonus. Pujols wanted the team drafting him to put up money for college should baseball not work out and the Red Sox wouldn't.

The Rays were the ones expected to draft him within rounds 2-5 or so but for some reason they got cold feet. The Rays scout who discovered him for the team quit the next year in disgust.

Even the Cardinals were thought to draft him in the first 10 rounds. In the end he was just a "hey, what about this guy? Our scouts like him." pick for the Cardinals.
   96. . Posted: March 04, 2021 at 10:01 AM (#6007606)
Mickey Mantle hung 'em up at age 36 mainly because his body gave out, but when he retired (March 1, 1969, it's on the Topps card I got as a kid), he also suggested he thought he was terrible in 1967 and 1968 because hit only .245 and .237 to knock his career AVG below .300.

but he drew 107 and 106 walks (so 213, vs 210 Ks), 2nd in AL in both seasons - and he was 5th in OBP in '67 and 3rd in his '68 finale for his 11th and 12th top 5s in the AL in the category. he also was 9th in WAR in 1967.


Because Mickey Mantle knew that what made Mickey Mantle, Mickey Mantle, wasn't drawing walks.

Smart guy that Mickey Mantle.
   97. . Posted: March 04, 2021 at 10:05 AM (#6007607)
As far as I know, there aren't many good therapies and I've got friends - mostly runners - who, while never elite athletes, ran ~3 hour marathons and were very active. Once they developed plantar fascitis, they became lazy slobs like me. It's extremely painful and persistent.


I beat a bad case in 2018-19. Stretching, massaging the tendon with a tennis ball, picking up dice with only your toes and depositing them in a cup, being an absolute Nazi about the shoes you put on your feet 24/7. I probably threw away $1,000 worth of shoes and replaced them all. But, yeah, it really sucks when you have it. Low point was probably going to the doctor and him basically saying there was nothing he could do.
   98. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 04, 2021 at 10:16 AM (#6007608)
I can believe plantar fascitis could effectively end a career. As far as I know, there aren't many good therapies and I've got friends - mostly runners - who, while never elite athletes, ran ~3 hour marathons and were very active. Once they developed plantar fascitis, they became lazy slobs like me. It's extremely painful and persistent. That Pujols has had the last 10 years he's had with it is actually amazing.

I have it, and the think about it is it hurts most when you first step on the feet after lying/sitting down. Once you fight through the pain and start moving, your foot loosens up and it gets a lot better.

I had a back attack two weeks ago, and it was agony to get started moving. But I went outside to shovel snow, and after 10 minutes, I didn't really notice it.
   99. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 04, 2021 at 10:19 AM (#6007609)
There's probably a huge gap right now between how 40-year old players perceive success and how young players do.
To say nothing of the gap between 40-year-old players and players of Pujols' generation!
   100. gehrig97 Posted: March 04, 2021 at 12:45 PM (#6007636)
Eh, it's a headline. Given his age, his production, and his propensity for injury, he'll almost certainly need three seasons to get there. No way he gets the opportunity to hang around for three seasons (unless... I dunno, he works out some Giambi-like situation as a PH/unofficial coach).
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