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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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   101. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: March 04, 2021 at 01:12 PM (#6007639)
I think this also might be deflection on his part. Pujols has always been candid about his place in history when asked, but hasn't ever come across as self-aggrandizing. He was very quick to quash a story last week about his pending retirement when reporters latched onto a tweet from his wife that indicated this might be his last year.

If you'll indulge complete speculation, my guess is that this is likely Pujols' last season. Pujols knows it and has discussed it with his wife, and she slipped up with her tweet. Albert has no stomach for the hoopla and feting that accompanies a surefire Hall of Famer on a retirement tour, so he not only nipped that story in the bud but is now also throwing out some coy misinformation to try to preemptively deflect the questions that are sure to come his way. I think, more than anything, he'd love to go out on a high note on his Angels career, personally and team-wise, and a media circus focused on his retirement would be detrimental to that.
   102. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: March 04, 2021 at 02:06 PM (#6007646)
There are four players active entering the 2021 season who have played 2000+ games.

Pujols is 1st among active players, and 16th all-time (if he can play in 125 games this year, he'll be alone in 10th place).

Who are the other three active players?

(Side note: When you look at the career counting stats among active players, it's hard to miss that there aren't a lot of them who are closing in on any major milestones. Obviously, the 2020 shortened season doesn't help, and the way pitchers are used makes almost all career pitching records seem unreachable, but still - we are in the midst of a gap in all-timers who are finishing up their careers at the moment.

So, who are the other three with 2000+ games played?
   103. JJ1986 Posted: March 04, 2021 at 02:12 PM (#6007647)
I assume Miguel Cabrera is one. Robinson Cano?
   104. KronicFatigue Posted: March 04, 2021 at 02:13 PM (#6007648)
For those of you who say "playing baseball is fun", are you talking about the actual 9 innings, or also including all the stuff that goes on before and after that? There are certainly elements of being a MLB player that I would enjoy (the camaraderie, the competitiveness, etc) but from the outside, it looks much more like a job than playing a game. The baseball I've played (more accurately: softball) has more in common with video game baseball than MLB baseball.

MLB looks like hard work. And while everyone is entitled to enjoy what they enjoy, it sometimes feels sad when it seems like that's the only thing they enjoy. Does the drummer from whiplash would probably say they enjoy playing the drums, but it doesn't seem like a healthy relationship.

Also, on the last page, the anecdote of the guy in the poster's field who still shows up even though they've been posting 0 WAR was a good one, and that probably is a strong contributor to Pujols continuing. My memory is too shot to give that poster proper credit.
   105. SoSH U at work Posted: March 04, 2021 at 02:15 PM (#6007649)
Votto or Nelson Cruz?
   106. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 04, 2021 at 02:27 PM (#6007652)
Nick Markakis?
   107. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: March 04, 2021 at 02:30 PM (#6007653)
For those of you who say "playing baseball is fun", are you talking about the actual 9 innings, or also including all the stuff that goes on before and after that? There are certainly elements of being a MLB player that I would enjoy (the camaraderie, the competitiveness, etc) but from the outside, it looks much more like a job than playing a game. The baseball I've played (more accurately: softball) has more in common with video game baseball than MLB baseball.

MLB looks like hard work.


I'm sure MLB is hard work. But sitting here reviewing financial statements, preparing a 10K, and answering questions from auditors is also hard work. I generally enjoy my profession, but I can tell you which I'd rather be doing, if given the choice. I'd rather be out there in the sunshine fielding 500 groundballs, or stretching, or running laps with my teammates, or weight-lifting, or taking batting practice. I don't miss much about high school, but I miss playing sports, and all the preparation that goes along with it. I can see how it might not be for everyone, but it also doesn't surprise me that there are guys who've been playing in the league for 20 years and still love it.
   108. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 04, 2021 at 02:30 PM (#6007654)
If Pujols really is 43 then I think he’d be the last active player older than me. So I’ll root for him to keep playing to make me feel a bit younger.

Miguel Cabrera was the first player I remember who looked younger than me, so the fact that he’s in the twilight of his career also makes me feel old.
   109. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 04, 2021 at 02:40 PM (#6007659)
I think playing professional sports in your late 30s/early 40s is extremely physically demanding and painful. Good for Albert if he wants to keep playing through that, but being about the same age as him and dealing with nagging injuries in my own (much less serious) athletic endeavors, I don’t necessarily envy it.

Playing a baseball game every few days seems like fun. Playing baseball every day, the work that goes into keeping your body prepared for that, the inevitable injuries and PT — that seems like less fun at our age. But yeah, maybe more fun than reviewing PowerPoint presentations and excel models.
   110. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: March 04, 2021 at 02:45 PM (#6007661)
I have to apologize about the 2000+ games played thing. There are actually five active players (one of them is not on BB-Ref's active list, but he still active, I think). They are

1) Pujols
2) Cabrera
3) Cano
4) Markakis
5) Molina

In fact, the only other active player even above 1,771 is Edwin Encarnacion, who is at 1960. The next names on the list aren't exactly showing a lot left in the tank:
6)Encarnacion
7) Votto
8) Braun
9) Alex Gordon
10) Kemp



   111. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 04, 2021 at 02:54 PM (#6007664)
I think Alex Gordon retired. I’m not sure if Markakis has signed anywhere yet for 2021. I don’t think so.
   112. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 04, 2021 at 03:04 PM (#6007667)
Players have lied about their age forever. I few weeks ago I ran across Les Willis’s BR page. He was a left-handed pitcher who pitched one year for the Indians in 1947 – he went 0-2, 3.48 in 22 games. Unremarkable except for one thing – he was age 39. To be a 39-year-old rookie is remarkable, especially coming after the war years, when teams were scrambling for players. You’d think that if he was good enough to pitch in 1947, someone would have given him a shot during the war.

A little digging gave some answers. It seems that he was giving his age as 35 at the time, not 39. He was from Texas, and apparently spent a few years working in an oil refinery before signing a minor-league deal at age 24. He won 20 or more games in the minors three years in a row from 1935 to 1937, and 18 in 1939, in the Cardinals and Cubs organizations, but never got a shot at the bigs. He came down with a bad arm in 1942, and sat out the next three seasons running a drugstore in his home town of Jasper, Texas. His arm recovered to sign with Memphis in the Southern Association in 1946, and went he 18-7 with a 2.37 ERA, good enough to get drafted by the Indians in the Rule 5 draft. This got him the shot at the majors he’d always hoped for. The baseball guides of time, and the only newspaper article I could find (from spring training 1947) all list his age as 35 at that time – I think that’s what the Indians thought was accurate. Giving an unknown 35-year-old rookie a shot is unlikely enough. I’m sure they would have been more skeptical if they knew he was really 39. The newspaper article I found makes light of him being 35, a bit out-of-shape, and Willis’s quotes stress that he knew this would be his only chance to pitch in the majors.

The Indians needed a left-handed pitcher in their bullpen. They simply didn’t have one. Their options in spring training were Willis, and two young pitchers who later made an impact at the major league level, Gene Bearden and Bob Kuzava. Manager Lou Boudreau thought that Bearden and Kuzava needed more minor league seasoning, and kept Willis. He was used regularly but sparingly through the end of August. On August 23, he made his final appearance – the Indians had a run of double-headers, and their starting pitcher got knocked out in the second inning. Willis came in and “took one for the team” giving them 6-2/3 innings in relief, but being shellacked for 14 hits and 6 runs. He didn’t pitch again. I don’t know if his arm was shot, or if Boudreau simply lost confidence in him. The two pitchers mentioned earlier were brought up in September to give them other options. But that was the end of Willis’s career. I don’t know when his true birth date became common knowledge.
   113. gehrig97 Posted: March 04, 2021 at 03:48 PM (#6007672)
@110: Markakis! I wouldn't have gotten that if you gave me 100 guesses.
   114. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: March 04, 2021 at 04:13 PM (#6007674)
@110: Markakis! I wouldn't have gotten that if you gave me 100 guesses.


He was the only one that popped into my head!

Best right-handed hitter of this generation? It's probably Pujols, slightly ahead of Miggy and A-Rod. Albert and Miggy both have 10 seasons of 150 or higher OPS+, but Pujols were consecutive. Miggy actually has the career advantage by a point. Manny actually has a higher career number. A-Rod of course has a huge WAR advantage due to positional adjustment.

Career OPS+:
Manny 154; 2300 games
Miggy: 147; 2400 games
Albert: 146; 2,800 games
A-Rod: 140; 2,700 games

   115. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 04, 2021 at 04:17 PM (#6007676)
I guessed Markakis because he has taken up the mantle as the potential “WTF?” 3,000 hit guy. As in, a guy who might get to 3,000 hits simply by being a pretty good, durable player for a very long time. Someone who really has no business in the HOF and would test whether 3,000 hits automatically gets you in (I suspect not).

For a while, it was Edgar Renteria. Then Johnny Damon. Markakis is the latest. (I may be forgetting some guys in there.). None of them end up getting to 3,000 because they’re just not good enough overall players to keep playing into their 40s, which is often required to get to 3,000 even if you’re really good. But for a while it looks like an outside possibility.
   116. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 04, 2021 at 04:22 PM (#6007678)
Career OPS+:
Manny 154; 2300 games
Miggy: 147; 2400 games
Albert: 146; 2,800 games
A-Rod: 140; 2,700 games


Pujols through 2274 games - 160 OPS+
Pujols through 2426 games - 157 OPS+

A-rod through 2303 games - 146 OPS+
A-rod through 2402 games - 145 OPS+

Yeah, I don’t see any way that it isn’t Pujols.
   117. Sweatpants Posted: March 04, 2021 at 06:00 PM (#6007688)
For a while, it was Edgar Renteria. Then Johnny Damon. Markakis is the latest.
Renteria got that title by starting extremely early and racking up 150 hits every season. It was very much a case of him having all the time in the world to get there after a very good start. He washed up in his early 30s without coming anywhere close to 3,000. The most similar case is maybe Starlin Castro's, but Castro was already a year behind and 2020 put him back of Renteria's pace by another year.

Damon's performance in his 20s didn't make him a particularly good candidate, but he averaged 173 hits a season in the first half of his 30s to give himself an outside shot. He then averaged 151 hits from 35-37 to put himself at 2,723 hits, which made it a serious possibility. It was going to be tough, as giving a starting DH or LF spot to a 105 OPS+ guy isn't really part of a GM's ideal vision (Damon had actually been a fine starter, in part because of his baserunning). Anyway, Damon collapsed at age 38 and that was it.

I'm guessing the Markakis talk came after 2018, when he had a strong age-34 season to put him at 2,237. Damon was at 2,270 at the same stage, but Markakis managed only 151 hits combined over the next two seasons. He's 37 and has only 61 more hits than Renteria finished with, and Renteria was 35 when he last played.
   118. jingoist Posted: March 04, 2021 at 06:13 PM (#6007690)
Awhile back I was perusing Alberts stats on bbref and noticed his “gold” stat for hitting into the most DPs in a career.
A negative stat if there ever was one; exceeded only by most errors at a position, I guess.
Seems like faint praise for an all-time great.

Then I got to thinking.....who has the most all-time career gold level stats?
Long story short, nobody, but nobody will ever catch or exceed Cy Young.
8 gold level records.
I know it was a very different sport 120+ years ago, but those are some mind-boggling numbers from a very consistent and healthy player.

As someone who suffered from plantar fasciitis until I saw my chiropractor who took a metal tool that looked like a fat shoehorn and scrapped my heel and instep (unbelievable pain, but worked), I can relate to anyone who suffers from that condition.
Walking, let alone trying to run a base, is almost impossible.
Good luck, Albert
   119. cardsfanboy Posted: March 04, 2021 at 09:19 PM (#6007705)
Then I got to thinking.....who has the most all-time career gold level stats?
Long story short, nobody, but nobody will ever catch or exceed Cy Young.
8 gold level records.
I know it was a very different sport 120+ years ago, but those are some mind-boggling numbers from a very consistent and healthy player.


And literally, none of them has a remote chance of being bested (wins, losses, games started, complete games, batters faced, earned runs allowed, innings pitched, hits allowed) Mariano Rivera has three golds, Rickey Henderson has 3, Bonds has 3, Ruth has 3.... there aren't that many categories that have a gold status, (Ruth doesn't get it for most war all time, nor do you get for any defensive stats)
   120. bjhanke Posted: March 04, 2021 at 09:33 PM (#6007707)
A lot of Pujols' career has been driven by injuries. He came up as a 3B, but something went wrong in his arm (shoulder or elbow or something else) and so they moved him to LF. Then his feet started to go bad, due to the plantar fasciitis, so they moved him to 1B. He would occasionally play a game at 2B, and he wasn't awful. You could tell that, especially with his bat, he could have played 2B most of his career in STL. He would not have been a GOOD 2B, but he could have gotten by at least as well as Rogers Hornsby.

Oh, and vote - Thanks for the correction. I remembered that it was a Tony, but I could not remember which one. I looked at Perez's bio, and it was not mentioned. So, I posted my comment, because otherwise, I'd have had to check out every Tony in MLB anywhere near Perez's time. I do appreciate your help.
   121. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 04, 2021 at 11:16 PM (#6007712)
Oh, and vote - Thanks for the correction. I remembered that it was a Tony, but I could not remember which one. I looked at Perez's bio, and it was not mentioned. So, I posted my comment, because otherwise, I'd have had to check out every Tony in MLB anywhere near Perez's time. I do appreciate your help.


Glad to help.
   122. EddieA Posted: March 05, 2021 at 12:22 AM (#6007714)
Rose has 4 golds - would have 7 if singles, times on base, and outs made were gold status.
   123. McCoy Posted: March 05, 2021 at 07:50 AM (#6007718)
He played a game at second for a total of 3.1 innings. It happened because of an injury. He recorded a grand total of 1 PO.

He also played 2 innings as a SS and was involved in no plays. I doubt very much Albert could have played second base for most of his career.
   124. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 05, 2021 at 08:06 AM (#6007719)
Career OPS+:
Manny 154; 2300 games
Miggy: 147; 2400 games
Albert: 146; 2,800 games
A-Rod: 140; 2,700 games


Pujols through 2274 games - 160 OPS+
Pujols through 2426 games - 157 OPS+

A-rod through 2303 games - 146 OPS+
A-rod through 2402 games - 145 OPS+

Yeah, I don’t see any way that it isn’t Pujols.


It occurred to me that we forgot about someone, unless you consider him too young to be part of this generation:

Trout through 1,252 games - 176 OPS+
Pujols through 1,239 games - 170 OPS+

Pujols continued to improve his career mark for another two seasons (he peaked at 172 in ~1,558 games) before his decline began, so one could argue that we need to see what Trout does over the next couple of years before saying he’s better. But at worst, it’s probably a tie.
   125. bunyon Posted: March 05, 2021 at 08:43 AM (#6007720)
MLB debut

ARod 1994
Pujols 2001
Trout 2011

If ARod and Pujols are in the same "generation", it's hard to argue Trout and Pujols aren't without invoking Pujols' age.

I guess more of ARod and Pujols' peaks overlap than Trout and either of the others. Is that a generation? It's a squishy definition.
   126. Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: March 05, 2021 at 11:16 AM (#6007735)

Playing golf with people who are way better than you sucks, even if you play relatively well.


For whom?

I enjoy being the worst player in the foursome much more than being the best. (I'm a 12. My index is a deflated 8.9, due to playing an easy course that is rated as harder than it actually is, so, I call myself a 12 rather than anything lower. If I can keep up, timewise, there's never any problem with me getting beat by 10 shots or more.)
   127. . Posted: March 05, 2021 at 11:40 AM (#6007739)
I enjoy being the worst player in the foursome much more than being the best. (I'm a 12. My index is a deflated 8.9, due to playing an easy course that is rated as harder than it actually is, so, I call myself a 12 rather than anything lower. If I can keep up, timewise, there's never any problem with me getting beat by 10 shots or more.)


I play Bethpage Black a lot as a walk on solo and often get paired with better players -- ex-southern college players and the like. The fact that I'm still pretty big off the tee even at my advancing age (*) helps me keep my pride, as does the occasional flash of something akin to brilliance. (Mixed in with a whole lot of garbage.) But I'd trade it all for a better all-around game. Going into the 2021 season, I'm thinking of dialing the tempo down a bit or maybe two or three bits, which I should have done decades ago, but it raises the interesting philosophical question of how much distance I'd *really* be willing to give up in exchange for lower scores. I've actually been contemplating it at some length in the last couple weeks.

The point here, as it applies to Pujols and advancing age major league baseball players, is that you're always looking to improve and always think you can improve. Pujols in his head probably thinks he could produce at MVP-ish levels in 2021. That kind of optimism and quest and striving is actually a positive life force; calling it "sad" is eat-your-vegetables and take-your-cod-liver-oil ridiculous.

(*) The advances in golf equipment in the last 30 years, even the last 10, are just absurd.
   128. The Duke Posted: March 05, 2021 at 12:15 PM (#6007749)
Starlin Castro is the new nick markakis. If he can hold down a job and keep putting up middling numbers he could approach 3000 hits late in his career.
   129. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: March 05, 2021 at 12:24 PM (#6007754)
I hate golf because I hate paying that much money to suck at something. However, if it's on someone else's dime or if I was, in some strange billionaire's fantasy world, being paid to play, I would have fun despite being awful.
   130. Lassus Posted: March 05, 2021 at 12:34 PM (#6007756)
I hate golf because I hate paying that much money to suck at something.
See: skiing.
   131. Lassus Posted: March 05, 2021 at 12:41 PM (#6007763)
Playing golf with people who are way better than you sucks, even if you play relatively well.
For whom?
I enjoy being the worst player in the foursome much more than being the best.


Oh, I dunno, I would agree that it kinda sucks. I mean, not for the better players. I'm around Bivens' level (or a stroke or three worse) which maybe is part of it. You're good enough to have played with plenty worse players, but playing with truly better players when you invariably shank or duff or duck-hook one (I have mercifully avoided whiffs amongst my various other hack regressions) - whether it's based on lack of talent or self-consciousness - there's a real shame at holding everyone up and looking like a doofus. Plus just general embarrassment, which, of course, YMMV with your own personal mental illnesses. The fact that I have never thought that about any bad (but polite, well-behaved, etiquette-aware) player when I'm on the other end has had no effect.
   132. McCoy Posted: March 05, 2021 at 01:37 PM (#6007773)
Really depends on the mix. If you're the by far worst player of a foursome and you were put with the other 3 it really sucks for the bad player. If you are by far the best player and you are put with three really bad players it sucks for the good player.

If you're a group that knows each other and hangs out together it's no big deal.
   133. Howie Menckel Posted: March 05, 2021 at 01:39 PM (#6007775)
I play Bethpage Black a lot as a walk on solo and often get paired with better players


I grew up as part of a group of 8 avid teenage players.

I broke 80 once, when I was age 16 (6-over-par 78, when I was shooting low 80s), and I was the WORST player by a little bit.

we used to make an annual trek to Bethpage Black in the 1980s, long before it began hosting US Opens or PGA Championships, because by slope rating it was the most difficult course in the tri-state area. and of course we'd play the back tees, and of course it was always over 90 degrees.

kind of a war of attrition out there. but I once played alongside our best player - about 3 shots better than a zero-handicap "scratch" level, won 8 or 9 club championships, had to give 2 shots a side to the club pro - when he shot 2-under at Bethpage Black under those challenges. it was a sight to see.

I got used to "stepping lively" at a young age to keep the group's pace up, as I'd always go first on second shots on par-4s and par-5s.

it did feel odd when I'd occasionally be paired up with 2 or 3 schmucks who couldn't break 100 with 3 mulligans on a 15-hole course. and yes, I didn't mind bad but polite, well-behaved, etiquette-aware players, either.

Pujols - as I noted earlier, I think he truly believes that when he knocks in 100 runs, he must have had a pretty decent year. he obviously can tell he's nowhere near his greatness, but I wonder, if he knew how bad he actually is now, if he'd feel any differently.
   134. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: March 05, 2021 at 03:34 PM (#6007789)
Pujols - as I noted earlier, I think he truly believes that when he knocks in 100 runs, he must have had a pretty decent year. he obviously can tell he's nowhere near his greatness, but I wonder, if he knew how bad he actually is now, if he'd feel any differently.


Sometimes I wonder how ball players see themselves. Does Harold Baines know that he's an a terrible selection to the hall of fame? I'm sure it's an honor to be selected, but I could also see not wanting an honor that you know you don't deserve.
   135. gef, talking mongoose & suburban housewife Posted: March 05, 2021 at 03:54 PM (#6007792)
I hate golf because I hate paying that much money to suck at something.

See: skiing.


Well, that's 2 of the more ineffably bourgeois "sports" accounted for. Will no one speak up for tennis? Yachting? Polo (water & horeseback)?
   136. McCoy Posted: March 05, 2021 at 04:40 PM (#6007798)
Nobody thinks they deserve to be fired and everybody is the hero in their story.
   137. Lars6788 Posted: March 05, 2021 at 05:01 PM (#6007801)
Pujols is an intelligent player and a man - he’s not some Neanderthal who doesn’t look past the counting numbers - but there is pride in driving in 100 runs a year, even if everything else has deteriorated.

   138. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 05, 2021 at 05:15 PM (#6007804)
FWIW, Pujols hasn’t driven in 100 runs since 2017, and has only done it 4 times in the last 10 seasons (plus one season with 99 and two others in the 90s).
   139. John DiFool2 Posted: March 05, 2021 at 05:43 PM (#6007805)
Side note: When you look at the career counting stats among active players, it's hard to miss that there aren't a lot of them who are closing in on any major milestones.


As I've said over the past year in a few threads, the HoF WILL have to adjust their standards (incl. for the short season), or virtually nobody will be elected.

Heh, Kemp just had an 88 OPS+-in Coors Field.
   140. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: March 05, 2021 at 07:09 PM (#6007806)
Polo (water & horeseback)?


Well, horseback anyway. Water polo would not fall into the category of "bourgeois" sports. There is a lot of kneeing, elbowing, pit-hair-grabbing, scratching, suit-pulling, and more that goes on under water. I used to come out of the pool bloody after some of the more aggressive matches.
   141. Walt Davis Posted: March 06, 2021 at 12:53 AM (#6007818)
Back to lyin' ... Many years ago (I don't want to think how many), Neyer wrote an article on this looking at historical cases. There was a lot of lying about ages coming out of WW2. If memory serves, some of them were even guys who'd spent a few years in the minors before the war then still got away with claiming to be 23 or whatever. Basically, if a player can get away with lying about his age ...

Which raises the question of whether teams really knew/strongly suspected. Especially coming out of the war and needing to restock teams all over the place, "this guy can play a bit" is a lot more important than "what if he doesn't follow the standard aging arc?"

As to Pujols ... if a 23 (25) year-old can just waltz in and post a 150 OPS+ right away then become an all-time great, ya really gotta wonder about every single scout who'd looked at him over the previous 7-9 years.
   142. Mayor Blomberg Posted: March 06, 2021 at 01:25 AM (#6007819)
141 - And they weren't signing Albert-sized contracts.
   143. KJOK Posted: March 06, 2021 at 02:28 AM (#6007821)
I'm always amazed by the 'who would sign him even for minimum in 2022?' comments here. The Angeles are effectively doing that for 2021! Because the contract is a sunk cost, it would only incrementally cost them the salary of whomever would take his roster spot to just cut him this year. And the team would likely be better off with him NOT playing. I just hope the Cardinals don't get pressured by the fan base to bring him back for a final farewell season, and to break some records.
   144. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: March 06, 2021 at 09:49 AM (#6007822)
I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets released during the season. Problem is, if they release him now and then the season gets shortened (it probably won’t but there’s a chance) they are on the hook for his full salary rather than the pro-rated salary. Prince Fielder ended up being the highest paid player of 2020 (or maybe Ellsbury if he got all his money).
   145. Ron J Posted: March 06, 2021 at 11:18 AM (#6007825)
I remember when we first started to get swing and miss data that Pujols had a very high contact rate for somebody with his power.

I can remember speculating that this might make him age badly if he didn't adjust. Because the reflexes that allow that style don't last.

He never became more selective.
   146. Nasty Nate Posted: March 06, 2021 at 11:47 AM (#6007827)
Heh, Kemp just had an 88 OPS+-in Coors Field.
That's not worse than of he had done it in Petco or Safeco or wherever.
   147. SoSH U at work Posted: March 06, 2021 at 12:06 PM (#6007829)

I remember when we first started to get swing and miss data that Pujols had a very high contact rate for somebody with his power.


I can remember speculating that this might make him age badly if he didn't adjust.


He never became more selective.


I don't understand this. What adjustment do you think he needed to make?
   148. Ron J Posted: March 06, 2021 at 12:54 PM (#6007831)
#147 I though he'd need to take more pitches as he lost the ability to drive "everything".

This is a very common type of adjustment for players as they age. And from a quick look at the data it's one he hasn't made.
   149. SoSH U at work Posted: March 06, 2021 at 01:43 PM (#6007833)
#147 I though he'd need to take more pitches as he lost the ability to drive "everything".

This is a very common type of adjustment for players as they age. And from a quick look at the data it's one he hasn't made.


Is it common for people to do it?

Looking at the discipline data, the big difference between him today and when he was good seems to be his willingness to swing at pitches out of the zone.

I guess I disagree with a suggestion that he wasn't selective when he was younger. If you look at a comparison between him and Jim Thome when they were younger, for instance, the primary difference is simply that Albert made better contact with the pitches he swung at, not that he was less disciplined.
   150. McCoy Posted: March 06, 2021 at 03:03 PM (#6007838)
As always. Future costs are not sunk costs.
   151. McCoy Posted: March 06, 2021 at 03:10 PM (#6007839)
Re 141. The short answer is they didn't scout him for 7 to 9 years. He came to America in 1996 and most of the scouting got done his senior year and his season in JuCo. During his senior year a lot of opposing teams would let his at bar maybe once a game and intentionally walk him the rest of the time. He was also apparently inconsistent during showcases. Some scouts saw a great performance and some saw him almost completely lost at the plate. Throw in that scouts rely heavily on local connections and a lot of local coaches weren't happy with Pujols because they thought he was lying about his age and you also got a referral system knocking him.

From the few reports and anecdotes that we got from scouts and coaches that saw him in high school and in JuCo we have the possibility that he knuckled down and focused or, well, steroids as a lot of the comments were that he got in shape and improved.
   152. Ron J Posted: March 06, 2021 at 03:30 PM (#6007840)
#147 I broke it two to two areas where there's been a big difference. Ball put in play on the first pitch and results after starting 0-1

In St. Louis. He resolved 9.5% of his PAs on the fist pitch. He wasn't exceptional here but was still fine (a 144 split OPS. IE 144 compared to all position players). In LA he's only resolved 7.5% and has a split OPS of 86 (suggesting that just swinging at more first pitches isn't going to help things)

In St. Louis he ended up 0-1 (a tough position for most hitters) 43.8% of the time (meaning he took a called ball one 46.7% of the time). He was exceptional 0-1. A split OPS of 187. But that's the kind of thing I didn't expect to continue as he aged (and no, never done a systematic study on this. Back when I was doing a lot of these studies the data wasn't available and it still took me a fair amount of time to dig it up.

In LA he's ended up 0-1 48.6% of the time (meaning 1-0 44% of the time) and has been far less successful. Still not bad, but only 125.

Also note that I never called Pujols (particularly young Pujols) undisciplined. He could swing hard and still have a good contact rate. That's an unusual mix. He did a good job of identifying pitches he could drive and had excellent results.

I just didn't expect him to be able to continue that approach because it relies on absolute top tier reflexes (even compared to his peers). Most power hitters are perfectly willing to take pitches early in the count (even strikes) if they judge they can't drive it. Pujols didn't need to play that way but I thought he'd have to transition.

But the more I look at Pujols the more I'm struck by how little controlling the count had to do with his success compared to other top tier hitters. Maybe it was just unrealistic to expect him to make those kinds of adjustments.
   153. base ball chick Posted: March 06, 2021 at 08:04 PM (#6007848)
i really don't get the complete obsession with naming pujols some kind of liar/cheat. seriously wassup with that? why is this guy so disliked?

guys who finish growing early and are very hairy are often thought to be older than they are

theres guys just the opposite who finish growing and mature late and people disbelieve they are 18 and think they are 13/14 instead. i know a few males who had to show ID to buy beer until they wre in their 30s. especially little guys

dontchu think that by now that it would have gotten out if albert pujols was really jose no-juan and 4 years older and stole someone else's ID? cmon. and you seriously don't think saint louie and los angeles and miami checked things out BEFORE they offered him a hunnert zillion bucks? you don't think SOMEone would sell the True Story for some $$$ ????!!!

it's not exactly something that never happens that someone 19 - 21 comes up and simply ROOLZ. it doesn't make them a liar or cheat

i was still blogging when Uncle Albert was still in saint looie and had a few buds who knew some stuff about the cards and i was told about his foot problem like 2 years before the end of his contract and that he refused to take any time off to have surgery/treatment because he was still hitting just fine

but i remember young albert only too well and he was not exactly mister speed person, but he was a good 3B, and didn't get moved because of his suckiness but because he was not scott rolen kind of good - seriously, who is except for nolan/matt chapman. and he was very good in left. good at 1B too. and he was a very smart baserunner too and no, not jeff bagwell/larry walker kind of good. he is so bad at running right now your average 7 month pregnant woman could outrun him

he started his downhill slide when his foot started getting worse. i'm surprised he can run at all. some elite players hit very well into their late 30s. i don't think that any of the 3 bidders actually thought he was going to continue to post an OPS+ over 1 until the end of the contract, but they ALL offered him 10 years

i mean seriously you can't expect someone to hit like they did when they were 22 all the rest of their life

   154. Howie Menckel Posted: March 06, 2021 at 09:29 PM (#6007853)
i mean seriously you can't expect someone to hit like they did when they were 22 all the rest of their life

Henry Aaron would like a word....at age 22, 7.2 WAR. at age 37, 7.2 WAR

   155. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 07, 2021 at 11:44 AM (#6007864)
i really don't get the complete obsession with naming pujols some kind of liar/cheat. seriously wassup with that? why is this guy so disliked?

Beats me. The only reason I can think of would be if I were an Angels fan I'd obviously be wishing he'd brought his Cardinals stats with him to Anaheim.

guys who finish growing early and are very hairy are often thought to be older than they are

I had a friend in 7th grade who could've grown a beard as thick and long as your stereotypical Orthodox rabbi, with a voice of a baritone at the age of 12.

theres guys just the opposite who finish growing and mature late and people disbelieve they are 18 and think they are 13/14 instead. i know a few males who had to show ID to buy beer until they wre in their 30s. especially little guys

I grew to 6' by the time I was a high school senior, but I was sometimes carded the first time I visited certain bars and pool rooms until I was literally 30. At 76 I still get mistaken by first time acquaintances for a 50 year old, even though I've been hair-challenged since I actually was that age. People are just different.
   156. Ron J Posted: March 07, 2021 at 12:16 PM (#6007867)
#155 I'd never been carded before this year (at 64). Ordered some beer delivered and they have to get ID from everybody.

But yeah I had a good friend whose hair started to grey in the 7th grade.
   157. Adam Starblind Posted: March 07, 2021 at 03:57 PM (#6007882)
I've always looked exactly my age. After I turned 40, sometimes people would claim surprise that I wasn't in my late 30s, but I think they were just being nice.
   158. gef, talking mongoose & suburban housewife Posted: March 07, 2021 at 10:11 PM (#6007912)

But yeah I had a good friend whose hair started to grey in the 7th grade.


My father was the exception when he died at 34, but his 5 sisters & 1 brother were all pretty much white-haired by 20, as were several of my first cousins on that side of the family.
   159. SoSH U at work Posted: March 07, 2021 at 11:15 PM (#6007915)
But yeah I had a good friend whose hair started to grey in the 7th grade.


I remember a high school buddy telling us how he'd bought some beer the previous weekend. Someone asked if he'd been carded, and he said, "Carded? I'm bald."

And he was. His hairline had receded about three inches by the time he was a senior in high school.

   160. Howie Menckel Posted: March 08, 2021 at 12:14 AM (#6007917)
there's a great, if possibly apocryphal, story about baby-faced ex-Bulls guard B.J. Armstrong and how he was turned away because he did not have ID with him.

no, not from a nightclub nor so he could buy a six-pack - he was denied entrance to a R-rated movie, while he was a member of the Bulls, because he appeared too young.

   161. Ron J Posted: March 08, 2021 at 12:48 AM (#6007918)
#160 I can believe it. Had a friend who got carded (and the ID carefully scrutinized) into his mid-30s. Small and baby-faced.
   162. Traderdave Posted: March 08, 2021 at 12:12 PM (#6007935)
I had a full beard in HS and used it to make pocket money buying beer for others. When I shaved it off I'd get carded for milk.
   163. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: March 08, 2021 at 12:28 PM (#6007936)
I'm an Angels fan who doesn't hate Pujols whether he lied or not. I wish he'd had have been better as an Angel, but it wasn't for lack of trying. He always worked hard, was seemingly a good mentor for a lot of players, and had some nice moments with the team. He deserved every cent of the money the Angels gave him. He deserved it from the Cardinals, of course, but I don't blame him one bit for taking the money the Angels offered. He did his best to stay on the field and contribute, but his body started breaking down and age caught up with him.

Again, given all of the evidence, I think it's more likely than not he's older than his listed age. But I don't know for sure, and even if I did, I'm not sure it would bother me all that much. I don't know why, but I find it a far lesser crime than cheating on the field like the Astros or cheating off of it like PED users.
   164. McCoy Posted: March 08, 2021 at 03:59 PM (#6007955)
I got carded all the time into my late 20s but putting on weight will age you real quick.

Before that though it had some benefits. Like getting free cookies and such at places that give free cookies for kids.

I remembered buying some stuff at some such store and the cashier just hand me my change and the receipt. I ask for a bag and the guy is like "oh, you rode your bike". And I'm like no I simply don't want 6 items rolling around in my car. . .that I bought. . .with money from my full time job. . .that I got because I got a degree from college.
   165. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: March 08, 2021 at 04:10 PM (#6007957)
Pujols's big Cardinals extension was so team-friendly that there has been speculation that his agent was somehow compromised. Whatever negotiating advantage he might have had with the Cardinals seems to have been more a theoretical concern than a practical one. No harm, no foul.

It's harder to give Pujols leeway if he lied about his age to the Angels. Among other issues, the man already had earned $100 million as a baseball player. Put that aside though. The talk in 2011 was that Pujols wanted the big contract less because he was a greedy ballplayer and more for the respect from "the baseball community" that comes with the big contract. Basically, a monster contract is the most direct way to proclaim him a member of baseball royalty. That becomes a problem for me if, as Pujols claimed in 2011, he lied for that respect.
   166. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 08, 2021 at 05:14 PM (#6007961)
Basically, a monster contract is the most direct way to proclaim him a member of baseball royalty.

I would have thought putting up 100 WAR was a better way.
   167. Howie Menckel Posted: March 08, 2021 at 09:56 PM (#6007979)
Had a friend who got carded (and the ID carefully scrutinized) into his mid-30s. Small and baby-faced.

sure, but Armstrong was 6-foot-1 and kinda famous.
slender and baby-faced, though, tis true.

"I had a full beard in HS and used it to make pocket money buying beer for others."

my freshman year college ID - which I still have - looks like I had forgotten to shave my upper lip that morning. in truth, it was 18 years worth of effort to achieve even that.

then by the end of college 4 years later, I needed to shave nearly every day

#latebloomer
   168. base ball chick Posted: March 08, 2021 at 10:57 PM (#6007984)
greenback used to say live and let live Posted: March 08, 2021 at 04:10 PM (#6007957)
Pujols's big Cardinals extension was so team-friendly that there has been speculation that his agent was somehow compromised. Whatever negotiating advantage he might have had with the Cardinals seems to have been more a theoretical concern than a practical one. No harm, no foul.

It's harder to give Pujols leeway if he lied about his age to the Angels. Among other issues, the man already had earned $100 million as a baseball player. Put that aside though. The talk in 2011 was that Pujols wanted the big contract less because he was a greedy ballplayer and more for the respect from "the baseball community" that comes with the big contract. Basically, a monster contract is the most direct way to proclaim him a member of baseball royalty. That becomes a problem for me if, as Pujols claimed in 2011, he lied for that respect.


- sigh

IF the cards knew he was 4 years older to get him to sign the first contract, they certainly wouldn't have offered him a 10 year contract at the end of the first one

cmon

also, everyone knows that the size of the monstrous contract is how you show the enormousness of your dingdong
   169. McCoy Posted: March 09, 2021 at 09:00 AM (#6007999)
Cardinals offered a 10 year 210 million dollar contract with 30 million deferred. Angels gave him 250 million, no deferred money, with a 10 year service contract afterwards.

Like Samson I'm pretty sure every body thought Pujols would be kind of useless the last 3 or 4 years of the contract.
   170. McCoy Posted: March 09, 2021 at 09:03 AM (#6008002)
As for the first negotiation it didn't really have to be about compromised or lack of advantage.

If Pujols is older there's a risk to waiting until FA to get a bug payday. Like almost all players of that era Pujols went for security first and the big payday second.
   171. Rally Posted: March 09, 2021 at 10:13 AM (#6008010)
I would have thought putting up 100 WAR was a better way.


Pujols may have done this more than any player in baseball history. He reached 101.4 WAR by the end of the 2016 season. Dropped to 99.5 after 2017, and currently at 100.7. He might have crossed the 100 WAR level 20 times in there.
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