Albert Pujols signed a 10-year, $240 million contract with the Angels before last season and will still be owed $212 million by the team after the year. Though Pujols has started off the season well, he is 33 and possibly beyond his prime.
The Angels first baseman/DH seemed to indicate Saturday that he might walk away from his contract if he can no longer produce during the course of the deal.
“God has given me ability and talent, but the day I feel like I can’t compete any more on this level, I’m not going to embarrass myself,” Pujols said Saturday, via the Los Angeles Times. “I’m going to walk off. Whether that’s next year, two years from now, only God knows.”
Pujols had hit two home runs and was walked three times that day, so he made his comments in the context of aiming to prove people that he is still a force. Though we’re only a week into the season, Pujols is showing that he can still crush the ball. Last season it took him until May 6 to hit his first home run. He hit two in the team’s fifth game this season.
Would Pujols actually walk away from his contract if he’s no longer productive late in his career? It’s hard for me to believe that. He would have to be of supreme moral character to do that. Keep in mind that his deal is structured to escalate as he gets older. Next season he will earn $23 million, and the amount increased by $1 million every year thereafter. He would top out earning $30 million in 2021.
We saw Gil Meche retire from baseball after the 2010 season despite having $12 million remaining on his contract. That sort of move is rare, and we don’t even know what the MLBPA would say. You have to figure they can’t be happy with Pujols’ comment to begin with, but if he did retire when he can’t produce, that would be a huge break for the Angels.
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