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Thursday, July 9, 2020

Articles tagged: Albert Pujols

Fan fails to get Albert Pujols 2,000th RBI ball authenticated

Albert Pujols

The fan who got Albert Pujols’ milestone 2,000th RBI ball on Thursday failed to get it authenticated, according to a report.

Pujols hit a solo home run in the top of the third inning of the Los Angeles Angels’ game against the Detroit Tigers to make it 6-0. His homer gave him 2,000 career RBIs, making him just the third player in MLB history to reach that milestone since the statistic was tracked beginning in 1920, joining Hank Aaron and Alex Rodriguez.

The ball made for one heck of a piece of memorabilia for the lucky fan who obtained it. But according to Angels reporter Jeff Fletcher, the fan declined to meet with either team. Even worse, the fan did not take the proper steps to authenticate the ball, which could significantly hurt his chances of receiving maximum value if he were to sell it.

MLB began an authentication program in 2001 to combat the proliferation of phony autographs and memorabilia. They have authenticators at every game who review items to say whether they have been game-used. Home run balls like Pujols’ are marked with a hologram and given a six-digit, two-letter authentication code to be identified. Pujols’ 2,000th RBI ball will not have those designations.

The fan who caught the ball plans to keep it for his child, according to Jeff Riger.

Maybe the fan is preparing a clever ransom note to get what he wants in return for the ball. His approach to this point seems to be risky.

Anthony Swarzak had epic reaction to Albert Pujols home run blast

Anthony Swarzak helped Albert Pujols move up the all-time RBI chart, and also added a Hall of Fame reaction to the ball being hit out of the park.

The Seattle Mariners reliever served up a homer to Pujols in the 9th inning of Saturday night’s 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels. He managed to deliver the pitch and immediately go into a 180 degree head grab upon contact. I think it’s fair to say that he knew it was gone right away.

Swarzak did register his third save of the season despite the big blast, which was Pujols’ third of the season.

I’m now looking forward to the Pitching Ninja doing an overlay of this pitch with a different Swarzak offering to see how good his pitch tunneling was including the finish.

Albert Pujols says knee injury will be fully healed by Opening Day

Albert Pujols is looking to prove that he can still be a productive player even as he approaches his 40th birthday, and the slugger says the knee injury that prematurely ended his 2018 season will not stand in the way this year.

On Sunday, Pujols met with the media and said he expects his knee to be fully recovered in time for Opening Day.

Pujols underwent arthroscopic surgery in late August, and he was ruled out for the remainder of the year with the Angels not in playoff contention. He batted .245 with 19 home runs, 64 RBI and an OPS of just .700 — the second-lowest total of his career — in 117 games.

Anything the Angels get from Pujols is essentially a bonus at this point, as his massive contract has been a bust for the team and they still owe him a whopping $87 million over the next three years. He seemed optimistic about his physical condition heading into last year, but that didn’t pan out. Most Angels fans want the team to move on from Pujols so they can develop other players.

10 worst contracts in Major League Baseball

Chris Davis

Unlike other major sports, MLB players who sign big contracts have a rare combination of guaranteed financial security and no league-imposed limit on their earning potential. NBA and NHL contracts are guaranteed, but limited by the salary cap in place. The NFL takes it one step further and doesn’t always offer those guarantees, while also limiting teams with a salary cap. In MLB, not only is the money guaranteed, but there’s only a luxury tax on excessive spending. That means teams sometimes hand out really bad contracts.

The contracts are great for the player, and good for them for getting such a deal, but from a team’s standpoint, the deals can turn out to be the opposite of advantageous.Here are the ten worst contracts in the sport right now, at least from a team perspective.

10) Jason Heyward, Cubs

The Cubs won a World Series with Heyward in the fold, and he still plays high-level defense. Alas, the Cubs owe him another $106 million through 2023, and they probably weren’t planning on paying it to a guy whose primary appeal is his outfield skills. Since joining Chicago in what looked to be the prime of his career, Heyward has hit .253 with just 25 home runs. Of course, to long-suffering Cub fans, maybe that famous team meeting/speech was worth $184 million.

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Albert Pujols out for rest of season after having knee scoped

Albert Pujols’ season has come to an end.

The Los Angeles Angels announced on Wednesday that Pujols underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and will likely be out 6-8 weeks. Since the Angels are not in the playoff hunt, that takes Pujols out for the rest of the season.

Pujols had been dealing with knee problems all season, even though he’s been in the lineup this month and even played on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old batted .245 with a .700 OPS this season. He is owed $87 million over the next three years of his contract, which has been an utter bust for the Angels. The team made a bad decision to keep him over CJ Cron this year. They are limiting themselves severely by keeping him around. Cutting him is long overdue.

Albert Pujols will not rule out retiring before contract expires

Albert Pujols still has three years remaining on his contract beyond the current season, and the Los Angeles Angels would probably like nothing more than to be free of the roughly $87 million they still owe him through 2021. If the 38-year-old’s performance continues on its downward trend, he may not stick around to collect the final paycheck on his deal.

Pujols, who has seen his career batting average fall from .328 to .303 in his six-plus seasons with the Angels, spoke with ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez about when he might retire. While he intends to play out the entirety of his contract, he’s not ruling out an early exit.

“When that time comes, it’s not even going to wait until the offseason,” Pujols said. “If I feel it during the season, I’m gone, dude. The day that I feel like I can’t compete in this game anymore, it doesn’t matter how much money I’m going to leave on the table. I’m done, bro. I’ve been blessed.

“One thing is to be out there and just stick around for the money. But to embarrass yourself, and not be able to compete — dude, that’s not me. I have accomplished so many things in this game that I could never even imagine. That drive of playing every day is still with me. I think it’s always going to be with me. What’s going to be tough, obviously, is your health.”

Pujols mentioned a conversation he had with David Ortiz, who retired from the Boston Red Sox following a season in which he hit .315 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI. As someone who has battled foot, elbow and other injuries over the past several seasons, Pujols understands there could come a time where his body simply won’t respond to allow him to play at the level he wants to play at.

Of course, the defensive shift hasn’t helped. Pujols, who is hitting .254 this year and hit a career-low .241 in 2017, says he would be in favor of eliminating the shift so baseball can “see a lot of offense back again like it was before.” He’s faced the shift in 38 percent of his at-bats since 2016 and is hitting .219 when teams deploy it against him.

While Pujols understands it is his responsibility to figure out ways to hit through the shift, he thinks he’d be batting closer to .300 without it.

“Between .290 and .300, for sure,” he said. “Look at the balls that I’m hitting up the middle, especially this year. Out of those 30 or 40 or 50 balls, give me 25 hits. Add those 25 hits to my .250 batting average, I’d be hitting like .290.”

That’s probably an exaggeration, but there’s no question Pujols would be better off without an infielder playing in shallow left against him. And at this point in his career, there’s very little chance of him changing his approach at the plate.

It was quite obvious that the final years of Pujols’ contract were going to be ugly when he signed the deal, but he had a negative WAR in 2017. No one really saw that coming. It should be noted that Pujols has played more games at first base this season than in the past two years combined, so his approach last winter appears to have paid off. Still, there’s little debating the Angels would be better off without his contract on the books.

10 current players who are on their way to the Hall of Fame

Clayton Kershaw no-hitter

As six players are inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday, it’s easy to look around the current crop of active players and ask which of them will someday receive the same honor. There are many players who are on the right path, but the road to Cooperstown is filled with players who looked like future Hall of Famers before their careers took turns for the worse.

Here is a list of ten active MLB players who look to be on the right track to someday be enshrined in Cooperstown.

Adrian Beltre, Rangers

Beltre’s late-career revival, particularly during his Texas Rangers years, should send him to Cooperstown. A .287 career hitter, he has already surpassed 3,000 hits. He may fall just short of 500 home runs, but he had roughly a decade at the very top of the game. He is a five-time Gold Glover and recognized as one of the better defenders in the game. From 2010 through 2017, he hit .310 and averaged over 30 home runs per season. That’s a lengthy and excellent peak, and it came years after his 48-homer, near MVP season in 2004 with the Dodgers.

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