Albert Pujols is stepping up to help out Los Angeles Angels employees in the Dominican Republic.
The Angels have taken some of the most drastic measures in MLB when it comes to cutting personnel over the last few months due to the lack of revenue from the coronavirus pandemic. The team furloughed all area scouts in amateur and international departments, members of their player development staff, and minor league coaches and coordinators, according to the LA Times.
That meant about 90 percent of employees at the team’s baseball academy in the Dominican Republic were furloughed and stopped being paid this month. The Times’ Maria Torres says Pujols asked how much it would cost to cover the wages for those employees for five months and was told around $180,000. The Angels first baseman/designated hitter is paying those amounts to help out those employees.
Pujols, 40, is from Santo Domingo in the D.R. The three-time former MVP is in the ninth year of a 10-year, $254 million deal with the Angels and was scheduled to make $29 million this season. His career earnings to date are estimated to be around $314 million, according to Baseball Reference.
Albert Pujols says that the end of his current contract does not necessarily mean the end of his playing career.
Pujols is 40 and in the ninth of his 10-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels. He will be in his age 41 season during the final year of his lengthy contract, which expires after next season. There has been an assumption that given his declining abilities, Pujols would retire after his contract ends, but the veteran is not so sure.
Pujols told ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez that he hasn’t made that decision yet.
“It’s my last year under contract, but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep playing. I haven’t closed that door. I’m taking it day by day, year by year, but you haven’t heard from my mouth that I’m going to retire next year, or that it’s going to be my last year, or that I’m going to keep playing. I haven’t said any of that. When that time comes, we’ll see. Just because you have one year left on your contract doesn’t mean it’s your last year. It could be, but it could not be. God hasn’t put that in my heart yet,” Pujols told Gonzalez.
Pujols’ comments came in the context of an article from Pujols telling Gonzalez about how he is spending his time during the quarantine.
Pujols’ contract calls for him to earn $29 million this season and $30 million next season. He has a 10-year, $10 million personal services contract with the Angels that begins after that. Even if he wants to play beyond next season, the decision may not be up to him entirely. There probably will not be a large market for a .240 hitting DH whose ability is declining.
The anniversary of Albert Pujols’ MLB debut provided a great opportunity for Dontrelle Willis to tell his phenomenal story about The Machine.
Thursday marked 19 years since Pujols’ first big-league game, and the official MLB Instagram account honored him with a tribute post.
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Willis, the ex-All-Star pitcher, then left the most-liked comment on the post by writing about the time that Pujols “took me deep twice and then took me to dinner smh.”
Rest assured, Willis’ story checks out. Per Baseball Reference, Pujols indeed homered off Willis twice on June 29, 2010 when his St. Louis Cardinals were hosting Willis’ Arizona Diamondbacks, an eventual 8-0 win for the Cards. Pujols led the National League in dingers that season with 42 of them.
For the three-time MVP Pujols, that is a level of ruthlessness that we have not seen since Prince served pancakes to Charlie Murphy.
Albert Pujols’ memorable return to Busch Stadium in St. Louis came to a close in a fitting way on Sunday night.
Pujols’ Los Angeles Angels played a three-game series with the Cardinals, marking the former three-time league MVP’s first time playing in St. Louis since leaving the team in free agency. He got a tribute video and several ovations during the first game of the series on Friday night. On Saturday, he received an ovation after a homer.
Then on Sunday, to cap off the weekend and Angels’ 6-4 victory over the Cardinals, Pujols swapped jerseys with his former teammate, Yadier Molina. The love between them was evident as they made the trade:
Find someone who would give you the shirt right off his back. pic.twitter.com/Sw5yAhPIG3
— MLB (@MLB) June 24, 2019
Molina began as a rookie for the Cardinals in 2003, while Pujols was a rookie in 2001. They went to the playoffs five times together, reaching the World Series three times and winning it all twice. They have a lot of history together and clearly feel fondly about one another.
If Friday night didn’t make clear that all was forgiven between St. Louis Cardinals fans and Albert Pujols, Saturday’s game made it abundantly clear.
In his second game in St. Louis since his departure after the 2011 season, Pujols hit a home run for the Los Angeles Angels and received a standing ovation from the crowd at Busch Stadium. The ovation was so overwhelming that Pujols gave the crowd a curtain call after rounding the bases.
You will almost never see a visiting player get a reception like this one, with the crowd rising to their feet as soon as the ball was in the air. Circumstances are unique when it’s Pujols and Cardinal fans, though. He received a hero’s welcome on Friday night, and the reception that he got Saturday after delivering a home run was even more overwhelming.
Albert Pujols received plenty of love from Cardinals fans in his return to Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Pujols on Friday played at Busch Stadium for the first time since leaving the Cardinals to sign with the Angels in free agency after the 2011 season. Prior to the start of the game, the Cardinals played him a tribute, and a lengthy standing ovation ensued.
Here is the tribute video:
11 seasons. Countless memories. Thanks for giving us a front row seat! pic.twitter.com/xMcZTHS8mr
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 22, 2019
And here’s a look at the ovation:
Standing ovation No. 2 as a pregame video tribute to Pujols is played. We might set a record tonight for standing ovations. pic.twitter.com/h61rRluS8V
— B.J. Rains (@BJRains) June 22, 2019
The love for Pujols was continual. He also received a standing ovation as he headed onto the field for warmups prior to the game too.
— B.J. Rains (@BJRains) June 21, 2019
Then the ovation was the loudest when he came to the plate in the top of the first inning. Catcher Yadier Molina, his former teammate, even gave him a big hug.
— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) June 22, 2019
Pujols flied out, but the feeling in the park was special.
The love from the Cardinals fans was well-deserved. Pujols spent 11 seasons with the Cardinals, winning three NL MVP Awards and two World Series. During his time with St. Louis, he established himself as the best player in the league and got off to one of the most impressive starts to a career in MLB history.
Some Cardinals fans were upset that Pujols chose to leave St. Louis in free agency, but the stats show it all worked out well for the franchise. He gave the Cardinals his best seasons and never came close to replicating that success with the Angels. He was a career .328 hitter with the Cardinals and has batted .258 with the Angels. His OPS has gone from 1.037 to .767 as well.
Though their careers aren’t yet over, there are a number of MLB players who have likely already done enough to punch their ticket to the Hall of Fame after they quit playing. There are other young players who have started promisingly, but a handful of veterans have really stood out and put together resumes that will be hard to deny when their names come up on the Hall of Fame ballot after their retirement. Some are still producing at a high level, while some are not, but all of them should be treasured as long as they are still entertaining us with their talents.
Here are ten active MLB players who warrant strong Hall of Fame consideration — if they haven’t all but clinched it already.
10. CC Sabathia, SP, Yankees
Sabathia has a clear Hall of Fame case, but it’s a somewhat murky one. His peak was certainly good enough, but his 3.69 career ERA is somewhat high for a Hall of Famer. And, despite some memorable postseason exploits, he doesn’t have the playoff resume to stand out, either, and only won the Cy Young once. Still, it’s easy to see how Sabathia gets in. His longevity and consistency ensure he should get to 250 wins, and he’s already surpassed 3,000 strikeouts. Plus, his history of clutch pitching — including his stretch run with Milwaukee — could play on voters’ minds.