Albert Pujols Talks Retirement
Angels fans love to groan about Albert Pujols contract. They blame the recent free agent spending moratorium on the contract they’ve nicknamed the “Albertross”. I for one hate to look at contracts and think more of the production a player has provided. And, Pujols has made the Angels better. I won’t argue his contract because he isn’t living up to that, but I don’t have access to the marketing figures which speak to the revenue he has created through ticket sales, television and merchandising, not to mention the greater exposure he has given to the team. I like to think that he has been a good mentor for Mike Trout as well. What other active player has dealt with the hype and talent of Trout and can teach through experience? But, yesterday Pujols mentioned the word some Angels fans have been wanting to hear for a long time.
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Yesterday, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register published an article relating a recent comment from Pujols regarding his future retirement. All Pujols said was, “That might be the year I have to retire,” Pujols said with a smile. “You can put that in paper. I don’t want to miss it.” He was referring to the fact that his 9-year-old daughter Sophia is training for a spot on the 2020 Olympic Gymnastics Team. Obviously it’s a long ways off and she is only 9. According to the article, she is training 35 hours per week in a high level training program. Her desire is for real. As for Pujols desire to retire, his comments don’t speak to a real plan of action but do reveal that in his upcoming years he will retire if it feels right to spend more time with his family.
Many great players on par with Pujols have maintained above average production into their early forties. This year Pujols isn’t recovering from anything for the first time in his Angels career. Perhaps that will lead to him improving or at least maintaining his value from last season in which he posted an OPS+ of 125. If he can maintain those numbers, Angels fans should try to pay less attention to the contract and more attention to the production and hope that whenever he retires he has a ring with the Halos.