Albert Pujols Retires
By David Peng
Perhaps it’s wishcasting, or maybe I just hate the elderly, but my bold prediction for 2019 is that Albert Pujols will retire. At the end of this year’s interleague series, a three-game set in St. Louis, Phat Albert will call it a career.
Much like how Ichiro Suzuki retired this spring, going out floating on the waves of love and respect pouring out of the stands in his native Japan, Pujols will get to soak it all in front of appreciative Cardinal fans.
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They’ll cheer him for the two World Series championships he brought to the city, and for the Rookie of the Year and three MVP Awards he won as a Cardinal, the 445 homers, the six Silver Sluggers, the two Gold Gloves, and 10 All-Star appearances he collected as the best player in baseball during the decade of the 2000s.
It’ll be easy for them to cheer him, because they weren’t the team that has paid him $143 million between 2012 and 2018 to go from being a good hitter to being a completely valueless ballplayer. The fans in St. Louis wouldn’t have seen Pujols deal with foot surgery after foot surgery, reducing him to the slowest player in the major leagues, and they wouldn’t have seen his on-base percentage plummet under .300 for the second straight season as he grounds into out after out after out.
Pujols will retire because he’ll be hitting .240 with more double play ground balls than homers, and he’ll be too proud to sit on the bench while Shohei Ohtani takes over at DH and Justin Bour steals his time at first base.
The Angels will find a way to buy out the second half of 2019 and the remaining two years of his contract — about $73 million —and he’ll take that buyout because he was far too great for far too long to trudge along as the offensive cancer he’s become.
Pujols will decide to bow out as the greatest first baseman since Lou Gehrig, and the Angels will be better off for it.