MLB Betting News: Pujols Playing His Final Season… Maybe
It was an unorthodox way to announce a retirement when the wife of Albert Pujols posted on Instagram that “Today is the first day of the last season of one of the most remarkable careers in sports.”
Unorthodox, in that Pujols didn’t post it, but instead, it was his wife, Deidre.
But in 2021 and the age of social media, everyone took it at face value. The anthologies of the career of Pujols and his certain place in the Hall of Fame began to run.
No Gold Watch Just Yet
We still have yet to hear anything official from Pujols or the Los Angeles Angels, and there is now this wrinkle. Because of the litany of news stories that were sparked by Diedre’s post, and no doubt a conversation that took place with her husband, she added a sentence to the beginning of her post and put it all caps so that we were sure to see it.
“THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF PUJOLS RETIREMENT.”
But the rest of her post still contains phrases like, “Thank you for 21 years of incredible baseball” and “Finish strong like the Angel you are.”
So it’s all a little confusing. Those are the sentiments of a woman congratulating her husband on a great career, but as of now at least, the 2021 season is not a goodbye tour for Pujols, nor likely a championship tour. Online sportsbooks have the Angels at +2000 to win the American League.
Retirement Makes Sense
This is the final year of the 10-year, $240 million contract Pujols signed with the Angels in 2011, backloaded to give him $30 million in guaranteed money this season. And if there is a next year, in Anaheim or somewhere else, there is no way that he will come close to making that kind of money, if there is a market for him at all.
Officially he is 41 years old. But for years, there have been questions about his real age, and many in baseball believe that he is two to three years older. Fellow Dominicans Vladimir Guerrero, Miguel Tejada, and Octavio Dotel all have admitted to claiming an age a couple of years lower than was true.
But even if he is 41, Pujols is no longer productive. Two years ago, he did hit 23 home runs, but it’s been since 2016 that he hit over .250. In 2020, he hit a career-low .224, and based on his current pace, it might take three seasons before he gets to 700 home runs.
First Ballot Hall of Famer
Pujols was the best hitter in all of baseball for his 11 years in St. Louis. He won three MVP awards and hit 445 home runs with the Cardinals. He’s in the Hall of Fame based on those years alone.
With the Angels, he’s added another 217 home runs but has never been MVP-caliber. Teammate Mike Trout is the online sports betting favorite at +225 odds to win the 2021 American League MVP award.