There was a brief flurry of speculation about Albert Pujols’ future earlier this week when Deirdre Pujols, the Angels veteran’s wife, created an Instagram post that seemed to hint that the future Hall-of-Famer would call it a career after the 2021 season. Deirdre clarified her online statement soon after posting, and her husband also addressed the matter in speaking with media (including The Associated Press) today at Spring Training.
“This thing just got blown out of proportion,” Pujols said. “My mind is not even there. My mind is on staying focused, healthy, and hopefully trying to help this ballclub win this year, and that’s it. If I feel at the end of the year that that’s it, I’ll announce it [and] go home. But I’m not even there yet.”
Pujols is entering the final season of his ten-year, $240MM deal with the Angels, and 2021 will be the slugger’s 21st MLB campaign. After four years of subpar offensive production, it would certainly seem like the 41-year-old is nearing the end of the line, though it seems we won’t know for certain until the season is through.
More from around baseball…
- George Springer will surely play every day in the Blue Jays’ outfield, so his addition means the team’s other starting outfielders from 2020 will see their playing time either reduced or somewhat altered. Both Randal Grichuk and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. told reporters (including Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith) that they wondered if they’d be traded, yet as Spring Training continues, that duo and Teoscar Hernandez are all still on the roster. It remains to be seen exactly how the Jays will arrange their lineup to get everyone at-bats, though Gurriel could find an opening with a return to part-time infield duty, as manager Charlie Montoyo is having Gurriel work out as a first baseman and third baseman. The Jays already have Cavan Biggio lined up for the bulk of the action at the hot corner, with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. also hopeful of getting some third base time while sharing first base/DH duty with Rowdy Tellez. Getting at least one other position under his belt can only help Gurriel, however, especially after his defensive struggles as an infielder earlier in his career.
- Ian Kennedy debated signing with two other teams before settling on the Rangers’ minor league offer, per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Twitter). The Royals, Kennedy’s former team, were one of the two other suitors, though Kennedy seems to have a clearer path to regular bullpen work in Texas. A starter for all but two of his first 291 MLB games from 2007-18, Kennedy enjoyed a stellar season as the Royals’ closer in 2019, but he is out to re-establish himself after a difficult 2020. Kennedy posted a 9.00 ERA over 14 innings before a left calf strain brought a premature end to his season.
- Danny Santana is also coming off an injury-plagued season, as the super-utilityman amassed just 63 plate appearances over 15 games with the Rangers. After undergoing elbow surgery in September, Santana is now set to hold a showcase for scouts on Thursday, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link) reports, and Santana has also been holding private workouts for teams. The 30-year-old has played all over the diamond over his seven years with the Twins, Braves, and Rangers, and was a revelation for Texas in 2019 — he hit .283/.324/.534 with 28 home runs, with by far his best wRC+ (111) since a 132 wRC+ over 430 PA as a rookie with Minnesota back in 2014.