Albert Pujols’ recent hot streak hasn’t changed the legendary slugger’s mind about retirement, as Pujols told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale that he is “still going to retire” at season’s end. Despite a 1.428 OPS in 53 plate appearances since the All-Star break and his ever-nearing proximity to some notable milestones, Pujols confirmed that he hasn’t thought about playing in 2023.
“I don’t get caught up in numbers. If you were going to tell me 22 years ago that I would be this close, I would have told you that you’re freakin’ crazy,” Pujols said. “My career has been amazing…I’ve had enough. I’m glad I made the announcement this was it when I signed. Really, I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Pujols now has 692 career homers, making it a realistic possibility that he can pass Alex Rodriguez (696 homers) on the all-time list and perhaps even become the fourth player in history to reach the 700-homer threshold. After last night’s four-hit performance against the Diamondbacks, Pujols is also now second on the all-time total bases list, passing another Cardinals legend in Stan Musial. Interestingly, Nightengale also notes that Pujols’ desire to return to St. Louis led him to pass up on offers from three other teams this winter, even though those other clubs were offering either more playing time or more money than Pujols’ $2.5MM salary for 2022.
More from around the NL Central…
- Brewers utilityman Jace Peterson told reporters (including Curt Hogg of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) that he’ll start a three-game minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday, with an eye towards returning to the majors when the Brewers open a series with the Cubs on Friday. A left elbow sprain sent Peterson to the 10-day injured list on July 20, and since he had been bothered by a UCL injury prior to that IL placement, there was some concern that he would be sidelined deeper into September or even that his season could be threatened. However, Peterson is now on pace to continue what has been a quietly valuable season, as he has contributed both versatility all around the diamond and above-average offense (111 wRC+) in 241 plate appearances, batting .252/.325/.439 with eight home runs.
- Cubs manager David Ross provided updates on some injured players, telling MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian and other reporters that x-rays were negative on Patrick Wisdom’s left ring finger, and Wisdom is day to day. Wisdom suffered the injury on a slide into home plate in yesterday’s game. Wade Miley will also get back onto the mound and throw tomorrow, after experiencing some tightness in his left shoulder on Friday. Between two shoulder-related IL stints and some elbow tightness at the end of Spring Training, Miley has tossed only 19 innings in his first season in Chicago. Before this latest setback, Miley has pitched four rehab outings and seemed to be nearing a return, so it remains to be seen how much more time (if any) this recent bout of soreness could cost the veteran southpaw.
- Speaking of setbacks, Reds right-hander Connor Overton had a hamstring tweak while working out at the Reds’ Arizona training complex, manager David Bell told reporters (including The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale). A stress fracture in Overton’s lower back sent him to the 60-day injured list on May 19, and he has already been sidelined for well beyond the initial 6-to-8 week recovery timeline. A rehab assignment was still a ways away, as Overton had progressed only to long toss. Depending on the severity of Overton’s hamstring issue, the rookie is running short on time to make it back to the field before the end of the season.
I would really like to see Albert get to 700 home runs. He and Hank Aaron are probably the two best RH hitters I’ve ever seen, and then Trout.
Gotta throw Miggy in there somewhere. He may not be aging as well as Albert but for a long number of years he was the most feared RH hitter in the game.
True. I was trying to recall from an old brain
Pujlos didn’t start “aging well” til this season. I doubt the Angels would say he aged well at all.
Pujols with the Angels is a lot like Griffey Jr with the Reds. 10 years after he retires, most people won’t even think about those years. They’ll just remember the decade he was the best player in the game not named Bonds. Same as Griffey.
Since when does 3 years (2011-13) count as a “long number of years”? Before 2011, it was Pujols, and then since 2013 it’s been Trout..
Manny Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera were pretty good too.
As a Reds fan I’m happy he’s leaving but as a baseball fan I have nothing but respect for his talent and the class in the way he handled the game.
Uhhhhhh, Ted Williams?
Ted Williams was left handed batter. We are discussing right handed batters
Ted Williams was left handed
Cause he isn’t going into the HoF if he had hit 800
Pujols current .858 OPS is the highest its been since 2012, wow.
I do think MLB’s genuine hatred of a-rod has told pitchers to groove as many as possible to Albert until he passes him. That can happen midseason, not when there will be playoff implications, so it makes sense trying to sneak it through now instead of the last week of season.
Keep in mind I personally would love to see Pujols pass A-Rod, by any means necessary. Do I seriously believe Pujols is suddenly a .900+ OPS guy again? Nah lol
Wow, really? If I were a pitcher, I would be more worried about my own ERA.
Who has he been homering off of? Established veterans who aren’t worried about sticking in the bigs? Younger pitchers are more likely to want to keep themselves in the big leagues, and frankly, much less likely to have strong anti-A-Rod feelings.
Have the home runs, or hits in general, been coming at inconsequential moments?
$$$ > stats
I do not understand your comment at all.
Any pitcher who grooves a pitch to Pujols so that he can pass A-Rod is hurting his own stats, which negatively affects his salary.
He did the same thing with the Dodgers last year, as well. It was only the first month of the season when the Angels weren’t mostly shielding him from righties that kept his OPS from being at a similar level.
That said, he still destroys lefties and even manages an occasional dinger off of righties as well. He came through again tonight with a pinch-hit single off a lefty reliever that later led to the tying and go-ahead runs scoring in a comeback victory.
You forgot to put an * next to A Fraud. Pujols is already ahead of him.
Thank you for proving my point about just how much everyone hates A-Rod lmao
As you know people tend to dislike ARod because he cheated….that is completely understandable.
I agree with that….if you eliminate the cheaters that is exactly correct.
I was happy to see Albert come back this year even if he didn’t contribute much on the field. But his recent play has been amazing and impactful. He’s not just pouring on when we’re up by 5 runs, he’s coming through when we need him. He’s helping carry the weight Goldy and Arenado have basically shouldered alone most of the season. That doesn’t even include his contributions off the field. He has been BY FAR Mo’s best offseason signing and done more than his share to make this another enjoyable season of Cardinals’ baseball. Thank you Albert, and congratulations on everything you have achieved.
Happy for his and Cards success. Classy organization. From a NYY fan. Best of luck in postseason.
Same to you guys. Great season so far.
🙂 Forget about Albert, how about Goldy! Studd
Wainwright was also technically an offseason signing who has also performed well, but otherwise you’re absolutely correct.
Molina – Missed significant time to injury and hasn’t hit all that well when on the field
Dickerson – Was terrible at the start of the year, was hurt for a while, and only somewhat improved play since returning from the IL has allowed him to avoid a DFA.
Matz – Has been either hurt or ineffective all season long.
Ver Hagen – Ditto
McFarland – Ditto to the extreme in that he did get DFAed
What a career. 3rd all time in HRs. Aaron, Ruth, Pujols. This from a Cub fan
Always scratched my head as to why A-roid hung em up 4 short of 700.
Because no one wanted a 41 year old clubhouse cancer, even at league minimum with the Yankees picking up the rest of the tab
Doesn’t count anyway being a steroid cheat
Yeah it actually does still count. Every single home run hit by Bonds, A Rod, Braun, Palmeiro, Sosa, McGwire, and everyone else is still in the MLB record book. Denial of history does not erase history.
I hope he falls one short. Let him live with the pain of 699 while spending the rest of his days tormented with what ifs.
JimmyForum keeping it classy as only you know how. Hope you get everything in life you deserve.
699 makes a better story than 700
8 away from 700. Hopefully he gets enough playing time down the stretch to get it.
I doubt he retire if he finished the season at 699 hr you want to be in that 700 club all time
$5 says when Peterson is activated either Stearns or Counsell, if not both, will make some lame comment about how it’s just as good as a big trade acquisition.
It will be BA or Rock on the television broadcast.
As both a long-time baseball and Cardinals fan born in St. Louis, Pujols’ performance lately is a wonderful feel-good story, not just for his team but for MLB in general.
Always rooted for him and great to a final year resurgence. Also funny to see that he holds the all-time record for GIDP at 421.
Oh, he broke that record a few years ago.
Where’s Molina on that list? Brewer commentators ALWAYS talked about how MKE pitchers had an “easy path” out of a messy inning when he’d come up with a man on first and 1 out. ‘Molina leads all of baseball in GIDP, should get out of this with no further damage. But there was further damage. HR, fielder’s choice, or my (absolute least) favorite, he legs out an infield single.
Molina is currently 18th on the career list, although he has a chance to finish as high as 14th by the end of the season and thus his career.
Do we know how old Pujols is yet?