Pujols uncertain on plans beyond '21 (source)

Accomplished slugger entering final season of 10-year deal in Anaheim

February 23rd, 2021

Superstar slugger has not decided if the 2021 season will be his last as a Major Leaguer, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

There was brief speculation Monday night that Pujols, 41, was on the verge of announcing that this would be his final year in the big leagues after an Instagram post from an account that appeared to belong to his wife, Deidre, originally stated that 2021 would be his final season. The account quickly edited the post’s caption, however, clarifying that it was merely referring to this year being the last of Pujols’ 10-year, $240 million contract with the Angels -- and not necessarily the final year of his career. Pujols’ official Instagram commented on the post with heart emojis.

“THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF PUJOLS RETIREMENT IM JUST TRYING TO SEND MY HUSBAND WITH BLESSINGS INTO 2021 SEASON," the post read in part. "Today is the first day of the last season (based on his contract) of one of the most remarkable careers in sports! I’m talking about my husband @albertpujols who since the time he was a child would eat, sleep, and breath this sport. I have had the privilege to walk out 23 years of this baseball journey and it is with such a full heart that I speak a blessing over him as he finishes this good race!”

After holding down first base for years in Anaheim, Pujols could open the 2021 campaign backing up Jared Walsh, who finished his ’20 rookie year with a strong .337/.368/.774 slash line and nine home runs in September. Shohei Ohtani also figures to get plenty of at-bats at designated hitter, potentially limiting Pujols to a part-time or bench role.

Pujols has enjoyed one of the most accomplished careers in Major League history. He enters 2021 in fifth place on baseball’s all-time home run list with 662 round-trippers and in second on the sport’s all-time RBI list (per the Elias Sports Bureau) with 2,100. His 445 homers across his first 11 seasons with the Cardinals mark the most across any player’s first 11 seasons in MLB history, as do his 3,893 total bases with St. Louis. Pujols’ career 100.7 WAR total, courtesy of Baseball-Reference, ranks 19th in Major League history among position players.

Part of Pujols' deal with the Angels includes a 10-year, $10 million personal services contract that he can choose to accept when he retires.