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Albert Pujols suggests that he will walk away from his Angels contract if he’s not producing

Apr 7, 2013, 1:35 PM EDT

albert pujols getty Getty Images

From Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times:

After hitting two homers and drawing three intentional walks in Saturday’s 8-4 win, Pujols gave a strong indication he will not allow himself to become an albatross to the Angels.

“God has given me ability and talent, but the day I feel like I can’t compete any more on this level, I’m not going to embarrass myself,” Pujols said. “I’m going to walk off. Whether that’s next year, two years from now, only God knows.”

It’s difficult to believe that Pujols is going to stick by that because other highly-paid baseball players have said similar things in the past and then cashed their checks anyway. The MLBPA would certainly frown on it for the precedent that it might set.

Pujols signed a 10-year, $240 million free agent contract with the Angels in December 2011. The 33-year-old first baseman will earn $16 million this season, $23 million in 2014, $24 million in 2015, $25 million in 2016, $26 million in 2017, $27 million in 2018, $28 million in 2019, $29 million in 2020 and $30 million in 2021.

He also holds a 10-year, $10 million personal services contract that will take effect once he retires.

  1. insidefastball - Apr 7, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    I think Pujols is far more likely to walk away from his contract if he stops producing than ARod. He seems determined to get every cent of his ridiculous contract.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 7, 2013 at 1:55 PM

      It’s very easy to make that comment when you are still relatively young. Let’s see how he feels when he’s 38/39 and still making $27M+. Also, why is it Arod’s fault the Yanks were dumb enough to give him that contract?

    • paperlions - Apr 7, 2013 at 1:57 PM

      Why? Pujols said for years that he wanted to be a Cardinal his entire career because he’d already made over $100M. Despite saying that repeatedly, it meant nothing when it came time to talk dollars and years. Worth noting that the Cardinals offered him a really high AAV for only 5 years, be he wasn’t interested in that.

      It is odd that his examples of when he might walk away are next year and in 2 years….when there are 9 years left on his deal.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 7, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        I don’t know why you refuse to acknowledge there might have been more to that than dollars & playing years…

      • paperlions - Apr 7, 2013 at 2:35 PM

        Like what?

        Yeah, Pujols got pissed off at management, because they wouldn’t offer him the money he wanted. He agreed to a deal with LA without ever meeting the owner, and without ever meeting the GM….or anyone…they called and offered a shit ton of money and he immediately said yes.

        I’d love to hear viable options besides dollars. Even Pujols and his wife said it was about the money. They used the term “respect”, but they measure respect in dollars, apparently, because they said LA gave them respect.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 7, 2013 at 2:38 PM

        You are just refusing to hear what they said. Argh!

      • paperlions - Apr 7, 2013 at 2:59 PM

        Please enlighten me.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 7, 2013 at 3:09 PM

        Are you a Mad Men fan?

      • paperlions - Apr 7, 2013 at 3:12 PM

        Never seen it. Everyone says it is great, but the premise/characters just don’t appeal to me…..besides, I am horrible at keeping up with/watching TV shows….especially serial dramas.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 7, 2013 at 3:15 PM

        Well, crud. That would’ve been the easiest explanation.

        Often the money and respect go hand-in-hand but it was the respect that drove the move. You are assuming it was the money — even though Pujols specifically said it was the respect.

      • paperlions - Apr 7, 2013 at 3:36 PM

        That is because the only evidence Pujols provided for “lack of respect” was the money. Respect doesn’t equal money in any way, shape or form. Value = money. If you equate the two, it is because you are unwilling to say it is all about the money. If Pujols could cite anything other than money, the respect thing might be believable, but he hasn’t, so it isn’t.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 7, 2013 at 3:52 PM

        I’m pretty sure he was clear about not liking the way they handled negotiating with him, etc. When he says respect, I think he’s talking about intangibles — not dollar figures…although often players use contract $ as a measurement in the game.

      • paperlions - Apr 7, 2013 at 3:37 PM

        Do you really think ARod, and Bonds are two of the most respected players in history? They aren’t, they are just two of the best paid players because of the on-field value they provided. The two simply are not the same.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 7, 2013 at 3:53 PM

        I did not say money = respect.

      • Last Road Reviews - Apr 7, 2013 at 5:32 PM

        Maybe so. But every player says it isn’t about money, but always seen to go to the highest bidder

      • indaburg - Apr 7, 2013 at 3:31 PM

        So it was pure coincidence that the team that offered the most respect also offered the most money? What exactly did the Cardinals do to disrespect Pujols other than not offer him a ridiculous contract?

        I don’t watch Mad Men either (although the clothes are divine) but I was curious to read your explanation. Is there another analogy you could use?

        While Pujols’ sentiment is um, generous, color me cynical. There is no way in h-e-double-hockey-sticks that he walks from that contract.

      • jikkle49 - Apr 7, 2013 at 4:14 PM

        Athletes operate on a different wave length than the average joe and in their world contract=respect. The longer the years and the more money it has the more they view it as how much you value them thus respect them.

        Not say money=respect or it’s the right mentality but just how their little world works.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 7, 2013 at 4:29 PM

        Yes, I was going to say that the character Peggy left to go to another agency — and she is making MUCH more money there, but she looked elsewhere b/c she thought Don didn’t give her enough respect/credit. It wasn’t that she wanted more money — in fact, she didn’t even know what her market value was. She got more than she was asking for. But, she wouldn’t have gotten that if Don didn’t treat her shabby (in her opinion). She was content to stay and work where she came up, until her mentor pointed out to her that she didn’t have to put up w/ Don’s crap (and that a man would go elsewhere).

        I think this was similar in that, Pujols would’ve been happy in STL but then he felt that they were disrespectful to his contributions and loyalty over the years in how they handled negotiations. The Angels wanted him — obviously — and not even just as a player. They courted him. Plus, they were willing to pay top dollar. He got more, but I don’t think that’s what drove him to look elsewhere in the first place. That goes against his history w/ the Cards prior to that (where he was eager to sign a long contract early that would allow other players in the market make more than he did over time). He could’ve gotten a bigger contract earlier by not signing so long so young.

      • paperlions - Apr 7, 2013 at 5:06 PM

        That would sound great….if at any point in time Pujols thought or said he was not sufficiently respected by anyone in StL or the organization. The only time “respect” came up was with his contract negotiations. Not sure what “loyalty” Pujols showed. He was given a $100M contract after 2-3 years in the league, a previously unheard of deal for such a young players. He was always the center of everything with the team….as fearless mentioned, they respected him and his wishes enough that they signed Holliday…a DIRECT response to his public expression of desires with respect to the Cardinals star power and ability to be competitive.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 7, 2013 at 5:58 PM

        Holliday!

      • paperlions - Apr 7, 2013 at 6:37 PM

        He has the day off, but Kozma has an RBI single and is playing solid defense, doing OK proud.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 7, 2013 at 7:38 PM

        Wooooeeeeee!

      • fearlessleader - Apr 7, 2013 at 4:51 PM

        Here are a few of the “intangibles” Pujols experienced during his tenure with the Cardinals:

        The organization drafted him when no other team wanted to take the chance. They signed him to a generous long-term contract. When he made noise about wanting more stars around him if he was going to stay in town, they went and got Matt Holliday. The Redbird fans idolized him, donated to his charity, defended his surliness and his stupid Glenn Beck rallies, and (unlike the crowd in Anaheim) responded to his slumps with cheers of encouragement rather than boos.

        But he was “insulted” when the team offered him the choice between a completely insane amount of money for five years vs. a merely ridiculous amount of money for ten.

        The “intangibles” that drew him to Anaheim were the sort that only matter to a hypersensitive narcissist and/or a greedy jerk.

        (No, I’m not still bitter. Why do you ask? Heh.)

      • Francisco (FC) - Apr 7, 2013 at 7:58 PM

        I do recall at some point Pujol’s Wife stating that when they came with the 5 year offer they felt insulted (previously an offer of 8 or 9 years was presented I believe). At the time the implication was the length of the offer was seen as insulting since they went from more years to less years (even though it was higher AAV, but as you know Baseball players aren’t impressed by AAV, they are impressed by the TOTAL amount of the GUARANTEED contract).

      • rmfp1978 - Apr 7, 2013 at 8:06 PM

        This is one I have to agree w paperlions. I dont always agree with his comments but he knows his baseball. Pujols wife said she wss insulted when the cardinals were saying they wanted pujols to retire in stl and they offered him five years 100 something million. Yeah she said she was insulted lol. First off its negotiating. I was one that thought pujols deserved the $ not for what he was going to do during that contract but for what he had done in his first. He was the face of the organization and made DeWitt a lot of money. Holliday was making more than him. The whole ordeal turned me off as a pujols fan not because he chased the $ but the way he went about doin it and then hid behind his wife when people questioned his choice

      • paperlions - Apr 7, 2013 at 8:08 PM

        The problem was that the Pujolses acted like there could only be one more deal. A 5 year $130M deal doesn’t mean you don’t sign another deal in 5 years. I think FC is right, they were looking at total dollars for this contract and nothing else.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 7, 2013 at 8:44 PM

        Correct me if I’m wrong (pl, stlouis, or spud), but didn’t Pujols take a discount on his first big contract with the Cards. And he made it known that he felt underpaid by the one so he wanted a big contract for last year’s FA?

      • paperlions - Apr 7, 2013 at 8:57 PM

        Nope, he didn’t. He got a $100M deal after only a couple of seasons, at the time a record setting deal for a player with his time in the league. He actually never said he felt under paid. He actually repeatedly said that he “had his money” and didn’t need to chase the biggest deal and would prefer to be a life time cardinal…he said it over and over and over….for years.

      • jbrashorlando - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:50 PM

        Most of you apparently didn’t follow the situation very closely. Pujols felt disrespected by the cards because he felt they were only making him an offer to do lip service – that they didn’t really want him. His wife was on St. Louis radio and made the analogy that it was like they were standing in a loud room with the Cardinals execs watching him walk out the door and instead of yelling for him to stay just whispered quietly “no really, please stay” so they could say they tried to the fan base. There was no SERIOUS attempt to keep him. The thing that was the #1 deal breaker for him was they wouldn’t give him a no-trade clause. He was offered MORE MONEY by the Marlins than the Angels offered him which he turned down due to lack of a no trade clause. He wanted to be sure his family wasn’t moving after his next contract. He wanted roots for his family. He also saw the chance with the Angels at a position in the front office after his playing years… stability.

        His leaving wasn’t about money – it was about the Cardinals not making him feel wanted and a chance for stability/roots for his family. Simple as that.

      • paperlions - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:52 PM

        Yeah, that $220M lip service, what bastards. There is a difference between not paying attention and not swallowing the disingenuous bullshit Pujols and his wife were spewing.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 8, 2013 at 2:42 PM

        Considering Pujols already had his 10/5 rights, if he actually claimed the lack of a no-trade clause from the Cardinals was a sign of disrespect he’s just making excuses.

      • paperlions - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:10 PM

        I think that comment was with respect to the rumored Marlins offer, which seems to have really been about $100M less than was rumored (i.e. less than $200M)

      • Kevin S. - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:27 PM

        There’s really no way to read his comment and think he was talking about the Marlins’ offer. Now, he might have confused the Marlins’ well-publicized refusal to offer an no-trade clause with what the Cardinals offered.

      • paperlions - Apr 8, 2013 at 3:32 PM

        Might be….the conversation became hard to follow at some point. Someone (for reasons unknown) was bringing up the Marlins fabled but never confirmed serious interest. I know the Marlins refused to do a no-trade, so I may have just mentally made that assumption….as you said, it clearly didn’t matter for a Cardinal offer, as he already had 10-5 rights

  2. oldpaddy - Apr 7, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Who in thier right mind would walk away from millions?

    • pinkfloydprism - Apr 7, 2013 at 2:04 PM

      None of us. But when you have all of the money in the world already, it is a bit easier to.

      • oldpaddy - Apr 7, 2013 at 2:05 PM

        It is? Give me some names?

      • Kevin S. - Apr 7, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        Gil Meche is about the only one I can think of.

      • Tribe&Browns&Cavs - Apr 7, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        Michael Jordan’s first retirement seems pretty comparable.

      • ditto65 - Apr 7, 2013 at 2:31 PM

        Jim Brown

      • smoothaswilkes - Apr 7, 2013 at 3:32 PM

        barry sanders

      • edmata - Apr 7, 2013 at 4:51 PM

        Tsuyoshi Nishioka is one of them.

      • bkertz - Apr 7, 2013 at 5:47 PM

        Mark McGwire walked away from 2 years / $30 million.

    • historiophiliac - Apr 7, 2013 at 2:29 PM

      I think it’s sad that walking away from money seems crazy to you.

      • oldpaddy - Apr 7, 2013 at 2:48 PM

        Walking away from guaranteed money IS crazy.
        $20 says pujols plays his contract out.
        Prove me wrong, pujols. Prove me wrong.

  3. chacochicken - Apr 7, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    I like big Al but if you believe that then I would like to offer you a fantastic deal on some lovely beach front property in New Mexico.

    • oldpaddy - Apr 7, 2013 at 2:04 PM

      I see what you tried to do there, too bad for you there’s plentys of beach front properties in new mexico.
      Next time try “ocean front”

  4. thecatlover86 - Apr 7, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    Heaven forbid Alex get the money he’s entitled to by his contract

    • bleedgreen - Apr 7, 2013 at 2:09 PM

      I know right? He may be kind of a d-bag, but the Yankees gave him the contract. Why should he feel obligated to NOT collect that money? Its a SIGNED CONTRACT.

      At least its not like the NFL where if a player isn’t happy with his salary, he’s not a team player and should honor the deal he signed. When the team is unhappy with a players salary, they simply cut them.

  5. cardsfan773 - Apr 7, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Never heard of a guaranteed contract getting voided because a guy walked away. He’s owed that money come hell or high water. Angels should have considered that when signing him. And the Cardinals made the right choice. More than 5yrs for this guy is too many. You know hes actually 35 now

    • paperlions - Apr 7, 2013 at 5:08 PM

      If a guy retires, I don’t think he’s owed anything from the remaining portion of his contract. In order to receive that money, he has to be willing to at least attempt to meet the terms of his contract (i.e. play baseball). If he walks away, he doesn’t still get paid. Contracts aren’t THAT guaranteed.

      • jwbiii - Apr 7, 2013 at 7:32 PM

        As Kevin S. mentioned above, Gil Meche retired with money left on his contract because he didn’t want to have another shoulder surgery and rehab. I can’t think of another.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 7, 2013 at 8:46 PM

        PL is correct, if you retire your contract is up. And yes, Meche retired leaving at least two years worth of his deal iirc.

  6. andreweac - Apr 7, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    To claim Albert didn’t meet Arte Moreno or Jerry prior to signing his deal is blatantly false.

    • paperlions - Apr 7, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      No, it isn’t. The Angels GM called Pujols’ agent one evening. The offer came via phone the next morning and was agreed to….and Pujols never met with the GM or the Owner (who wasn’t at the meeting anyway), ever saw the Angel’s stadium, nothing.

      • fearlessleader - Apr 7, 2013 at 6:03 PM

        It was an impulse buy on Moreno’s part, just as Hamilton was this year, and Albert and Deidre lapped up his sales pitch exactly according to plan. Er, I mean, Albert and Deidre *heard the voice of Jesus calling them to Anaheim* exactly according to GOD’S plan.

        The whole situation still repulses me when I allow myself to dwell on it—especially when I think of sweet Stan Musial grinning in his wheelchair and holding up his “All I want for Christmas is for Albert to stay a Cardinal” sign. I’m embarrassed that I ever even entertained the question of whether Pujols had a shot at surpassing Stan as the greatest Cardinal ever. Apologies, Stan.

      • jwbiii - Apr 7, 2013 at 7:35 PM

        Stan Musial retired a decade before free agency. A decade before he could choose to play for his home town Pirates, for example.

      • fearlessleader - Apr 7, 2013 at 7:49 PM

        Yes, I know. Not the point.

  7. raysfan1 - Apr 7, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Yes, a lot if players say something similar. I think most simply don’t recognize when it’s time though. Perhaps money’s part of it, but I think it’s more that being a ballplayer is part of their self-identity. They love the competition, the club house, the lights, etc, and they have a hard time seeing themselves as anything else.

  8. normcash - Apr 7, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Part of me wishes that he stays and collects every dime…the last several years while he rides the bench or nurses injuries….just so Moreno feels the full pain of a truly stupid deal.

    • umrguy42 - Apr 7, 2013 at 6:28 PM

      As a still bitter Cards fan… I agree ;p

  9. floriohatesthebengals - Apr 7, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    there is no way he’s only 33. He has to be 37 at least

    • Kevin S. - Apr 7, 2013 at 3:58 PM

      Yes, when he moved to the US as a teenager before showing any kind of professional baseball potential, his parents decided to risk deportation and forge documents stating he was several years younger than his actual age for no apparent reason. Seriously, do you people fucking think before you spout this shit off?

      • paperlions - Apr 7, 2013 at 5:14 PM

        No, they don’t.

        Oh, that was rhetorical? Sorry.

  10. jayquintana - Apr 7, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    Artie Moreno’s thinking, “now… how do I hold him to this? Hmm…. “

  11. Bob - Apr 7, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    What he meant to say is that he would walk away the day his PED dealer went out of business.

  12. cardsfan773 - Apr 7, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    kevin s. Do you think before posting. Many dominican/latin players have been found to have lied about age or actual name. Even as young as little league. assclown

    • jwbiii - Apr 7, 2013 at 7:39 PM

      Name a few who have done this at age six.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Apr 7, 2013 at 8:47 PM

      How many of those players played HS ball? And how many of those players played College ball? I honestly can’t remember a single one.

  13. sfm073 - Apr 7, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    The problem is ego will never allow him to think he can’t compete anymore.

  14. andreweac - Apr 7, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    Per the OC Register: “According to USA Today, Pujols turned down a contract offer from the Miami Marlins that was the largest in baseball history: $275 million over 10 years, with no deferred money and “with incentives, and factoring in no state tax in Florida,” could have been worth nearly $300 million.”

    • fearlessleader - Apr 7, 2013 at 6:55 PM

      But they wouldn’t give him a no-trade clause, which killed the deal, so if that’s being submitted as evidence that he wasn’t All About the Money, it doesn’t work.

      Not gonna lie: In petty hindsight, I WISH he’d signed with the Marlins. What was that you said about the lack of respect and loyalty from ownership in St. Louis, Albert…?

  15. hushbrother - Apr 7, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    So does this mean that when he has his first lousy year, we can expect to hear hear the “Will this be Albert Pujols’ last game in a (Cardinals/Angels) uniform??” chorus ad nauseum all over again?

  16. ningenito78 - Apr 7, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    @paperlions- respect does mean money. And when ARod and Bonds signed their deals they were two of the most respected players in baseball. You’re just playing semantics. Pujols felt the Cards gave him respect when he signed that first contract. Then the Angels gave him the most with their contract. Money money money. Period. And I have no problem with that. But to actually think he left the Cards and went to the Angels because of feeling respected and it wasn’t the money…is laughable. Which is a huge understatement.

    • paperlions - Apr 7, 2013 at 8:40 PM

      Respect = respect

      Money = money

      Respect money

      Using the term respect as a surrogate for money is disrespectful to the concept of respect.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 8, 2013 at 12:46 AM

        Hey, you’re rapping.

      • paperlions - Apr 8, 2013 at 7:30 AM

        I used greater than and equals signs and forgot in my haste that they wouldn’t show up….probably better this way anyhow.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 8, 2013 at 7:48 AM

        Mo olives, mo problems.

  17. djjackson81 - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:57 AM

    Ya I’m calling BS. He isn’t leaving most that money on the table. Ya ok Alberts we can keep the money thanks what some season tickets??? Lmao

    • UgglasForearms - Apr 8, 2013 at 8:13 AM

      Huh?

      • stlouis1baseball - Apr 8, 2013 at 12:35 PM

        What Uggla said. Scratch that. What UgglasForearms said!

  18. buffalomafia - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Pujols could hardly walk now?

  19. kehnn13 - Apr 8, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Sorry, but respect is often correlated to money and not just in sports.

    And claiming that Pujols didn’t give St Louis a break on that 100 million dollar contract is a bit misleading. (I also recall Tony Larussa saying that he offered a hometown discount of 60 or 65 million to the Cards before going to the Angels.- (USA Today reference)) Fact is, they didn’t really want him, as they felt that unless he was playing for well below market value, he was too expensive.

    I also think it is worth noting that he turned down what was supposed to be more money overall from the Marlins when he signed with the Angels.

    • fearlessleader - Apr 9, 2013 at 12:10 PM

      Your facts are questionable.

      1) Yes, in retrospect, the Cards got a bargain on Pujols during the tenure of his first contract. But when it was made, that deal represented a huge investment in a player who was still very young and who could just as easily have plateaued, flamed out, or been lost to injury. If Pujols was upset that he didn’t get more from them, he should have taken it up with his oh-so-classy agent, Dan Lozano. If Pujols and Lozano thought that the Cards should have offered to OVERPAY in the second contract to make up for the first, then they were idiots.

      2) The Cards didn’t offer him “60 or 65 million” less than the Angels did (and the value difference between the two offers was even smaller than the arithmetic one, considering the relative costs of living in St. Louis and SoCal).

      3) Of course the Cardinals wanted him; that’s why they offered him the largest contract, by far, in the team’s history (and, it’s worth noting, a contract that represented a much greater share of the organization’s total worth than the one he took in Anaheim—what’s that about “commitment”?). But they didn’t want him at the expense of being able to sign and/or keep the other quality pieces of a winning team for the next ten years.

      4) The Marlins’ offer was revealed after the fact to have been significantly lower than originally reported, and, as covered above, Miami refused to give him the no-trade clause he insisted upon.

  20. coloradogolfcoupons - Apr 8, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    I will believe he walks away from this contract when I see it. He is simply posturing to obtain fan sympathy and respect. Frankly, I would give 10-1 odds he NEVER walks away from the money.

  21. tominma - Apr 12, 2013 at 6:32 AM

    I’ve never ever seen a player in any sport walk away from such huge amounts of money. I really think baseball contracts are really dumb. Look at how much the Yankees still owe ARod! It doesnt take a genius to realize that when any pplayer reaches mid thirties, there will be some declining of skills and playing health. To offer contracts that feature 10 figure salaries when a player approaches 40 or run thru early 40s shows true stupidity on the part of the owners. I dont blame the players, It’s the owners who are making such dumb business decisions!

  22. stlfan - Apr 13, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    Whether or not Pujols walks away will ultimately depend on what his wife wants. Also, when talking “respect,” don’t forget that the Angel’s respect had been recently funded by a multi-billion dollar TV deal just days before the Pujols offer. Without that deal, would the Angel’s have offered the same level of respect? Or, would they have been in the same ballpark as a smaller market team, like the Cardinals?

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