If Albert Pujols leaves St. Louis this winter, at least its residents will still have a 10-foot tall reminder of him outside of his restaurant in Westport.
Pujols unveiled the 1,100-pound bronze statue, which features his likeness pointing with both hands towards the sky, outside Pujols’s Westport Grill this morning.
“There’s going to be a lot of people asking, ‘Well, why is he not swinging the bat?'” Pujols told the crowd during his speech. “That’s to remind me it’s not about me, but it’s about Jesus Christ who gave his life so we can have eternal life. It’s really easy to lose focus when you have millions of people telling you how great you are.”
Boy, you can say that again. Oh yeah…
The funds for the statue were provided by an anonymous donor two years ago. It was created by Harry Weber, who is also responsible for the statues of Stan Musial and Lou Brock outside Busch Stadium.
Pujols didn’t have much to say about free agency during the unveiling, but he did respond when asked if the Pujols Family Foundation would remain in St. Louis if he signed elsewhere.
“Hopefully I don’t have to make that decision,” Pujols said. “We’re just going to see where God takes us. I don’t want to get ahead of God’s plan and say ‘Oh, we’re going to be here,’ and then something happens and I look bad. Whether it’s here or wherever, I believe our foundation is going to help the city of St. Louis.”
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported on Monday that the Angels have received inquiries from multiple teams concerning starter Hector Santiago. He adds that the club is willing to listen to offers. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports and MLB Network reports that the Marlins are among the teams that have inquired.
Santiago, 28, has pitched to a 4.32 ERA with 96 strikeouts and 47 walks in 110 1/3 innings. Sabermetric statistics such as FIP, xFIP, and SIERA think the lefty has pitched even worse than his ERA indicates however, pitting 2016 as his worst performance to date.
Santiago is earning $5 million this season and will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility going into 2017.
We also learned earlier that, in an effort to bolster their starting rotation, the Marlins have also shown interest in Wade Miley of the Mariners and Jeremy Hellickson of the Phillies.
The Rangers placed DH Prince Fielder on the disabled list last week due to more neck discomfort. On Friday, Fielder met with Dr. Drew Dossett, who performed spinal fusion surgery on Fielder in 2014 for a herniated disk in his neck. Dossett has recommended another procedure, so Fielder will undergo season-ending surgery this week, Jeff Wilson of the Fort-Worth Star Telegram reports.
Fielder was having a rough season, batting .212/.292/.334 with eight home runs and 44 RBI in 370 plate appearances. He played in only 42 games in 2014, but returned in 2015 looking more like his old self. Unfortunately, neck and back issues are notoriously difficult to fix. Hopefully, this upcoming procedure does the trick for Fielder.
Fielder is owed $24 million per season through 2020, with the Tigers paying $6 million of it per season.