Last night the buzz coming from the winter meetings was that Albert Pujols wasn’t anywhere near making a decision, but either that was wrong or things changed dramatically overnight.
Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports that Pujols has agreed to sign with the Angels, getting a 10-year contract worth between $250 million and $260 million.
Wow. It didn’t take Jerry Dipoto long to make a huge splash as general manager.
Until now Alex Rodriguez was the only player in baseball history to secure a contract in excess of $200 million and according to Brown the massive deal also includes a full no-trade clause, which was something the Marlins reportedly were never willing to give Pujols.
Making that sort of investment in a 32-year-old first baseman is obviously tremendously risky and it’s tough to blame the Cardinals for not wanting to commit $25 million per season through age 41, but certainly Angels fans aren’t focusing on 2021 right now.
UPDATE: And the Angels weren’t done spending with Pujols, handing out another huge contract to C.J. Wilson.
UPDATE: The final tally on Pujols’ deal is $254 million and apparently that wasn’t even the highest offer.
The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.
Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.
There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.
That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.
The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.
One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.
Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.