Albert Pujols wants to prove people wrong? About what?

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It takes a special kind of person to play the “no one believes in me” card after getting a ten-year, $240 million contract, but Albert Pujols is apparently that special.  From Bob Nightengale at USA Today:

“I always have that chip on my shoulder, no matter what kind of success I’ve had,” Pujols says forcefully. “This is going to be an extra chip on my shoulder that I’m going to have the next 10 years, maybe for the rest of my life. I don’t want to ever change that attitude.”

Pujols has a guaranteed contract from the Angels that will pay him $240 million over 10 years — along with another $10 million when he retires — but he wants to prove people wrong again.

Pujols says he has no hard feelings towards the Cardinals. He even says he’s cool if they want to give another player his old number.  So I guess that makes me wonder even more what the whole “chip on his shoulder” thing is.  I suppose it’s about some people criticizing the size of the deal he got, but way more people criticized the Prince Fielder and Joey Votto contracts than Pujols’.  Everyone agrees that he’s the best in the game and had a $200 million+ deal coming. And he got it.

But of course, Pujols is an incredible athlete, and it’s hard if not impossible for people who aren’t to understand what motivates incredible athletes. What makes them tick.  If it takes Pujols thinking that he has to prove anything to anyone at this point in order to continue being awesome, hey, more power to him.

Blue Jays release John Axford

John Axford
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The Blue Jays have released right-handed reliever John Axford from his minor league contract, per an announcement on Saturday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi speculates that the move could provide an avenue for the club to rework Axford’s contract, but the Blue Jays have yet to confirm or deny the report.

Axford, 35, was dealt a blow on Thursday after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. Elbow soreness dogged the right-hander through much of his time in camp, and although he was scheduled for a follow-up examination later this spring, a definite return date had not been established.

Prior to the diagnosis, Axford was tabbed for a setup role with the team in 2019. He pitched to mixed results in 2018 (thanks in part to a late-season fracture of his right fibula) with a 5.27 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 9.8 SO/9 through 54 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Dodgers. Now, however, it’s not certain that he’ll return to the mound this season in any capacity.

Axford isn’t the only reliever the Blue Jays have lost to injury lately, either, as right-handers Ryan Tepera and Bud Norris have been sidelined with right elbow inflammation and forearm fatigue, respectively. Per Davidi, the Blue Jays offered Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to prevent him from opting out of the minor league contract he signed in February.