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.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.