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.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.