Albert Pujols suggests that he will walk away from his Angels contract if he’s not producing

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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.

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.

Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.

Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.

Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign  on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.