Despite just completing his age-41 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers and speculation the 2021 season would be his last, Albert Pujols has made it clear retirement has not yet arrived.
At the start of Spring Training this year, Pujols’ wife suggested he would be retiring after the 2021 campaign, but later clarified that she wasn’t announcing as much. Retiring would have made sense as it was the final season left on Pujols’ 10-year, $240 million contract he signed with the L.A. Angels in 2011.
With the intention of continuing his career, Pujols has been playing in the Dominican Winter League to prepare for the season. It came as a bit of a surprise as most players use the early parts of the offseason to recover after a grueling slate.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman was among those who did not expect to see Pujols playing again so soon, but he quickly understood why the future Hall of Famer continued to play, via Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:
“It was amazing how quickly he went from the NLCS to playing,” Friedman said. “At first, I was surprised, but as I thought about it, I shouldn’t have been surprised at all. It speaks to his passion for the game, how much he loves playing the game.”
Leones del Escogido of the Dominican Republic Professional Baseball League (LIDOM) acquired Pujols’ rights from the Gigantes del Cibao in exchange for Melky Mesa and former Dodgers relief pitcher Edward Paredes.
In his first game with the club, Pujols hit a walk-off single and the joy he displayed while parading around the clubhouse was similar to the disposition he carried after signing with the Dodgers.
The Dodgers might look to bring Pujols back in the same role he had this past season, but there is a lot of speculation he could return to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Pujols appears in Marvel “Eternals” ad
Pujols has spent two decades playing baseball at the highest level, compiling three MVP Awards and 10 All-Star appearances, but he added a new accomplishment by joining the Marvel universe during the offseason as he appeared in an ad for “Eternals.”
Pujols is joined in the campaign by two other legends in their respective sports, Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Peyton Manning and WNBA point guard Sue Bird.
In the ad that was posted to Instagram, Pujols and Bird are urged to retire by Manning, who argues they are drawing too much attention to their status as Eternals.
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!