Los Angeles Angels slugger and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols is entering the final season of his 10-year, $240 million contract. He turned 41 last month and his skills are greatly diminished. But, despite that, Pujols has not yet made any plans for his future beyond 2021. His baseball future remains undecided.
"Right now, I don't have a plan for the future," Pujols told ESPN Digital on Tuesday.
"I have worked all winter to be ready from the first day of training. I will take this year day by day, without creating expectations. There are things that happen that you cannot control," said Pujols.
"I will try not to think about the future, but what I can do now for this organization. My body will dictate what I should do later," he added.
Pujols hit .224/.270/.395 during the abbreviated 2020 season and he owns a .242/.291/.406 batting line in more than 1,800 plate appearances over the last four seasons. That works out to an 87 OPS+, or 13 percent below league average. At his peak, he was one of the greatest hitters ever, though he hasn't been that player in several years now.
Should he decide to continue playing, Pujols figures to have trouble finding a roster spot in 2022, even if the National League adopts the universal DH. It's been a half-decade since he was even a league average hitter, and he doesn't provide any defensive or baserunning value. Pujols is a clubhouse leader who mentors young players, but that's probably not enough to get signed.
If this is Pujols' final year, it should feature some milestones. He needs 84 hits to pass Paul Molitor and take over sole possession of 10th place on the all-time list, and he needs 144 total bases to pass Willie Mays and move into sole possession of third place on the all-time list. He is currently fifth all-time in homers (662), third in RBI (2,100), and fifth in extra-base hits (1,347).
Once his playing career ends, Pujols has a 10-year personal services agreement worth $10 million lined up with the Angels. It was part of his current contract.