MLB: Five Reasons Why Albert Pujols' Struggles Are Symptoms of Something Worse
It's a fairly common thing.
A superstar playing out his option sets a deadline on negotiations for the day he reports to training camp. He doesn't want anything to distract him while he's getting ready for the season.
The deadline comes and goes. The superstar stops talking about the new contract, but it's on his mind.
Albert Pujols is quite possibly the best right handed hitter of our generation. He's certainly one of the all-time greats. Even he isn't immune to the struggles caused by a restless mind.
He has started to pull out of his funk, but he's not quite there yet. If the problem were mechanics, it would be an easy fix. His problem is much deeper than that.
Here are five reasons why Pujols' struggles are a symptom of something worse.
Pujols Loves St. Louis
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And St. Louis loves him back.
Long regarded as one of the greatest sports towns in the US, the fans are appreciative and knowledgeable. When Mark McGwire came over from Oakland, he immediately fell in love with the city. He quickly signed a contract extension.
People of the Midwest are hard working folks who appreciate dedication that Pujols brings to his craft. Sweat has always been his friend as he has pounded balls to perfect his swing.
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So, maybe Colby Rasmus wouldn't agree.
All of his players don't love LaRussa. Some think he over-analyzes the game.
But his big boppers love him. No one goes to the lengths to protect them that LaRussa does. If he even suspects another team is throwing at his big guy, he's raising a stink to the umpires, or he's having a pitcher retaliate.
He's also a very smart man. He understands how to deal with a player with great talent, or a player with no talent. He's old enough now that he's more like a father figure.
The Steroid Issue
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Pujols has never been accused of using steroids, at least not out in the open.
It's been said that no one could be as big as he is naturally. No clean lifter could get that big, could they?
In an age when many have taken the easier path by using substances that would help their performance, it's tough to be as good and as strong as Pujols and not have that shadow cast on you.
Surely, he can't just be that talented. He can't really work that hard.
Lack of Patience and Power
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While his strikeouts are only slightly elevated, Pujols' power numbers are way down. He also seems to be trying to attack balls that are out of the strike zone.
In 67 at bats, Pujols has five extra base hits. Multiplied out for a full season, if he had 670 at bats, which would be a lot, he'd only have 50 extra base hits. That's slightly more than half of what he usually produces.
As of this writing, King Albert had walked only five times. A disciplined hitter who prides himself on his strike zone management, he is walking less than he did as a youngster, when he was still trying find his identity as a hitter.
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Everyone knows that superstar ballplayers make an insane amount of money. They are set for life, unless they are extremely careless or hire their uncle as their business manager.
Albert Pujols has made good money playing the game of baseball. But, these superstars also have egos that make them want to make more than the other superstars. Since Alex Rodriguez signed for over $250 million, then that's the yard stick to shoot for. No baseball player is worth that much money.
Pujols demands don't take into account that the Rangers outbid themselves in that contract to the tune of more than $50 million.