The 2021 season may be the final one of Albert Pujols' legendary career—but that has yet to be determined.
"Nothing has changed what we talked about last week," he told ESPN's Enrique Rojas. "I will make a decision about the future, depending on what happens this season."
Last week, Pujols told Rojas that he did not have a plan for the future, noting his body will impact how long he plays.
"Today is the first day of the last season of one of the most remarkable careers in sports! I’m talking about my husband @albertpujols who since the time he was a child would eat, sleep, and breath this sport. I have had the privilege to walk out 23 years of this baseball journey and it is with such a full heart that I speak a blessing over him as he finishes this good race! I’ve never known anyone more dedicated, disciplined and consistent than Albert. He has loved the game, he has hurt for the game, and he made sacrifices for this game as if it was his own child. He has grown from just a zealous young man into a confident leader who so many look up to. We by no means are perfect and he is definitely not a machine as so many have called him but he has given all he had to make sure we all had a victory to experience with him on the field. Albert says he doesn’t want to be known for what he did on the field but rather who he was off the field...today I will celebrate both! God isn’t finished with you yet my love and as you finish out this last season I know already prepared for you is another journey full of goodness waiting just for you! Thank you for 21 years of incredible baseball thrills! Finish strong like the Angel you are and I know you will wow us all this 2021 season as usual! #lastseason #baseball #mlb #baseballplayer #albertpujols #angelsbaseball"
However, as Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic noted, she adjusted her message to say it is the last season of his current contract:
"A person close to Albert Pujols said he has 'not determined yet if it's going to be his last year,' but the Angels slugger did respond to his wife's Instagram post that he will be retiring after 2021 with three heart emojis," Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times wrote. "I guess that's what passes as confirmation these days?"
Pujols, 41, is already well on his way to the Hall of Fame regardless of what happens during the 2021 campaign.
He is a three-time league MVP, two-time World Series champion, 10-time All-Star, Rookie of the Year, two-time Gold Glover, six-time Silver Slugger, one-time batting champion and one-time National League Championship Series MVP.
Much of his production came as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, where he played 11 years from 2001 through 2011. All but one of his All-Star appearances came in St. Louis, as did both of his World Series titles.
Pujols led the league in home runs twice, runs scored five times, hits once, RBI once, batting average once, on-base percentage once and slugging percentage three times during his tenure with the Cardinals. In all, he slashed .328/.420/.617 with 445 home runs and 1,329 RBI in St. Louis.
In nine years with the Angels, Pujols has reached the 100-RBI mark four times and the 30-homer mark three times. He launched 40 home runs in 2015, which is the only season he made the All-Star Game as a member of the Angels.
Pujols appeared in 39 games during the shortened 2020 campaign and slashed .224/.270/.395 with six home runs and 25 RBI.
He is no longer one of the best players in the league, but he has the opportunity to make the playoffs in what may be his final season as part of a strong lineup that also features Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Justin Upton and Shohei Ohtani.