Nine seasons and one month into the Los Angeles Angels‘ marriage with Albert Pujols, the club has filed for divorce. The Angels announced Thursday that they have designated the legendary slugger for assignment, effectively ending his ten-year relationship with the franchise. Albert Pujols was in the final year of his 10-year, $240 million contract signed with the Angels prior to the 2012 season.
Angels’ owner Arte Moreno stated on the team’s official Twitter account, “The Angels Organization proudly signed Albert Pujols in 2011, and are honored that he has worn an Angels jersey for nearly half of his Hall of Fame career.” Moreno continued, “Albert Pujols’ historical accomplishments, both on and off the field, serve as an inspiration to athletes everywhere, and his actions define what it means to be a true Superstar.”
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) May 6, 2021
The 41-year-old Pujols was hitting .198 with 5 home runs and 12 runs batted in during his first 24 games of the season. He made a critical base-running error during Tuesday night’s contest against the Tampa Bay Rays and was left off of last night’s lineup. First-year GM Perry Minansian has seen his club’s record drop to 13-16 and fifth place in the AL West. Upon clearing waivers, the Angels will be responsible for the remaining amount left of the $30 million due to Pujols this season.
An All-Time Great
Pujols will go down as one of the greatest right-handed power hitters in the history of the game. He ranks among the top five all-time in career doubles, home runs, runs batted in, and extra-base hits. His 667 career home runs trail only Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Alex Rodriguez. Most of this production occurred during his first 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. Pujols earned three NL MVP awards and seven additional top-five finishes for the trophy with the Cardinals.
The Dominican-born slugger left St. Louis to join the Angels franchise at 31 years old with a .328 lifetime batting average and 74.4 bWAR. Ten years later, the veteran leaves the Angels with a career .298 average and 85.1 bWAR. Although his performance in Anaheim was only a shadow of his play in St. Louis, he still ranks among career leaders in many categories. Pujols’ 222 home runs with the team are tied with Brian Downing for fourth-most homers in franchise history. He also ranks among the top 10 in the organization’s games played, runs scored, runs batted in, hits, and doubles. His 783 runs batted in with the Halos trail only Garret Anderson, Tim Salmon, Brian Downing, and Mike Trout.
Rumors swirled this spring that this would be his final season after his wife Diedre posted a message on Instagram. After the media began reporting this information, the Pujols camp quickly denied any retirement decision has been made. While Pujols’ performance has deteriorated over the past decade, he remains 33 home runs shy of 700 for his career. A milestone that has only been reached by Bonds, Aaron, and Ruth.
The Hall Awaits
There is no word yet on how this transaction will affect the ten-year professional services agreement that was included in his initial contract. For now, it appears Pujols will be a free agent shortly for any other MLB organization to add to their roster. If that does not happen, you can mark your calendars for the summer of 2027 for Pujols’ trip to Cooperstown.
Follow B.J. Martin on Twitter @_HaloLife
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