Angel Droppings: Albert Pujols and the refusal to become an albatross


Apr 7, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols (5) singles in the 9th inning of the game against the Texas Rangers at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.The Rangers beat the Angels 7-3. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Albert Pujols is one of the very best hitters in Major League Baseball. This is not a secret. But he’s 33-years-old and has been in decline now for at least two seasons. He’s not the behemoth he used to be. He’s been downgraded to merely slightly better than human.

Still, his ten-year $240-million will take him through his age-42 season. The last few years of that deal will almost certainly be a problem. Of course, the Angels are banking on him making up the value of the deal in the first half, but given the overall girth of the deal, it seems impossible that he’ll actually be worth the money.

It would seem as though Pujols is well aware of this fact. He told Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times that if he’s ever to terrible to justify is cumbersome deal, then he’ll walk away from the money and the game.

From DiGiovanna’s article:

"“God has given me ability and talent, but the day I feel like I can’t compete any more on this level, I’m not going to embarrass myself,” Pujols said. “I’m going to walk off. Whether that’s next year, two years from now, only God knows.”Pujols didn’t mean to say he plans to retire in a year or two — he still has a passion to compete and to prove people he can still play, much like he did last season, when he rebounded from a horrendous start.“It seems like when people doubt me, I always have that chip on my shoulder to prove them wrong,” Pujols said. “I’ve been doing that since the day I became a professional.”"

Given how bad the Alex Rodriguez contract currently looks for the suddenly frugal Yankees, this could end up being a welcome thing for the Angels’ front office of the future. If Pujols is true to his word, it could save the Angels from paying him tens of millions of dollars on the back half of a deal that’s almost certain to be an overpay.

Of course, saying you’ll walk away from that much money and actually doing it when the time comes are two different things.

If I was Pujols, I’d stay under contract until the bitter end. It’s not as if he owes Arte Moreno anything considering just how much money the billboard mogul makes off of his (and other players’) backs. Of course, we don’t know what the future holds, but it’s doubtful that the Angels won’t have the money in ten years considering their sizable revenue stream and media contract. I very much doubt Moreno would go out of his way to give more money to Pujols without him earning it, so why should Pujols grant Moreno with such a savings.

And the rest:

Josh Hamilton doesn’t think being back in Arlington had anything to do with his struggles on the weekend, he think he’d such anywhere [Bob Nightengale, USA Today].

Jered Weaver and the Giant Red Flag [Dave Cameron, FanGraphs].

You guys, Grant Brisbee is upset. If you can’t look at Joe Blanton’s strikeout-to-walk ratio, how the hell can you evaluate him? [Baseball Nation].

How would you like to be “Inside the Angels”? Pardon? [Rev Halofan, Halos Heaven]. No, you’re five-years-old.

The Angels have re-signed utility man Bill Hall whom they released a few weeks ago. They have sent him to extended spring training [Tim Dierkes, MLB Trade Rumors]. Hall was looking great in Spring Training before injuries derailed him. Considering the dearth of bench depth the Angels currently find themselves with, Hall might be a nice addition if he can get it together.

Why does Mike Scioscia always hit his catchers eighth? [Joseph Franzi, Monkey with a Halo].