Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Before we restart the bitching about how signing Albert Pujols was the worst decision ever made in the history of baseball, and we start making dire predictions about how quickly our collective Angel-fan hand basket will arrive in hell, let’s just all take a deep breath and try to calm down so that we can engage in a rational discussion of Pujols’s performance in 2013.
Are you ready, or do you need another moment?
It’s ok. I can wait.
Whenever you’re ready.
All right, now that everyone’s blood pressure is down into the normal range, let’s have a little chat about the $200MM-Man.
There’s no use in denying it, Albert Pujols had his second disappointing season in an Angels uniform. He played only 99 games because of a painful foot injury, and 65 of those games were as DH. So I don’t know that 2013 is a campletely accurate measure of whether Moreno is getting his money’s worth.
But before we line up to start hurling stones at Pujols (and at Dipoto for signing him), there are a few things we need to consider:
First, his season-ending injury was only Pujols’s second stint on the DL in his career, so you know that this wasn’t just a stubbed toe. I did a little research, and plantar fasciitis sounds pretty damn painful. If he suffered from it all season, I think we’re lucky we got 99 games out of him. A condition like this is going to affect every part of his game, so I think he deserves a little slack from the fans. And remember, he has all winter to recover and rehabilitate, and I’m sure he’s going to be charging out of the gate come Spring Training.
Second, Pujols’s numbers were going down before he came to LA. He peaked in his MVP seasons of 2008 and 2009, but his stats have been in decline ever since. He’s still a damn good ballplayer when healthy, capable of an above-.300 average, 30+ homers, and 100+ RBI’s, but he’s probably not going to join the ranks of Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera in their Triple Crown pursuits.
Third, his first season with the Halos was not as bad as we might remember it being. Yes, during the first half he sucked seven ways to Sunday, but he turned things around after the All-Star Break. Stat for stat, his numbers were on par with – if not better than –his 2011 numbers. So he has shown that he can perform under the California sun.
Yes, 2013 was another disappointing performance by Albert Pujols, but I for one am optimistic that he’ll be able to turn things around in 2014. He will hopefully be healthy and focused and – with the help of Don Baylor – ready to perform at the plate and earn his $23MM.