This is for the best for both Pujols’ long-term success and the Angels. Mike Scioscia forces a world of pressure on Pujols with cleanup duties; not only are you giving the struggling vet the biggest load to shoulder, you’re throwing his struggles out into the spotlight and amplifying his troubles. This is the kind of player management that makes me worry for Scioscia’s ability to maintain success in the long-term, guys like Pujols need to be placed in the right spot to allow for maximum levels of success.
Even more so worrisome is the stubborn application of Pujols at cleanup when the Angels are imbued with cleanup capable talent such as Justin Upton. Despite Pujols’ struggles he still pulled 101 RBI’s in during the 2017 season off of 23 HR’s and a .241 BA. Those numbers aren’t so anomalous when you consider the OBP machine in Mike Trout whom hits in front of Pujols. Allow a stud like Justin Upton and his 30 HR capability to man the cleanup spot and the Angels can easily be more than wildcard play-in contenders.