LA Angels Course: Simple Machinery: The Albert Pujols model
By Benny Bam
Levers and pulleys are vital parts of any piece of classic machinery, such as Albert Pujols. Maintenance has always been the life-force of engineering.
Nothing lasts without a little lubrication and a lot of attentive time over weeks, years, or even decades. Albert Pujols is no different. Solid design matters in the lifespan of how operations can be used practically beyond the present day.
A great piece of “machinery”, such as Albert Pujols outlasts its modern usage to either be re-purposed or dissected down after a productive existence. Most machines today are complex electromechanically formed from some type of kinetic sculpture, but there are some simple old ones still getting the job done too.
Machinery gets outdated… OSHA re-regulates standards, industries change, and businesses fold. Imagine how many regulations, changes, and businesses Albert Pujols has outlasted over a 19-year MLB career.
His rookie season was the year before the Angels won their only World Series in 2002. Yep, that’s how long it’s been. He would duel for National League MVPs year after year with names like Barry Bonds. Sometimes when looking toward at the new machine models now and into the future… it’s easy to forget how the older more reliable ones have gotten the structure to where it is. To a level able to invest in something new.
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Certainly it is a valid argument to say Pujols has outlasted his productivity line despite surgeries and recharging recoveries summer after summer throughout his Angels tenure. Though, having that period mirror the modern day version has been a priceless piece of an All-Time great puzzle.
What other 39-year-old is doing what he is in the majors at the moment? Nobody… and certainly not hitters. Sure, .233 isn’t anything to write home about from a man that has batted .359(03′) and .357(08′) in full seasons. Having 33 runs batted in doesn’t blow your hair back, but he does have a respectable 19 walks to his 25 strikeouts showing a keen eye to still attempt to get on base as much as he doesn’t. He has 42 hits in 50 games which is not too shabby, either. Still some occasional power flashbacks in his 11 jack’s too. What’s that? Oh, yes… the contract…
Fine, but it is silly to consider his deal in the grand scale of where he is now without proper context. The Angels signed a 2x World Series Champion, three-time MVP, and “most consistent offensive player of his generation” as recited by then new Angels GM Jerry DiPoto from the Cardinals of the N.L. Joe Strauss of the St.Louis Post-Dispatch chronicled it best when he said that the Angels had done in 2 days what the Cards had not been able to accomplish over Pujols’ final two years under contract there.
Just to give Angels fans a full idea of the unexpected gargantuan scale of that signing in baseball history, Pujols and Bonds were often considered two of the top hitter in MLB HISTORY during the first decade of the century. The year before he signed in 2011, was the first of his career with less than 100 RBI’s and an average under .300. That’s what the Angels were getting… imagine a 31-year old slightly less potent Mike Trout with one more MVP and two rings. Not bad, right?
Yet… the end of the contract is not as hopeful as the beginning… which isn’t that much of a surprise for a deal over 200 million that ended in someone’s 40’s. Angels fans were not all watching when Pujols had scooped up another trophy five weeks before he departed the franchise that thought he was a lock to stay. Some estimates had the Cards final offer around 10 years and 210 million bucks.
Sure, a large portion was deferred, but hey, it’s 210 million bucks. After incentives his 254 million from the Halos had a chance to turn into 280 million. Presently, after watching the player who looks to Pujols mentorship in Trout just agree to a deal with the team that likely avoided a similar fate, it is easy not to appreciate the wherewithal it took for Arte Moreno to make that offer. Sure it was a lot, and is often evenly blacked out by seemingly albatross deals to similar coming off Postseason success players, cough, C.J. Wilson and Josh Hamilton- but it still took guts.
That wherewithal is something Arte Moreno and Albert Pujols share in the biggest moments. Arte, when it comes to making good on his promises to pony up when it matters, especially where on the field talent is concerned, and Albert, when it comes to being a dynamic force batting for your squad. It doesn’t always work out for Moreno. One of Moreno’s blunders was Pujols’ advocate after the announcement… Vernon Wells.
One of the big contract guys Moreno ponied up for in a trade or signing, including names like Justin Upton, Andrelton Simmons, Zach Cozart, and others aforementioned. In a twist of fate it was Wells stating that Albert was the only “person you can add who changes the complexion of a complete lineup.” A description he probably wished applied to himself when acquired by the Angels from Toronto months before; a “panic move” considered by most as a reaction for striking out on free agents like Adrian Beltre, Cliff Lee, and Carl Crawford(under Angels GM Tony Reagins).
Signing Matt Holiday to an extension and free agents in the market like Joe Mauer, Ryan Howard, and Mark Teixeira(who Arte let walk in 08′ via a compensation pick, later #27) further complicated matters for the Cards chances to keep Pujols… simultaneously giving the hungry Angels ammunition to pursue him after their own free agents failures.
While technology and sport move everlastingly forever forward, there is a sentiment lost when moving so fast. Both machines and athletics take for granted their past in order to focus on their futures… which is why they are so advanced yet beloved. The process for betterment does not end with one generation, game, or career. Pujols may be simple now, but 15 years ago he was the straw that stirred the drink of fear in every pitchers pregame meal.
Pujols is a career .323 batter in the POSTSEASON, a Rookie of the Year and 10x All-Star selection. Jose Alberto Pujols went to Fort Osage High School in Independence, Missouri, then Maple Woods Community College in Kansas City. He battled to become a professional, then was professional about becoming one of the greatest hitter ever. You can talk about his deal or say he isn’t doing his part in the numbers game, but just like machinery, while you look at the present and future, never forget what helped pave that road to travel down. #themachine