The career of star first baseman Albert Pujols ends in Anaheim after the Angels front office chose to let him go. This sparked many cheers and boos from fans of the Halos and fans of the player alike.
First off, there should be no doubt that Pujols will go down as one of the best first basemen of all time and he should be a no-doubt first ballot Hall of Fame candidate. A player that pushed his way to the majors in 2001, after being selected in the 13th round by the Cardinals in 1999 and he never looked back. His time with St. Louis was illustrious as he was a nine-time All-Star from 2001-2011 with 445 home runs, 1,329 RBIs, and an OPS+ of 170 before he signed a mega-deal with the Angels for the 2012 season
Angels: The release of Albert Pujols shocked the baseball world.
His time in Anaheim was a different story as he reaped the rewards he earned as a Cardinal and cashed in with the Angels. In the almost 10 years Pujols was with the Angels, father time had caught up to him as he failed to produce anywhere close to what the Cardinals got from him. Pujols hit 222 home runs, 783 RBIs, and an OPS+ of 108 which is barely above league average.
Fans were treated with watching him hit his 500th and 600th home runs in an Angels uniform, while mentoring one of the greatest baseball players of a generation in Mike Trout. Pujols was also highly regarded as one of the best persons in the game both on and off the field.
The truth of the matter was that the Halos were paying him for what he once was, and clearly both sides saw a means to an end.
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In a press conference with media, shortly after the announcement with the Halos front office staff which included GM Perry Minasian and team president John Carpino, the decision to part ways seemed mutual.
"“There was no fight, no argument,” Minasian said. “This was a conversation that went back and forth. He expressed his feelings, and we expressed ours. Things did not end badly. I gave him a big hug.”"
In his current and final season in an Angels uniform, Pujols was slashing .198/.250/.372 which is a good argument as to why the Halos wanted to clear his roster spot for someone else. His being in the lineup cost playing time for both Jared Walsh and Shohei Ohtani, who are both more than deserving of the playing time right now as the first base job is now Walsh’s to lose.
It was also noted by the media that Pujols wanted more playing time and wanted to be an everyday first baseman, something he couldn’t achieve with the Angels current roster. Time will tell how the Angels will play with the extra roster spot and who gets it, but for now, Pujols isn’t forcing the Halos to choose between him and Walsh for first base anymore.
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This didn’t end in bad blood as previously mentioned and now this creates more pressure on the Angels to prove that letting him go wasn’t a mistake. It’s worth noting that he has a 10-year personal services contract with the Angels after he retires and he’s made it clear that with this move he doesn’t plan on retiring now.
A question now worth asking is what team will want to take a chance on the once-great legend in Pujols? As well as, does he have what it takes to stay there?