The DFA of Pujols came on Thursday in the midst of the Halos’ four-game losing streak, and one day after he was reportedly upset about the front office’s decision to keep him out of the lineup in the previous game. The three-time MVP had career-lows across the board, slashing .198/.250/.372 with five home runs and 12 RBIs through 24 games this season.
Pujols has underperformed for the better part of the last five seasons, with his highest batting average being .245 in 2016, his highest OPS of .734 in 2019, and his highest WAR of 0.3 in 2018. His remaining $30 million salary and beliefs of starting everyday were in the way of other players like Jared Walsh getting game-to-game starts at first base while performing at a high level.
In my opinion this was a necessary move of what’s best for the Angels, but it was handled terribly by the organization. It was growing obvious after last summer that Walsh would be the first baseman of the future and you knew he would more than likely need everyday starts to max his full potential in 2021. Pujols’ sharply declining lack of production was also staring ownership and management directly in the face for years. This is a move that should’ve happened in the past offseason at the latest, not one month into a fresh season.
The release of Albert Pujols could be the start of the Angels restructuring the team.
That being said, if Pujols didn’t get any special treatment, there should be no excuses for anyone else on the roster. You’d have to think owner Arte Moreno and general manager Perry Minasian are not messing around when it comes to getting the best talent within the organization onto the field.
If a player is not producing at a high level and a lack of effort is not there, they should be replaced by someone who could bring more value to the team’s future. With the way this roster was structured of mostly one-year deals, there are plenty of expendable pieces.