The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are locked in place with almost no way out. First baseman Albert Pujols is laughing his way all the way to the bank with his ten-year, $240 million contract he signed before his age 32 season. Owner Art Moreno doesn’t know what to do and has seemingly given up in the midst of a six-year playoff drought. It’s easy to call hindsight on what occurred, but Pujols was once one of the greatest offensive players to grace the playing field.
You want to talk about Hall of Fame numbers? For Pujols, the list goes on almost forever. He marked baseball as the most feared hitters in the post steroid era. For 11 years as a St. Louis Cardinal, he averaged 40 home runs, 121 runs batted in, a .328 batting average, and a 1.037 on-base plus slugging with three MVP awards to show for it, according to baseball-reference. It doesn’t get much better than that. He was on formidable Cardinals teams with players such as Scott Rolen, Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, and Yadier Molina. He was a big piece to the Card’s championship runs in both 2006 and 2011.
Some could say Albert Pujols’ 2011 was a sign of things to come. That year he posted career lows in all major offensive categories, but this was a contract year as Pujols was due to be a free agent that offseason. And no, the stats were not bad at all. Any team would beg for .299 with 37 home runs and 99 runs batted in. Unfortunately, once he signed that incredible deal with the Angels, he fell into a downward spiral. Every year it seems like he’s only getting worse and worse, with last year batting .229 with a meager six home runs. Yes, it was a pandemic shortened season, but his on-base plus slugging was only .665. What a joke for a player making 28 million a year. Not to mention, Pujols has been struggling with injuries including plantar fascia, which has made him amongst the slowest players in the entire league.
It’s time for the former All-Star to hang up the cleats. You can’t blame Pujols for everything, but at this rate, the Angels won’t see a World Series any time soon. Mike Trout, the greatest player of our generation, and Shohei Ohtani will fail to wear that elusive ring on their fingers.