Los Angeles Angels
(Credit: Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)

The Los Angeles Angels Screwed Up

The Los Angeles Angels released 1B/DH Albert Pujols during the final year of his contract last Thursday. Pujols inked the 10-year, $240 million deal back in 2011. Within a few days of his release, the 41-year-old was picked up on a minimum deal by the crosstown Los Angeles Dodgers. The Angels absolutely botched this whole situation, and here’s why.

Yes, Albert Pujols Is Washed

It’s no secret that Pujols’ career took a major downturn once he left the St. Louis Cardinals for the Angels. After his 11 seasons in St. Louis, Pujols had amassed nine All-Star appearances, three NL MVP awards, six Silver Sluggers, two Gold Gloves, and two World Series titles. He won a batting title and hit over .300 in 10 of his 11 seasons with the Cardinals. As an Angel, however, Pujols never hit over .300 for a season, received one All Star selection, and never finished higher than 17th in MVP voting.

Albert Pujols did not provide significant on-field value to the Angels, at least not in the last five seasons of his tenure with the team, but Pujols is a future first-ballot Hall of Famer and one of the greatest offensive talents that baseball has ever seen. He ranks third in RBIs and fifth in HRs all-time. Pujols deserved a farewell tour with the Angels, an organization to which he had pledged half of his Hall of Fame career, but they chose to cut ties with him instead.

The Angels Should Not Have Released Pujols

Cutting Pujols when they did was a curious decision by the Angels. The ideal time to move on was probably three years ago, but they instead chose to cut him in the middle of his last season of professional baseball. The organization had the option of simply keeping Pujols on the roster without playing him in every game or even at all, but they seemingly believed their options were to put him in the lineup or release him outright. Perhaps even worse, the Angels still owe $30 million to Pujols because of his contract. Not to mention they are allowing a generational talent to finish his career in the same city while wearing a different jersey at a comparatively minuscule cost.

Is that the sunk cost fallacy? Maybe so, but I can acknowledge that and still say that it did not make sense to simply get rid of him. This goes beyond the bottom line. The Los Angeles Dodgers do not need Albert Pujols, but they are giving him one last ride and potentially a World Series ring at the end of the road. That is more than the Angels can say. As one of the all-time greats, Pujols deserves his due.


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