The End of an Era for Albert Pujols and the Los Angeles Angels


Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Life comes at you quick and Pujols was a victim of that today. Seemingly out of the blue, the Los Angeles Angels have designated the Hall of Fame first-baseman to assignment. The Angels’ record sits at 13-16 and Pujols was hitting .198 AVG with 5 HR. While Pujols has not been anywhere near the player he was at his prime, the timing of this decision by the Angels is in poor taste.

Pujols’ lucrative contract with the Angels

With all likelihood this was to be Pujol’s last year in the majors. While nothing had been formally announced, there had definitely been rumors surrounding the end of Pujol’s career. It seemed fitting since he was in his last year in his 10 year contract with the Angels. In hindsight the contract was a terrible move by the Angels, but a great deal for Albert Pujols. He collected $240 million in the nearly 10 years he spent with the Angels and he only made 1 All-Star appearance in that time.

There was no doubt that Pujols had become more of a liability over his later few years with the Angels. At this point his presence merely served to increased ticket sales as he chased milestones. While it is harsh to say this about a future Hall of Famer, it is the truth. He was still a class act every step of the way. Something that I’m not too sure the Angels replicated.

Why the Angels would release Pujols

As I stated before, Pujols was most likely going to retire at the end of this year. So why release him? Why now when it would have made a lot more sense to do this a few years ago when his contribution to the team was mostly negative instead of positive? The answer, as it always is, is money.

Pujols no longer served a financial purpose to the Angels. He stopped serving a baseball purpose to the Angels around 5 years ago. Of courses that would have been too soon to release him. Around 3 years ago, the case could have been made that it would have been beneficial for the Angels to release Pujols. His production was no longer there and he was hindering the some young players from getting some experience under their belts.

Although I understand releasing Pujols is a stretch, why did the Angels not trade him then? They could have taken a huge loss and received minimal talent. But we’ve seen before that teams are willing to do this more times than not. So why not trade Pujols? For that same reason, money.

Don’t go chasing milestones

If the Angels would have traded or released Pujols. They would have lost money and a good chunk of it too. The Angels kept Pujols this long to profit from the milestones he achieved while he was on the team. He hit is 3,000th hit and 600th HR with the Angels and that obviously drives in revenue. Pujols was simply too far away from any major milestones, like passing Alex Rodriguez on the All-Time HR list, for the Angels to keep profiting off of him.

Pujols currently sits at 667 HR while Alex Rodriguez sits at 696 HR. That puts him 29 HR away from A-Rod and 33 HR away from 700, the two next milestones for Pujols. One reason why I think this theory is rather sound is that Pujols had recently passed WIllie Mays (660) on the HR list. So yes, I think the Angels kept Pujols long enough to get back as much money as they could by flashing Pujols’ milestones in the face of their fans.

A happy ending for Pujols on the horizon

Either way, it’s going to be very interesting to see what Pujols decides to do. I believe the Cardinals will likely offer him a small contract to end the season with them so that he can retire with the team that he will join the Hall of Fame with. A somewhat happy ending for all.

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