Another week is ending, and today’s #CurrentEventFriday looks at the end of a baseball player’s tenure with his team. So, without much ado let’s get into news of the day in the world of MLB.
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Angels released First Baseman/Designated Hitter Albert Pujols in the final year of his contract with the team. Pujols signed a massive contract with the team 10 years ago but over the last few years his production has declined.
Originally a signing of the St. Louis Cardinals late in the draft, Pujols rose to the major leagues and cemented himself as a perennial all-star at First Base for the Cardinals. Given the nickname “The Machine” for his abilities, Pujols became a fan favorite of the Cardinals from 2001-2011. Pujols won Rookie of the Year in 2001. He also won MVP in 2005, 2008, and 2009. In the Postseason, Pujols won the World Series in 2006 & 2011 and was the NLCS MVP in 2004. Also, during his time with the Cardinals, Pujols became the cover athlete for EA’s MVP Baseball in 2004. When his contract with St. Louis ended, Pujols signed with the Angels.
Pujols has been mostly consistent with the Angels, but hasn’t quite produced as well as he did with the Cardinals. Given the Angels play in the American League, Pujols has been able to remain healthy and reduce wear on his body by playing Designated Hitter.
I’ve always respected Pujols for his ability, but disliked the team he played for the first 10 years of his MLB career. There was at least a smll glimmer of hope for Cubs fans like me that Pujols might;ve signed with Chicago when his St. Louis contract ended, but the Angels came away with that victory. I’ve also admired long-time catcher Yadier Molina of the Cardinals for his ability but dislike that those abilities are often used against my team.
Given the need for production at a Major League level, the release of Pujols wasn’t that unexpected. At the time of the release, Pujols is hitting just under the so-called Mendoza line which is an under .200 batting average. Yes, the season is early, but the Angels have several candidates for Designated Hitter and infielders to play First Base. A costly bench player isn’t a luxury they could afford. Likely, Pujols will retire at the end of the season as possibilities to sign will be few and far between. If Pujols does retire at the end of the season, I’d expect the St. Louis Cardinals to offer a one-day contract so he can retire as a Cardinal.
Are you a fan of Albert Pujols?