After the 2011 season, St. Louis Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols, one of the best hitters that the MLB had seen, signed a massive 10-year, $253 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Just over a month into the final year of that deal, he has been released.
Pujols was expected to be a franchise cornerstone for a decade when he signed that deal. The Angels did wind up with a generational talent during that run. Of course, it is outfielder Mike Trout.
Pujols had some productive seasons, especially in the first half of that contract. He was an All-Star just one time with the team, in 2015. That was his best power season with the club, hitting 40 home runs and 95 RBIs, but even that year he finished with a fairly pedestrian .244 batting average and .307 on-base percentage.
He struggled mightily early this year, hitting just .198 through 92 plate appearances, with 17 total hits and five home runs. Now, he’s a free agent, as the Angels have elected to move on.
The Los Angeles Angels are releasing future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols today, per sources. Pujols is in the final year of his 10-year, $253 million contract.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) May 6, 2021
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) May 6, 2021
During his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, it looked like Albert Pujols might go down as one of the greatest players of all time.
He made nine All-Star Games in his first 10 seasons with the team, winning three NL MVP Awards, six Silver Sluggers, two Gold Gloves, an NL batting crown, and two home run crowns. He led the team to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011.
There were flashes of that player at times through his decade with the Angels, but the superstar, all-time great never found his footing in Los Angeles. He’s still locked in as a first-ballot Hall of Famer based on his Cardinals tenure, but like the Angels overall, those last 10 years were disappointing.
Hopefully he latches on with a new team to finish out this season and, likely, his career. Perhaps the Cardinals can bring him back as some depth for Paul Goldschmidt. It’d be appropriate for him to wrap things up there.