On Thursday, the Los Angeles Angels shocked the MLB world with the release of future Hall-of-Fame first baseman/designated hitter Albert Pujols.
After an all-time great 11-year stretch with the St. Louis Cardinals from 2001-11 (including three league MVP trophies), Pujols signed a massive 10-year, $253 million deal with the Angels. Now just one month into his final year of that contract, the former superstar will part ways with the team.
With no reported intentions to leave the game of baseball behind just yet, the focus now turns to one important question. Where will Pujols go next?
Oddsmakers at SportsLine.com have come up with six teams where the all-time great could play in the third stint of his MLB career. Here’s the full list and odds:
- White Sox +200
- A’s +350
- Indians +500
- Blue Jays +700
- Royals +900
- Cardinals +1500
- No team +2000
The White Sox are currently listed as the frontrunner because of Pujols’ connection with his former St. Louis manager Tony La Russa, who’s now the manager in Chicago. Further down the list and with far worse odds are the Cardinals, showing a sliver of hope that the St. Louis legend could make a triumphant return to his former club.
Wherever Pujols goes, it seems he’ll want to play a pivotal role in the rotation.
Averaging a .198 batting average and a .250 on-base percentage so far this season, the 41 year old began to slip on the Angels depth chart. Earlier this week, LA manager Joe Maddon started Joe Walsh at first base and Phil Gosselin (batting .125 through just two games) at designated hitter — marking Pujols’ ninth game out of 29 not starting this year. This recent slight at the aging superstar likely had a significant impact on his decision to ask for a release.
No longer a reliable longterm starter at the first base position, Pujols will likely be picked up as a DH option.
With a few good year left in the tank, maybe he’ll be able to show some flashes of those all-time great days with a new squad later this year.