Angels Cut $240M Slugger Albert Pujols

The star, who ranks fifth on home run list, was in the last year of a $240M contract
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 6, 2021 4:11 PM CDT
Angels Cut Pujols, Future Hall of Famer
Albert Pujols, with his son A.J. Alberto Jr. on his shoulders, holds onto the World Series trophy with Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, right, and General Manager Walt Jocketty after winning the World Series against the Detroit Tigers in St. Louis in 2006.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

Albert Pujols was cut by the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday, abruptly ending the 41-year-old superstar slugger's decade with his second major league team. The Angels surprisingly announced the move to designate Pujols for assignment a day after he wasn't in their lineup for the slumping club's fourth consecutive loss, the AP reports. The three-time NL MVP for St. Louis was in the final season of a 10-year, $240 million contract with Los Angeles. Pujols is fifth in major league history with 667 career homers, and the first baseman is 13th in major league history with 3,253 hits. A 10-time All-Star and the oldest active player in the majors, he is batting .198 this season with five homers and 12 RBIs while playing in 24 of the Angels' 29 games. "Albert's historical accomplishments, both on and off the field, serve as an inspiration to athletes everywhere, and his actions define what it means to be a true superstar," team owner Arte Moreno said in a statement. "Since his Rookie of the Year season in 2001, Albert and his wife Deidre have generously given their time and resources to countless charities throughout the world. We are thankful to the entire Pujols family."

The future Hall of Famer was unhappy at being left out of the starting lineup Wednesday night, per the Los Angeles Times, against a pitcher he's hit well. That decision reportedly came from the front office. Pujols joined the Angels after 11 seasons with the Cardinals, during which he won three league MVP awards, earned two World Series rings, received nine All-Star selections, won an NL batting title, and hit 445 homers while establishing himself as one of the greatest sluggers of his generation. Moreno persuaded Pujols to leave for the West Coast with a lavish contract, but the Angels have not won a playoff game during the concurrent tenures of Pujols and three-time AL MVP Mike Trout at the heart of their lineup. And though Pujols has crossed several statistical milestones with the Angels, the contrast in the two halves of his career is stark. He batted .328 with a 1.037 OPS in St. Louis, but hit .256 with a .758 OPS in Anaheim along with 222 homers — just under half his total for the Cards. Pujols earned just one All-Star selection in Anaheim, in 2015. The Angels made only one postseason appearance in Pujols' nine full seasons, getting swept by Kansas City in 2014.

(More Albert Pujols stories.)

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