The Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout (right) says it hit him a lot when he found out that Albert Pujols (left) was released for assignment by the Angels and some veteran players felt it wasn’t right what happened to Pujols (photo from the New York Post)
The Angels Dismissal of Alberto Pujols
That’s Amaury News and Commentary
By Amaury Pi-González
Last week the Los Angeles Angels designated for assignment/released the future Hall of Fame player (maybe unanimously) Albert Pujols. Logically, anybody that is following the Angels knows that with Japanese two-way superstar Shohei Othani, when he doesn’t starts a game on the mound, he is the team’s Designated Hitter and the resurgence of young first baseman Jared Walsh who is hitting over .300 with enough power to hit 30 or more home-runs this year, Pujols was not getting the playing time and at bats he wanted. That is a given.
However, to designate for assignment a player of Albert Pujols caliber, on the last year of his ten-year contract at the beginning of the month of May is not something you see every day and the team made the decision after only 29 games he had participated and them showed him the door.
Management is entitled to make their decision, that is what management in a front office does, but in my book the Angels did not show much grace to a man that played and who represented them very well since he signed ten seasons ago. In retrospect; could the Angels have spoken to him and told him of the possibility that he might be let go, depending how things worked as the season unfolded?
–More on this further down–This is a very emotional decision. The Angels want to win this year, they play in the same market as the World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers who have won eight consecutive Western Division titles in the National League, plus the 2020 World Series and the Angels have not made it to the Postseason since 2014, and counting, with what many still consider the best player in the game, Mike Trout.
This looked (to me) like a decision that should had been made differently. It looked like it was not thought through. The LA Angels probably believe that a man that was hitting under .200 is “done” and they want to contend this year for a division title, so they dumped Albert Pujols so that Shohei Othani and Jared Walsh could handle the DH and 1B position, without interruption.
By the way hitting under .200 for everyday players at this time in baseball history should not be the main factor. If that is the reason. then most teams most release three or four players right away. Albert Pujols is one of the best players of this or any other generation. His ten-year $240 million salary ends this season, but the Angels are still responsible for paying remainder of his $30 million this year.
I called the 600th Home-run of his career one night at Angel Stadium for Fox Sport West (Español). Pujols is as dedicated to his craft as anybody I have seen in this game, Mike Trout (who himself is on his way to a Hall of Fame career) would always look to Pujols for hitting and guidance overall, not to mention many Latino players on the team. Pujols led by example, never a scandal, always on time for practice, always there for the team, always representing the Angels and the game of baseball as good as anybody.
Albert Pujols did not want to retire; he believes he still has something left in the tank. It would be interesting to see if another team would pick up Pujols. Tony LaRussa, back as manager with the White Sox has always been a big fan and friend of the Dominican-born player, when he played in St Louis and LaRussa was his manager, however, the Chicago White Sox are a young team with Yermin Mercedes, who is often a designated hitter and who is having a very nice season. If Albert Pujols gets the opportunity to play again if would be in the American League where he can DH. We can discount the National League.
According to reports five days after his release, Pujols wanted to be released if he could not get enough playing time. Anyway we look at it; it is not a good ending of a story. In reality, we might have seen the last of a Hall of Fame player.
Albert Pujols, 41 years old. three Time National League Most Valuable Player— Rookie of the Year— ten-Time All-Star– two-World Series Titles– two Gold Glove–six-Silver Slugger–Batting Title–National League Championship Series MVP– Among the Top Five players in MLB history in Home-runs 667, Runs-batted-in 2,100, Extra-base hits 1,352.
Stay well and stay tuned.
Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the lead play by play announcer for the Oakland Athletics Spanish radio network and on flagship station 1010 KIQI LaGrande San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com