That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: The Angels dismissal of Albert Pujols

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

Jaso’s Pinch-Hit Heroics Continue A’s Dominance in Anaheim

By Matthew Harrington

Jesse Chavez once again produced a quality start, his third of the season, Monday night in Anaheim, but yet again the converted reliever-turned-starter headed off to the showers without a chance at being named the winning pitcher. Just like his previous two starts, Chavez’ offense rallied in its last at-bat to give the Athletics (9-4) a win. The A’s, owners of the best record in the American League, triumphed in their starter’s previous two efforts in extra innings.

Backed by a pinch-hit, two-run home run by John Jaso in the top of the ninth inning, Oakland stole a 3-2 come-from-behind victory to open up a three-game series against the Angels (6-7)at Angel Stadium. Yoenis Cespedes also homered, deposed closer Jim Johnson (1-2, 9.95 ERA) pitched a scoreless eighth inning for his first win in green and gold and Luke Gregerson’s one-two-three ninth-inning save closed the door.

Chavez struggled in the bottom of the first, surrendering a two-strike single to leadoff hitter Kole Calhoun. The lefty caught phenom Mike Trout watching a nasty curveball for strike three, but Calhoun had already advanced to second when miscommunication between catcher Derek Norris and Chavez resulting in a passed ball earlier in the at-bat. Albert Pujols laced a single through the left side to plate Calhoun for a 1-0 lead.

Chavez cruised through the rest of his appearance, pitching seven innings, surrendering four hits and only one earned run on nine strikeouts. The lone earned run came off the bat of Pujols who crushed a homer to center field in the third inning, his 496th long ball of his career. Pujols now moves into lone possession of 26th place on the all-time long fly list.

Angels starter Hector Santiago countered Chavez, pitching seven innings of one-run ball with five hits and three punch-outs. Cespedes’ third homer, a solo shot to right center to make it 2-1 Angels in the fourth inning proved the lone blemish to Santiago’s ERA. The A’s outfielder now has home runs in consecutive games after going yard off Charlie Furbush in the A’s 3-0 win in Seattle Sunday.

The Halos Joe Smith and Oakland’s Johnson pitched scoreless eighths for their respective clubs, opening the door for Jaso’s fireworks in the ninth. Josh Donaldson, owner of a now eight game hitting streak, welcomed Angels closer Ernesto Frieri to the top of the ninth with a single. Cespedes then hit a deep fly out to center for the first out on a 2-2 count. Cespedes had asked for time from home plate Tim Welke, but was denied his request on the pitch. A’s manager Bob Melvin then called on Jaso to pinch hit for Norris after the backstop went 0-for-3 against Santiago.

Last season, Oakland finished dead last in batting average for pinch hitters with 20 hits in 139 substitute at-bats. Jaso entered Monday hitting .200 as a pinch hitter with a lone home run. He turned on a 1-2 offering from Frieri and deposited deep in the right field bleachers to put the A’s ahead 3-2. With Frieri (0-1, 6.75 ERA) lifted after his first blown save of the season, Jose Alvarez finished off the final two-thirds of the ninth.

Melvin tabbed Gregerson to be the closer-by-committee candidate Monday evening, and the right-hander reward his manager with a perfect inning. Gregerson produced ground outs by Ibanez and Howie Kendrick, the latter of which came on a bang-bang play challenged by Angels Manager Mike Scoscia but upheld after replay proved inconclusive to overturn the out call on the field. Gregerson coaxed a fly out from former World Series MVP (then with the St. Louis Cardinals)David Freese to notch his second save of the campaign and pick up the A’s 14th win in their last 20 games at Angel Stadium.

Oakland and Los Angeles faceoff in game two of the three-game set Tuesday night, with Dan Straily (1-1, 2.77 ERA) tabbed by Melvin to take the slab. He’ll be countered by Garret Richards (2-0, 0.75 ERA) who enters play Tuesday with only one earned run allowed over 12 innings.