MLB

Los Angeles Angels designate slugger Albert Pujols for assignment

By Sports Desk May 06, 2021

Albert Pujols' 10-year stint with Los Angeles Angles is over after the franchise surprisingly designated the future Hall of Fame slugger for assignment on Thursday.

The oldest active player in the majors at 41 years old, Pujols popped out to first in his final at-bat with the Angels in Tuesday's ninth inning before sitting out Wednesday in the club's fourth straight loss. 

He is batting a mere .198 this season, though has homered five times and is fourth on the Angels with 12 RBIs.

'"The Angels organization proudly signed Albert Pujols in 2011, and are honoured that he has worn an Angels jersey for nearly half of his Hall of Fame career,'" Angels owner Arte Moreno said in a statement.

"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. 

"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."

One of the greatest sluggers in baseball history, Pujols' 667 home runs rank fifth while his 669 doubles are also fifth-most of all time. 

Only Hank Aaron has more RBIs than Pujols' 2,112 since it became an official statistic in 1920, and Pujols is 13th on the all-time hits list with 3,253.

While he is a sure-fire Hall of Famer, much of his production came in the first half of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals.

A unanimous NL Rookie of the Year Award winner in 2001 when he hit .329 with 37 home runs and 130 RBIs, Pujols made his first of nine All-Star selections with the Cardinals.

In his 11 seasons in St. Louis, Pujols won three NL MVP Awards and finished in the top five in voting seven other times. 

He led the Cardinals to two World Series championships, one other NL pennant and six division crowns.

He left St. Louis after helping the Cardinals win the 2011 World Series to sign a 10-year, $240 million contract with Los Angeles in a move that has served as a cautionary tale for franchises considering giving long-term deals to players on the wrong side of 30 years old.

After slugging 445 home runs with 455 doubles while slashing .328/.420/.617 for a 1.037 OPS in 1,705 games over 11 seasons with the Cardinals, Pujols never lived up to expectations over 10 seasons with the Angels, hitting 222 homers with 214 doubles with a .256/.311/.447 slash line for a .758 OPS in 1,181 games.

His production dropped off significantly in the past four seasons, with 53 homers and a .239/.290/.414 slash line for a .704 OPS in 311 games.

He only earned one trip to the All-Star game since joining Los Angeles and the franchise made just one postseason appearance, getting swept by the Kansas City Royals in the 2014 American League Division Series.

Pujols is making $30 million in salary this season, and should another team pick him up after he clears waivers, the Angels still would owe him the rest of his $30 million.

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