Los Angeles Angels star Albert Pujols released after nine seasons with the team


Kevin Ward

Pujols steps to the plate for at bat for the Angels. Photo credits: Kevin Ward is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Angels have released 10-time all-star Albert Pujols after nine seasons with the team. 

Pujols signed with the Angels as a free agent in December 2011. His contract was for 10 seasons, and $240 million, the biggest in franchise history to that point. He’s a 10-time all-star but made the all-star team just once with the Angels, a statistic that epitomizes his time there. 

Pujols has played 21 seasons, spending the first 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. He won two World Series titles in St. Louis and three MVP awards as well. He had a career .328 batting average during his 11 seasons with the team and hit 445 home runs. 

During his first nine seasons, he hit for a .256 average. This season, he was hitting .198 before his release. 

His release from the team made sense as the Angels were paying him $30 million to be a part-time player at best. While this was the final year of his contract, fans anticipated Pujols to have the proper send-off he rightfully deserves. 

“I was disappointed when I heard the news because he is one of the best to ever play the game,” said Chico State junior Carl Hudson. “As a Cardinals fan, I loved watching him growing up and he’s a reason I love the sport of baseball so much. I wish he had a better ending if this is it.” 

To say Pujols’ time in Los Angeles has been underwhelming would be an understatement considering the start he had to his career and the contract he signed with them. However, he has still been one of the most popular players in baseball and been a cornerstone for the organization. 

Pujols rounds second. Photo credits: bk1bennett is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

“I would have thought both parties would have wanted a more amicable parting of ways,” said Chico State baseball head coach Dave Taylor. “Albert did a lot for that organization off the field, and I think the fans deserved to give him the proper send-off, regardless if it was a retirement or a release.” 

The decision to release Pujols was made easier for the Angels based on the early play of rookie Jared Walsh. He has taken over as the everyday first baseman and has Angels fans excited to watch him grow and develop.

“I thought it was tough at first because he’s one of the greatest players of all time,” said Chico State first baseman Willie Lajoie, “but I think it is good now though because Jared Walsh is incredible at first base. We definitely needed someone new over there to switch the vibes up.” 

The release does not mean Pujols career is over. However, it is unlikely that a team will sign him this season. So far there have only been four teams rumored to have interest in Pujols. At age 41, Pujols is practically a designated hitter and pinch-hits late in games. If Pujols is unable to put on a jersey again, a future Hall of Famer will step away from the game and await his call to Cooperstown.

Jacob Milligan can be found at [email protected] or @champ_milly8 on Twitter.