Rumors and trends change quickly, often causing huge surprises. Albert Pujols signing with the Los Angeles Angels on a 10 year deal for $250 million, immediately taking him near the top of Baseball’s highest paid players, was one of those stunners.
After 11 season with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pujols, arguably the best hitter in Baseball for quite some time now, is not only leaving the only club he’s ever played for. He’s leaving the NL for the first time to join the Angels who also completed signing the best available starting pitcher, C.J. Wilson. The Angels immediately look like favorites in the AL West again.
We’ll start with the legacy Pujols is leaving behind. Rookie of the year in 2001, three time MVP and more importantly, two World Series titles, with one coming just over a month ago. Pujols had a disappointing postseason. He hit “only” 99 RBIs while batting .299, the lowest numbers of his career. His OBP, OPS and slugging numbers were also a career low. He still hit 37 home runs though, reaching 445 for his career, 6th among active players and 34th all time.
The last 48 hours were singing a different tune. Pujols looked like one of a number high profile players to make Miami their new home. The Marlins’ new name and money have suddenly made every possible free agent a candidate. Jose Reyes has already signed. Their offer to Pujols fell because the Marlins insisted to keep the trading him in the future an option. After all, at 31, after 11 productive years, you can expect a drop.
The ball rolled back to the Cardinals, with the best chance suddenly to keep the player. Their offer wasn’t bad, to say the least. Something around nine years, $190 million. Pujols wanted the decade deal and the no trade clause. The Angels’ $250 million was more than enough to persuade him. The Cardinals’ offer would have made Pujols the fourth highest paid 1B in the Majors. The Angels made him the highest paid.