Angels Designate Albert Pujols For Assignment

1:05pm: The Angels formally announced that Pujols has been designated for assignment. The DFA is largely a formality, as Pujols and the remainder of his $30MM salary will go unclaimed on waivers. It’s possible the Halos could work out some kind of trade where they effectively eat all of that remaining salary, but a release is most likely.

“The Angels organization proudly signed Albert Pujols in 2011, and are honored that he was worn an Angels jersey for nearly half of his Hall-of-Fame career,” owner Arte Moreno said in a statement announcing the move. “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.”

12:51pm: The Angels will release first baseman/designated hitter Albert Pujols today, reports’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). He’s in the final season of his historic 10-year contract.

It’s a shocking end to one of the largest contracts in Major League history, although from a pure performance standpoint, it’s hard to fault the move. The 41-year-old Pujols has connected on five homers in 2021 but is batting just .198/.250/.372 overall. He’s drawn only two unintentional walks in his 92 trips to the plate this season. The results in 2020 were similarly disappointing, and Pujols has an overall .214/.263/.387 line across his past 255 plate appearances.

Pujols’ fit on the Angels has become increasingly difficult, given Shohei Ohtani’s flat-out excellence at the plate and the emergence of slugger Jared Walsh. The 26-year-old Ohtani is batting .264/.316/.623 with nine home runs through 114 plate appearances. Walsh, a former 37th-round pick, has built upon last year’s surprise production with a ridiculous .333/.412/.576 line in 114 plate appearances, bringing his overall output dating back to last year to a robust .313/.369/.611 in 222 plate appearances.

Even with Pujols forced into action at first base, this is a stunning development. Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times reports that Pujols was unhappy not only with the fact that he was benched against Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough last night — against whom he is 6-for-9 with a pair of homers in his career — but that the decision to sit him was made by the front office rather than by manager Joe Maddon. The extent to which that purported frustration contributed to today’s move isn’t clear.

More to come.

from MLB Trade Rumors

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