Angels Were Right To Release Albert Pujols | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com
Baseball fans were surprised last Thursday when the Los Angeles Angels released future Hall of Fame first baseman/DH Albert Pujols. The news drew reaction from friends of Pujols, including another Hall of Famer, Pedro Martinez, who called the treatment of the player by the team “shameful.” I’m here to tell you why Pedro Martinez has no right to be upset with the Angels, because other than his personal respect for his friend, the team did the right thing last week.
Albert Pujols had Hall of Fame credentials even before signing his 10-year, $240 Million contract with the Los Angeles Angels. Yet, despite being teamed up with another future Hall of Fame player, Mike Trout, the Angels have played a total of three postseason games in the nine seasons Pujols was one the team. Not exactly a great return on their investment.
Last week the Angels had a five-game losing streak, dropping them into last place in the American League West, with the fifth game coming on Thursday, the final game Pujols spent on their roster. He was hitting .198 with an on-base percentage of just .250. Also, with the better play of Jared Walsh at first base and the Angels’ desire to play Shohei Otani as designated hitter when he is not starting games as a pitcher, playing time for Pujols was trending towards limited at best. Which is something that, according to reports, the former Cardinals player wasn’t happy about. This perfect storm of events led the Angels to do the best thing for them and their player, release him.
Because of the “farewell tours” afforded Derek Jeter and Chipper Jones as well as other players in other sports, modern athletes have come to expect being able to make one more victory lap around their league when the time to say goodbye has arrived. For the Angels, who clearly made a business decision Thursday night, no such tour was in the offering for Pujols, who, while adding to his Hall of Fame stats, didn’t bring the franchise any of the glory they expected ten years ago.
I would ask Pedro Martinez this: If Albert Pujols is so worthy of being on the Angels’ roster, then why, even before he has cleared waivers and become a free agent, have teams made it clear they don’t have room for them on their rosters?
Pujols’ former manager, Tony La Russa, made it clear Friday the Chicago White Sox will not pursue him, and teams are lining up to announce they don’t have any plans to sign the 41-year-old despite the fact they would only need to pay him a minimum salary. I would also point out to Mr. Martinez that Pujols himself had no interest in being a part-time player despite not being able to produce like one anymore, which contributed to his release.
Are we now expecting teams to not put their best players on the field to sooth the egos of aging veterans? Should every team sign an over-the-hill player to make sure they, too, have their “farewell tour?”
Pedro Martinez, like many fans, is speaking with his heart, something that from time to time is still permitted by members of the media. In this case, however, he is letting those personal feelings get in the way of what he knows is best for both the player and the team, a quick divorce since both are unable to win with the other and can no longer gain anything from their business relationship. Because trust me, if the Angels thought they could use Albert Pujols to put more fans in the stadium and make more money from having him on the roster, they would do it in a second. That’s the reason why Jeter and Jones were able to write their own tickets out of baseball and into the Hall of Fame, but it’s the same reason Albert Pujols was cut loose by the Angels, because the team knew from a business and baseball standpoint, the time had come to say goodbye. As shameful as that may be, it was the right thing for the team to do, period, end of story.
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Angels Were Right To Release Albert Pujols | TooAthletic.com
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