The Los Angeles Angels plan on releasing future Hall of Fame 1B Albert Pujols, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reported Thursday afternoon. Pujols is in the final season of a 10-year, $253 million deal he signed with the Angels back in December of 2011. Pujols has 5 HRs and 12 RBI but is batting below .200 in 24 games this season for the Halos. The Angels have Jared Walsh to play first base with Pujols off the roster. Walsh is having a solid 2021, batting .333 with 6 HRs and 22 RBI in 99 ABs.
Update: Word from MLB reporter Jon Heyman is that Pujols wants to continue playing and not retire. He knew his playing time with the Angels was going to decrease, which led to the decision for the Halos to let him go.
Feinsand suggest the Chicago White Sox are a good landing spot for Pujols. White Sox manager Tony La Russa and Pujols are familiar with each other from 2001-2011. The White Sox also could use another bat with Luis Robert sidelined for the next 3-4 months.
Pujols should draw some interest on the open market from teams looking to add a veteran bat. The New York Yankees come to mind as a potential landing spot for the 3-time MVP. Pujols could serve as a decent DH or backup 1B with the Yankees lacking depth after Jay Bruce decided to retire. Luke Voit has also be sidelined due to injury but is expected to return to the lineup soon. Mike Ford is the only other player outside of DJ LeMahieu who can play first base.
We’re sure to see other teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and San Diego Padres looking to add Pujols to rosters looking to compete. If Pujols decides to hang ‘em up and retire, he’ll likely be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The former St. Louis Cardinal is arguably the best hitter of our generation. He’d finish his career with 3,253 hits, which ranks 13th all-time. At 667 career HRs, Pujols ranks 5th all-time, just ahead of Willie Mays, whose birthday is today actually, and right behind Alex Rodriguez at 696.
Other accolades include a Rookie of the Year award back in 2001 with the Cards. Pujols is a 6-time Silver Slugger winner, he won a batting title in 2003, he was named NLCS MVP in 2004 after hitting 4 HRs with 9 RBI in 7 games vs. the Houston Astros. Pujols was a 10-time All-Star and two-time World Champion.