The Los Angeles Angels designated slumping veteran Albert Pujols for assignment on Thursday.
The 41-year-old Pujols was batting just .198 and slugging .372 through 24 games of his 21st major league season. Making $30 million this season, Pujols has five home runs and 12 RBIs.
The first baseman/designated hitter has 3,253 hits, 667 homers and 2,112 RBIs during a career in which he won three National League MVP awards during 11 seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals. The 10-time All-Star joined the Angels after the 2011 season and was in the final season of a 10-year, $240 million contract.
"The Angels Organization proudly signed Albert Pujols in 2011, and are honored that he has worn an Angels jersey for nearly half of his Hall-of-Fame Career," Angels owner Arte Moreno said in a statement. "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."
The struggling Pujols has been unable to get untracked and apparently the breaking point was reached Wednesday when he wasn't in the lineup against the Tampa Bay Rays.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Pujols was peeved that he was on the bench against Tampa Bay left-hander Ryan Yarbrough and that the decision came from the front office and not manager Joe Maddon. Pujols is 6-for-9 with two homers, two doubles and seven RBIs against Yarbrough.
Overall, Pujols' tenure with the Angels wasn't as productive as his time in St. Louis. He made the American League All-Star team just once (in 2015) and hit 222 homers, compared to 445 for St. Louis.
His 40 homers in 2015 were his high with the Angels, but he topped that mark six times with St. Louis and never hit fewer than 32. Pujols' second-highest output with the Angels was 31.
Pujols ranks fifth on the all-time homers list but has hit just 76 since the end of the 2016 season. He also is tied for the fourth most homers in Angels history, and ranks fifth in RBIs (783) and ninth in hits (1,180).
Owner of a .298 career average, Pujols' RBI total trails only legendary Hank Aaron (2,297). He also has hit into a record 403 double plays.
Pujols won World Series rings with the Cardinals in 2006 and 2011. He hit three homers in 2011 when the Cardinals beat the Texas Rangers in seven games.
Overall, Pujols has slugged 19 postseason homers.
Pujols had been undecided about playing past the 2021 season.
--Field Level Media