Thursday, December 8, 2011
BREAKING NEWS: Albert Pujols to sign with Anaheim Angels
Albert Pujols, one of the most feared sluggers in baseball history, one many believe can legitimately challenge Hank Aaron's homerun record (yes I said Hank Aaron's record), is taking his talents to the West Coast. Long the face of the St. Louis Cardinals, recently leading them to a 2011 World Series title, Pujols decided to take the $250 million and run.
Pujols free agent status was an underlying storyline throughout the 2011 season, made more intriguing because Albert refused to negotiate or talk about his contract status once the season started. Pujols was seeking a 10-year contract, one which St. Louis was hesitant to give to a 31-year old player.
The shocking thing about this deal is that the Angels were not a player in the Pujols sweepstakes until 48 hours ago according to reports. As far as I knew it was only the newly minted Miami Marlins offering the 10 year deal with St. Louis reluctantly adding the extra year to their initial 9-year offer. The Marlins, who already locked up former Mets star Jose Reyes, offer was upwards of $220 million. The Angels trumped everyone apparently.
The last 10-year contract went to Alex Rodriguez when the Yankees locked him up for $275 million. It was Rodriguez who broke the bank when he signed with the Texas Rangers for $252 million over 10 years. Rodriguez of course admitted to using performance enhancing drugs during his time in Texas. No such cloud of suspicion hovers over Albert Pujols.
This deal changes the landscape of both leagues a la LeBron James taking his talents to South Beach. The Angels already had a roster of All-Star hitters on the other side of their careers in Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells. They now add the best hitter in the league to a city that includes the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. The Angels are trying to keep up with the Texas Rangers who have made back to back World Series appearances. Pujols' signing is a great start.