The Los Angeles Angels made a surprise move last Thursday by releasing future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols. According to multiple reports, Pujols and the Angels management team had been in talks for weeks about a possible release (Bleacher Report). The Angels are intent on getting new young first baseman Jared Walsh more at bats, which left Pujols disappointed with his lack of playing time.
The 41-year old Pujols is considered one of the greatest right-handed hitters in MLB history. Surely there is a fit out there somewhere for the 3-time MVP and 10-time All Star. Here are three teams that may sign Pujols and give him a chance to leave the game on his own terms.
It would be the most Billy Beane-type move ever if the A’s can sign Pujols. Beane was made famous for essentially creating a strategy called ‘Moneyball’, where teams often capitalize by signing aging veteran players at a cheap price. The A’s are currently in first place in the American League West division but have gotten lackluster performance (under .200 batting average) out of their DH position so far this season.
Pujols has made a boatload of cash (well over 300 million dollars) during his Major League career so the A’s could potentially sign him on the cheap. If the 41-year old Pujols wants to go to a playoff contender who would let him play everyday, the A’s may be the best overall choice.
Tampa Bay Rays
Last year’s American League champs are struggling to find some offense so far in 2021. A power-hitting DH like Pujols could be just the ticket to get the Rays back on track. Pujols has scuffled some in 2021, but he still has lots of home run potential as evidenced by his five homers so far.
The Rays have been terrible this year at hitting left-handed pitching. This is another strength of Pujols as three of his five homers this year have come against lefties. Pujols’s batting average this season against lefties is almost 90 points higher than against right-handers.
Chicago White Sox
The best fit for Pujols may end up being with his former manager, Tony La Russa. Pujols played for La Russa for several seasons during his glory days with the St. Louis Cardinals, and together they won a couple of World Series titles. The White Sox are suffering a severe lack of power at the plate, as they rank 28th out of 30 teams in home runs in 2021.
Pujols would add some much needed punch to the Sox everyday lineup. The Dominican Republic native has 667 career homers and ranks fifth on the all time MLB list behind only Bonds, Aaron, Ruth, and A-Rod. If the White Sox want to contend for the American League Central crown, signing Pujols could prove to be a wise decision.
What about the Cardinals chances of signing Pujols?
While it would definitely make for a wonderful story, the Cardinals will not end up signing Pujols. The Cards have Paul Goldschmidt at first base, and there is no way they would take away at bats from him. Pujols’s best chance at playing everyday is at the DH position, which the St. Louis cannot offer since they are in the National League.