The Los Angeles Angels have made a very surprising move on one of the best players in MLB history. On Thursday, the Angels announced they had released Albert Pujols after joining the team in 2012. He is in the final year of the 10-year, $240 million contract.
Pujols has played 21 MLB seasons with the Angels and the St. Louis Cardinals. The 41-year-old has compiled a career batting average of .298 with 667 career home runs, the fifth-best total in MLB history. Pujols also has 3,253 hits which rank 14th all time. So far this season, Pujols has hit .198 with five home runs in 24 games this season.
"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 around the world. We are thankful to the entire Pujols family."
It was reported in February that Pujols could retire after the 2021 season. There was also speculation about Pujols making a retirement announcement after his wife teased it on an Instagram post, which was quickly edited.
"Today is the first day of the last season (based on his contract) of one of the most remarkable careers in sports!" Pujols' wife Deidre wrote in the Instagram post. "I’m talking about my husband [Albert Pujols] who since the time he was a child would eat, sleep, and breath (sic) this sport. I have had the privilege to walk out 23 years of this baseball journey, and it is with such a full heart that I speak a blessing over him as he finishes this good race!” Part of Pujols' contract includes a 10-year, $10 million personal services contract he can choose if he does call it a career." Pujols was a member of the Cardinals from 2001-2011. He won the NL MVP award three times with the Cardinals and helped the team win two World Series titles.