Pujols made the right move to Angels, but the wrong choice

I can’t blame Albert Pujols for taking 10 years, $254 million and a no-trade clause to go to a class organization like the Angels. That being said, he should’ve stayed with the Cardinals.

First I’ll say why it was the right move: When Pujols becomes unable to play the field, the Designated Hitter option will be there. That same option extended Vladimir Guerrero’s career quite a few years. Obviously no matter how much the Cardinals or Marlins offered, they would never be able to let him be a DH.

That’s where the positive aspects end. Here’s why it was the wrong choice:

A few Angels in flux:
There really isn’t a question about the Angels rotation, especially after adding C.J. Wilson to the stable of Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana. However, in the next few years, they’ll have some key players that will be a little too elder to produce. Torii Hunter is the proposed clean-up hitter and his arc is almost to the end.  Vernon Wells and Bobby Abreu are in the same spot. The Angels up-and-comers will fill in the gaps but they had 200 runs less than the AL West Champion Texas Rangers last season. With just a few years left in Pujols’ prime, the Angels need their offense running on all cylinders.

Some Lost Legacy:
I know this doesn’t really mean anything to anyone anymore, but by staying in St. Louis he would’ve been in the same breath as St. Louis greats Stan “The Man” Musial, Bob Gibson and Lou Brock. Don’t get me wrong, he’ll still get his number retired and probably get a statue outside the stadium, but there’s just something special about guys like Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken, Jr. staying on the same team their entire careers. Now Cardinal fans will view him as a sellout until the wounds heal – or forever.

Do you think Pujols tainted his legacy forever in St. Louis by leaving? Let me know your thoughts in the comments:

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Posted on December 9, 2011, in Baseball, Sports and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Very nice and I hope that the Cardinals fans look at all the good he did for St. Louis before they start bashing him to much.

  2. If Cardinal fans view Albert Pujols as a “sellout,” how should they view the organisation that never paid him market value; indeed, that never found a way to make the best player of his generation and maybe several generations anything better than not even being among the top fifteen best-paid players of his time and, perhaps, prime? The Cardinals have been one of the more intelligent organisations in the game, but somewhere, somehow, they never processed the idea that Pujols had already given them one very significant hometown discount and that, somehow, some way, it was time for the Cardinals to find a way to reciprocate. This isn’t just a marquee name with a big bat, this was THE marquee name, perhaps in all baseball.

    How “tainted” can a legacy be when it produces two world champions in six years, as compared to a mere three in the franchise’s previous forty-one seasons? It would have been wonderful to see Pujols play his entire career as a Cardinal, but what was special about people like Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn, Ryne Sandberg (for all intent and purpose he never really was a Phillie), George Brett, and Mike Schmidt staying with the same team their entire careers, when they could have gone elsewhere as free and uncontracted agents, was that their teams made whatever effort necessary to help them make those decisions easier.

    Anyone who thinks Pujols won’t be in the same breaths as Stan Musial or Bob Gibson a) paid very little attention to the man as he played; and, b) forgets that Musial and Gibson played in an era in which players were the next best thing to chattel and management held all the cards (no pun intended), even if the Cardinals’ ownership then and now was more generous overall than many. Musial and Gibson were never allowed to test their true market value in their time. (Gibson, you may remember, retired before the Messersmith-McNally case ended in the end of the reserve clause abuse that allowed owners to control players like chattel.)

    Pujols was, and is, and he saw that, for whatever reason, he wasn’t getting the loyalty from the Cardinals that he had given them. Loyalty, let us never forget, runs both ways. Even while Cardinal fans wake up and knock it off with the LeBron James comparisons, they may care to remind themselves that Pujols took the third most lucrative offer on the table to go to Anaheim.

  3. Well said. Very nice comment.

  4. I agree with much of what you said here. Yes, the DH hitter thing was perhaps a perk, but, as a Cardinal fan myself, it’s a shame that it had to end in him leaving after such a great post-season. St. Louis is a city that is almost entirely devoted to baseball, and, yes, legacy and team-loyalty matter to the fans. He will of course always be remembered as one of our greats, but the “heroic” greatness of Stan The Man will never be matched by Pujols, I think, because there was an entire career devoted to one team. Great article, though!

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