Los Angeles Angels: Mike Trout can’t become leader until Albert Pujols is gone
It’s time for the Los Angeles Angels to finally admit they made a huge mistake with the signing of Albert Pujols and move on. Pujols is a still a serviceable player but the Angels thought they were getting the St. Louis Cardinals version, instead, they have received the Carl Pavano version of his time with the New York Yankees.
Pujols was Mike Trout long before the young stud burst onto the scene. Baseball is not an individual sport, but Pujols was that one player that you could offer an argument on in terms of carrying a team on his shoulders. This is the reason the Angels offered up that massive 10 yr/$240M contract.
But what have they gotten in return?[embedit snippet=”2″]
Stats and nothing else. During his time in Los Angels, Pujols has batted .266 with 146 home runs, 488 RBIs in 721 games. Not bad considering he will be 37 before the 2017 season starts but now it’s time for the Angels to look elsewhere. While his run production stats are still good, he’s struck out on the one stat that matters most. Postseason hits. Since Pujols arrived in Los Angeles the Angels have made the playoffs just once.
To put all the blame on his shoulders may seem unfair but, we must remember that $240M comes with responsibilities. Trout is young and may have time to wash off the stink of failure but Pujols is still living off of the glory days of his Cardinals years. It’s time the Angels pull him into the office and inform him they are looking for trade partners so they can move forward with their future.
As long as he’s on the team the Angels will score runs and hit homers but they will continue to miss the playoffs as well. But, the bigger question is; “is there any team willing to take on that contract”?
The Yankees are no longer that team willing to take on a player regardless, they have seemed to smarten up as they look to rebuild. This is the stance the Angels must take. Their best bet may be to put in a call to the Boston Red Sox to see if they want a rental for the next 2-3 seasons. What makes the Angels situation worse is that the contract runs through 2022. What did the Angels do?
If there’s a team willing to take Pujols on, the Angels still will be in a financial bind. There’s no team willing to take on the remaining salary which will force the Angles to eat a large chunk. Is it worth it? Yes.
Trout needs this as much as the Angels do. For as great as he is, he has managed to fly under the radar when it comes to the team’s lack of success because the majority of the blame can be tossed at the veteran Pujols. Until Pujols leaves, Trout will never know what it’s like to carry that leadership burden.