MLB

Pujols headed to Angels in megadeal

Share This Story

Ken Rosenthal

Ken Rosenthal has been the FOXSports.com's Senior MLB Writer since August 2005. He appears weekly on MLB on FOX, FOX Sports Radio and MLB Network. He's a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter.

MORE>>
 
   
 

DALLAS

Are you sitting down?

The Los Angeles Angels shocked the baseball world Thursday morning, reaching an agreement with free-agent first baseman Albert Pujols on a 10-year contract that will be worth $254 million. The deal is the second highest in baseball history, behind Alex Rodriguez’s 10-year, $275 million deal.

''This is a monumental day for Angel fans and I could not be more excited,'' Angels owner Arte Moreno said.

And the Angels didn't stop there.

C.J. Wilson agreed to a five-year, $77.5 million contract with the Angels later Thursday, a major-league source told FOXSports.com, joining the organization on the same morning the Pujols signing rocked baseball.

The Cardinals and a third, unspecified club also bid for Pujols. The Angels did not enter the sweepstakes until late Tuesday night. Approximately 36 hours later, they signed one of the great hitters in major league history.

Pujols, 31, will receive a full no-trade clause — something the Miami Marlins did not offer before their pursuit of him ended on Wednesday.

Pujols had spent all 11 of his major league seasons with the Cardinals, hitting .338 with 445 home runs and 1,329 RBIs to become a franchise icon second only to Stan Musial. He is fourth in career slugging percentage at .617, trailing only Hall of Famers Babe Ruth (.690), Ted Williams (.634) and Lou Gehrig (.632).

Pujols' numbers in nearly every major offensive category are on a three-year decline. He had his poorest season in 2011 and at 31 is likely to spend the majority of his career with the Angels at designated hitter rather than first base.

LONG HAUL

Take a look at which players landed baseball's lengthiest contracts.

''We understand that players will go through peaks and valleys of sort,'' new Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said. ''Albert has spent many years operating at peak, and if we want to call a decline going from superhuman to just great, I don't think we've seen the last great days of Albert Pujols, obviously, or we wouldn't be sitting here today.''

Some have speculated he is older than his listed age. ''Albert Pujols' age to me is not a concern,'' Dipoto said. ''I'm not a scientist. I can't (say) where he is, but I can tell you he hits like he's 27.''

St. Louis also offered the slugger a 10-year deal, but he chose to leave the Gateway City for the freeway life.

''We are disappointed,'' Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said. ''I would like our fans to know that we tried our best to make Albert a lifetime Cardinal but unfortunately we were unable to make it happen.''

The Angels, who finished 10 games behind pennant-winning Texas in the AL West, made the move as the financially troubled Los Angeles Dodgers are in the process of being sold by Frank McCourt in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, a deal that could give the region's NL team a new, wealthy owner. The Dodgers could aggressively bid for talent a year from now, giving them a boost in the regional competition for fans' attention.

''Winning breeds interest, and we are setting ourselves up to start next season with an opportunity to get good,'' Dipoto said.

CASH COWS

See which MLB stars earn the highest annual salaries, who's in the $150 million club and who makes the most at each position.

Pujols led the Cardinals to a seven-game World Series victory over Wilson's Rangers, his second title with the team in the last six seasons. He also had been pursued by the Miami Marlins, but they dropped out Wednesday after agreeing to a deal with left-hander Mark Buehrle that raised their free agent-spending to $191 million for three players following deals with closer Heath Bell and shortstop Jose Reyes. The Angels and Marlins committed $522.5 million to just five free agents.

''I think baseball needs to have a steroid-testing policy for owners,'' said Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economics professor at Smith College.

Pujols agreed in 2004 to a $100 million, seven-year contract, a deal that - with a 2011 option and bonuses - wound up paying him $112.55 million over eight years.

''He left a pretty good impact over there. I don't think fans will soon forget what his contributions were,'' said former Cardinals manager and star Joe Torre, now an executive with Major League Baseball. ''I still think the St. Louis fans are going to be more appreciative than angry.''

Pujols' agent, Dan Lozano, split off last year from the Beverly Hills Sports Council to form his own agency, and Pujols' negotiations seemed like an attempt to surpass A-Rod's landmark $252 million contract, agreed to at the same hotel 11 years earlier.

Pujols rejected a multiyear extension last offseason that was said to include a small percentage of the franchise. He cut off negotiations on the first day of spring training.

''This is a footprint contract, because it follows the footprint laid by other great players,'' said agent Scott Boras, who negotiated Rodriguez's deals. ''Putting a hitter like Albert Pujols in a big market, where he can be a DH, I think it's a win-win for everybody.''

Pujols hit 37 home runs last season, running his 30-homer streak to 11 years, and batted .299 with 99 RBIs. He led the Cardinals' improbable late-season surge and became only the third player to hit three home runs in a World Series game following Ruth and Reggie Jackson.

TRUE COURAGE

Some athletes are best remembered for heroic actions off the field.

Reaction around the major leagues was swift.

''For 2012, two wilds cards and no Albert Pujols. I'm happy,'' said Sandy Alderson, general manager of the Cardinals' NL rival New York Mets.

Said former Cardinals GM Walt Jocketty, now GM of the NL Central rival Cincinnati Reds: ''I'm a little surprised, I guess. I really thought he'd go back to St. Louis. It's certainly good for our division.''

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Tagged: Angels, White Sox, Rangers, Cardinals, Marlins, Mark Buehrle, Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson

More Stories From Ken Rosenthal

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Bautista talks Derek Jeter's final All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Jose Bautista discusses Derek Jeter's career and his final appearance in the MLB...

Jeter honored to play in last All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Derek Jeter compares his first All-Star Game experience with his last, Mike Trou...

Matheny defends Wainwright: He's out there to compete Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Mike Matheny comments on the media's reaction to Adam Wainwright's joke about le...

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..