Albert Pujols designated for assignment by Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels announced major news on Thursday.
The designation came in the final year of a 10-year, $240 million contract he signed with the Angels in 2011.
A career .298 hitter, the 41-year-old Pujols was hitting a career-low .198 in 24 games this season. He had 17 hits, five of which were home runs, and 12 RBIs in 86 at-bats.
Angels owner Arte Moreno thanked Pujols in a statement, saying:
"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. 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 throughout the world. We are thankful to the entire Pujols Family."
In his 10 years with the Angels, Pujols hit .256 with 222 home runs and an OPS of .758, making the All-Star Game in 2015.
Prior to joining the Angels, Pujols tore apart the league with the St. Louis Cardinals. In 11 years in St. Louis, he hit 445 home runs with a .328 batting average and 1.037 OPS.
Aside from 2002, the longtime first baseman made the All-Star team every year of his Cardinals career and was named the National League's Most Valuable Player three times.
His first MVP came in 2005, then he won the honor on back-to-back occasions in 2008 and 2009.
Pujols also won two World Series with the Cardinals, in 2006 and 2011.
Interestingly, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, Pujols was upset he wasn't in the Angels lineup to face the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night.
Pujols enjoyed success in the past against Rays pitcher Ryan Yarbrough, who was scheduled to pitch the bulk of the game, but Pujols was relegated to the bench.
As for what's next for Pujols, MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported that Pujols still wants to play.
That could explain why the Angels opted to designate him for assignment, rather than the slugger outright retiring.
But as Heyman also noted, options for Pujols could be limited.
However, MLB Network's Mark Feinsand suggested that perhaps the Chicago White Sox — and a reunion with former longtime Cardinals manager Tony La Russa — could be a possibility.
If this is indeed the end of Pujols' career, he'll finish with 3,253 hits, No. 14 on the all-time list and two hits shy of tying Eddie Murray for 13th.
Here's how social media reacted to Thursday's news:
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