By Craig Phelps

St. Louis, Mo – The best player in baseball history and, more importantly to St. Louis, the second best player in Cardinals history, topped only by Stan Musial, will be heading to the west coast, according to multiple reports from ESPN and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Albert Pujols is heading to the Los Angeles Angels.

After saying time and time again that it’s not about the money, after saying he just wants to win, after saying he wants to be the best player in not just baseball, but Cardinals history, Pujols’s deal is signing a 10 year, $250 million contract with a full no-trade clause.

With the Angels being an American League team, this appears to be a better long-term fit for Albert considering the fact that he can become a designated hitter in the later parts of his career.

The deal that the Cardinals offered Pujols was rumored to be around the $220 million mark, a difference of $30 million over the course of the contract.  The Cardinals signed Lance Berkman to a one year, $12 million extension during the regular season.  This will allow the Cardinals to keep an impact player at first base with Allen Craig patrolling right field while minor league first baseman prospect Matt Adams grows another year in Springfield and/or Memphis.  Craig has been having problems with his knees having surgery to repair his fractured right kneecap prior to Thanksgiving.

Adams hit .300 with 32 home runs and 101 RBI’s in 115 game and 463 at bats for the Springfield Redbirds last season.

Albert Pujols had the worst season of his career this past season and has been trending downward over the past three years.

In 2009 Pujols hit .327 with 47 homeruns, 135 RBI’s, .443 on-base percentage, and a .658 slugging percentage with 124 runs scored.  In 2010 those numbers dropped to a .312 batting average, 42 homeruns, 188 RBI’s, .414 OBP, and a .596 slugging percentage with 115 runs scored.  This past season, those numbers went to an even lower level with a .299 average with 37 homeruns, 99 RBI’s, .366 OBP, and a .541 slugging percentage with 105 runs scored.

The 2011 season will mark the first year that Pujols hit less than 100 RBI’s, hit under .299, just the second time he had an on-base percentage under .400,  and his third lowest runs scored total in his career.

This deal will place Pujols as the highest paid first baseman in baseball today.

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