The Los Angeles Angels are red-hot and their $240 million man has almost nothing to do with it.
Albert Pujols hasn’t been the same since leaving the St. Louis Cardinals after the 2011 season, which probably makes his reunion with them that much more difficult.
Something is clearly ailing Pujols. The Angels have won their last seven games, including a sweep of the Detroit Tigers and the Houston Astros, yet Pujols has registered just four hits and two RBIs over the streak. He is batting .247 on the season and is on pace to hit the lowest home run total (26) of his career.
He has been running on the grass down the first base line because it’s easier on his foot and his plantar fasciitis. He is a sitting duck when he reaches base and doesn’t appear completely comfortable in the batter’s box. The fact he won’t admit that some time off may do him some good is a testament to how much he loves the game and feels he owes the city of Los Angeles, so perhaps someone needs to make the decision for him.
The Angels have been playing well lately, and are slowly creeping back into the American League West race and the .500 mark, but Pujols may need to spend a little time on the disabled list if he wants to help his team in the long run.
In 12 MLB seasons prior to this one, he played at least 154 games in all but three of them. Pujols has never had a WAR below 4.6 before this season, but that number currently sits at 0.9. He is on pace to tie his career high in strikeouts, which happened in his first season in the league. It appears the injured version of Pujols isn’t much better than the average replacement level player.
The Angels have to consider the eight years remaining on his hefty contract after this one and think about his future, after all, Pujols isn’t going to take himself out of the lineup.