Albert Pujols, the power-hitting first baseman who led the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series championship this fall, is headed to the Los Angeles Angels next year, leaving behind the history-steeped franchise where he became a baseball legend. The three-time National League MVP has agreed to a 10-year contract with the Angels that's worth roughly $255 million. Signing one of the greatest sluggers in baseball history may seem like a no-brainer for the middle-of-the-road franchise, but some critics think the Angels may have shot themselves in the foot by signing a 31-year-old player to such a long, expensive contract. Will the Angels big "get" turn into a liability?
This is a "terrible move" for the Angels: Ten years is far too long to be committed to an aging player, says Adam Wells at Bleacher Report. Pujols is 31 — no spring chicken in the baseball world — and is already showing signs of decline. He's "no longer head and shoulders above everyone else like he was four or five years ago." The Angels have committed to one day pay a 40-year-old $25 million a year to play what's sure to be mediocre baseball. These lengthy contracts "never work out for the team." What a "disaster."
"Why Albert Pujols to Los Angeles will be 10-year disaster for Angels"
Are you kidding? Pujols is heaven-sent: It's about time the Angels finally "hit one out of the park," says Bill Plaschke at the Los Angeles Times. Pujols may be the only player powerful enough to make the Angels popular again. The contract may seem excessive, but in this market, "Pujols is worth every penny." The franchise has only appeared in one World Series, and missed the playoffs the past two years. Pujols will undoubtedly make them contenders again. And with enough starpower to put the team back on the nation's radar, Pujols won't just make the Angels great, but relevant, too.
"Angels hit it out of park with Albert Pujols signing"
Forget the Angels. This will hurt Pujols: The beloved slugger just proved that he's no better than "any other big-name player looking to cash in with a massive payday," says Michael Hurley at the New England Sports Network. In the past, Pujols came off as one of the league's few truly respectable players, "more likely to talk about his wife and his faith than he is a new Ferrari." Now he's ditching that "picture-perfect image." The number of fans who will root against him has "multiplied at an uncalculable rate," and his contract will be mocked mercilessly upon his every error. And in the end, he "brought that all onto himself."
"Albert Pujols chases the money, proves he's no better than any big-money free agent"