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Angels’ Joe Maddon On Pujols Release: ‘I Don’t Mean For This To Sound Cold’

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Future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, and now manager Joe Maddon is kinda putting the blame on Pujols. Former legends like Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz have spoken out against the Angels for the way this went down, but now we have a response from Maddon.

“It could have been done differently, had it happened in spring training, or even in the last offseason,” Maddon said on the Starkville podcast. “There’s different ways to go about it.”

He goes on to essentially blame Pujols for the Angels making this move.

“Had Albert decided that he did not want to play this year, then you could have possibly avoided this completely.”

“I don’t mean this to sound cold in any way — it’s just the way it is. It was a group decision, based on ascending players that needed opportunity and Albert wanting to play everyday. We just didn’t see that being a mix.”

“There’s no suitable or good way to do this without offending somebody. Divorce is difficult. There’s never a good time to go through the act. Sometimes, it organically just has to occur. Then you have to maybe absorb people that don’t understand it or weren’t there with the boots on the ground.”

Maddon did add that he believes Pujols could be helpful to another team.

“As a DH. I could see him being very beneficial for a group,” he said.

This is the Angels fault

Let’s be clear: this “divorce” Maddon describes was initiated by the Angels organization. When you and a player commit to a 10-year, $241 million deal, you allow that asset to leave the game on his own terms, not yours. The Angels may want to dabble in the free agency waters for a major player some time soon, and now that player will wonder whether he’ll have to endure the same embarrassment Pujols just went through.

If your organization can’t absorb the twilight years of an aging superstar, then your organization just isn’t that good. There’s no need to blame the player for wanting to stick around — the guy gave you ten years of his life and deserved better.

Of course, this Angels organization isn’t necessarily known for transparency. A few years back, they told former Angels outfield Torii Hunter that they didn’t have the money to pay him as a free agent. A month later, they handed free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton a five-year, $125 million deal. That may have been a different GM, but it’s still the same shady behavior. Same energy.

Pujols was batting .198 with five homers and currently stands fifth all-time in career home runs with 667. He’s had an incredible career that deserved a proper send-off. Rather than shifting blame, maybe Joe Maddon should have kept Pujols and said that the Angels can’t win with Pujols on the roster. If so, then maybe the the rest of the team isn’t good enough?

The Angels currently sit in last place of the American League West (16-19), so it looks more like an Angels problem than a Pujols issue. They should have let him walk out on his own terms. If you’re going to stink, at least do it with honor.

Written by Gary Sheffield, Jr

Gary Sheffield Jr is the son of should-be MLB Hall of Famer, Gary Sheffield. He covers basketball and baseball for OutKick.com, chats with the Purple and Gold faithful on LakersNation, and shitposts on Twitter. You can follow him at GarySheffieldJr

5 Comments

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  1. It’s an Arte Moreno problem. Worst free agent signing ever, Moreno should’ve cut bait in 2017 or 2018, but he didn’t want to eat the $90-120 million. That would’ve given Pujols a chance to clunk home with another team. As for this year, the production of Ohtani and Walsh made this a no-brainer. Happens all of the time in the NFL, except Pujols got all of his $$. A well-paid, great human being who’s time had passed.

    • 1000% agree it is an Arte Moreno problem. He became a resentful, bitter, childish tyrant anytime his free agent signing turns sour (see Josh Hamilton). Don’t believe there are many owners who are good human beings in general, but Arte Moreno is probably the worst.

  2. Gary has such a great point. All Angels need to do is to give Pujols the appropriate respect and farewell tour that he deserves. But of course the imbecile Arte Moreno has to get himself involved and the culture is toxic regardless who the manager or the GM is. Karma is real and despite having multiple HOF, Angels stink and will continue to do so with Arte Moreno as an owner.

  3. Gonna have to disagree with you Gary. I really like Pujols but they paid him for his Cardinals numbers and didn’t get Cardinals numbers in return. He got paid 100’s of millions of dollars to wear that Angels uniform and only “deserved” that money a handful of years. Yes he’s an all time great player on the field and by all accounts off the field, but they don’t owe him anything extra. Blame big contracts for past performance but dude us a AAA player at best now. You can’t deny blossoming young players the opportunity to play in favor of a replacement level veteran with severely diminished skills. It’s up to the Cards to sign him to a token contract so he can symbolically finish out his career where he started. Side note: My Indians could use a big right hand bat on the bench.

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