Albert Pujols plans to honor his 10-year, $10-million personal-services contract with the Angels despite owner Arte Moreno’s intentions of selling the team and the disappointing end to the slugger’s nine-plus-year tenure in Anaheim.
“He plans on fulfilling all of it,” said a person familiar with Pujols’ thinking but not authorized to speak publicly about it. “He’s excited to see who the new owner is.”
Pujols’ Hall of Fame-worthy, 22-year career came to a close Saturday night when his St. Louis Cardinals were swept by the Philadelphia Phillies in a National League wild-card series.
Pujols, 42, announced in spring training that he would retire after this season and reiterated several times this summer that he would not change his mind despite his strong second-half finish.
Pujols hit his 700th home run at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 23 to join Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) in baseball’s exclusive 700 Homer Club. He singled sharply to left field in his final at-bat in the Cardinals’ 2-0 loss at Busch Stadium on Saturday night.
Pujols hit .328 with a 1.037 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, 445 homers, 2,073 hits, 455 doubles and 1,329 RBIs in St. Louis from 2001 to 2011, winning three NL most valuable player awards and leading the Cardinals to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011.
He signed a 10-year, $240-million deal with the Angels before 2012, and though he notched his 3,000th hit and 500th and 600th homers as an Angel, his tenure in Anaheim was marked by a dramatic drop in production, a series of lower-body injuries, one postseason appearance in 2014 and zero playoff wins.
Pujols hit .256 with a .758 OPS, 222 homers and 783 RBIs in 1,181 games with the Angels and was released in May 2021.
He rejuvenated his career with a strong five-month stint with the Dodgers and returned this season to St. Louis, where he hit .270 with an .895 OPS, 24 homers and 68 RBIs.
His personal-services contract with the Angels is with the team, not Moreno, who announced in August that he was exploring a sale of the team after 20 years of ownership.
Angels general manager Perry Minasian said Thursday that the team “absolutely” wants Pujols to fulfill the personal-services contract and that he would be “a great asset for myself to have in this organization.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.