Thursday, December 2News That Matters

Albert Pujols Is Designated for Assignment by Angels

“But that passion is always going to be there. I’m going to keep it simple: You don’t retire, the game retires you. The game lets you know when it’s time for you to walk out, and that’s how I look at it. The day that I feel I can’t compete anymore — it doesn’t matter how much money I’ve got left on my contract, that’s not who I am — I think it’s time to walk out.”

He still doesn’t think it is time. At a virtual news conference in Anaheim on Thursday, club officials said they made the move because Jared Walsh had taken over at first base and Shohei Ohtani at designated hitter, leaving no place for Pujols. But another team may bite.

“Albert is not a bench player,” General Manager Perry Minasian said, adding later: “He’s as motivated as he’s ever been. I think if there were at-bats for him to play here, it’d be different, Let me put it this way: If he does go somewhere else and pursue playing somewhere else, I would not bet against him.”

One obvious landing spot for Pujols could be the Chicago White Sox, whose manager, Tony La Russa, reveres Pujols from their years together in St. Louis. The White Sox also need a right-handed power hitter after losing Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert to injuries.

Pujols has hit five homers this season, but with a .198 average and .250 on-base percentage, he served no real purpose for the struggling Angels. Yet dumping him did not sit well with the Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, who tweeted to Pujols that he was “not surprised about the shameful way @Angels treated you and your legacy today.”

Minasian, who took over in November, insisted that the team and Pujols had acted professionally.

“There was no fight, there was no argument,” Minasian said. “This was a conversation that went back and forth. He expressed his feelings, we expressed ours, he understood where we stood on the whole situation. Things did not end bad. I gave him a big hug. Big fan of the guy, I love what he’s all about. The mentality is second to none.”