Add Pedro Martinez to the list of major figures around baseball who have expressed disappointment with the Los Angeles Angels’ decision to release Albert Pujols on Thursday.
Martinez reacted strongly after it was announced that the Angels had designated the three-time MVP for assignment. The former Boston Red Sox ace labeled the Angels’ move “shameful” in a tweet praising Pujols as “one of the best in the game.”
Pujols, 41, indisputably is one of the great hitters in MLB history, and is locked in a three-way slugfest with Manny Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera as the greatest right-handed masher of his generation. Still, he’s never quite been the player in Anaheim, Calif., that he was with the St. Louis Cardinals, and despite an All-Star Game selection and some decent home run and RBI totals with the Angels, the 10-year deal he signed in 2011 turned out to be an unwise investment.
Even with less than five months remaining on that contract, the Angels likely determined they couldn’t afford to be patient any longer, as they have slid to the bottom of the American League West standings. Matters came to a head when Pujols wasn’t in the lineup to face a left-handed starter on Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Mike DiGiovanna.
Martinez wasn’t the only ex-Red Sox great to speak up, however. David Ortiz also lamented Pujols being cut, saying on social media in two different languages that Pujols deserved to go out on his own terms.
Now, Pujols is free to sign elsewhere — if any team wants him. He’s obviously far removed from his prime, but he could be a cheap acquisition. Aside from whatever that team would pay him, the Angels would be on the hook for the remainder of his salary.