Albert Pujols signs with Los Angeles Angels, outbidding Marlins and Cardinals

December 8, 2011

Albert Pujols, the former St. Louis Cardinals slugger who played a pivotal role in the 2011 World Series, has reportedly agreed to a multi-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels, who were not widely reported to be in the running to secure his services. As Cindy Boren reported :

The Los Angeles Angels are the winner in the bidding for Albert Pujols, according to a Yahoo report.

Pujols, who will turn 32 in January, has agreed to a 10-year deal worth $250 million.

The Miami Marlins had fallen out of the running Thursday and the St. Louis Cardinals came at their free agent with an impressive offer, but Angels were a late entry into the sweepstakes. A third, unnamed team — Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs? — may have gotten into the action.

In many respects, the Angels are the ideal team for Pujols, since the American League has the designated hitter and does not play the Cardinals, the only team he’s ever played for.

Besides, not everyone thought re-signing Pujols was in the Cards’ best interests — members of that camp ranged from baseball reporters like Tom Verducci to St. Louis fans. But there’s one enormously disappointed man right now. Stan the Man isn’t getting what he wants for Christmas.

The big money move by the Los Angeles Angels took many by surprise, but for a franchise that had come off two disappointing seasons, the time seemed right for a shake-up. As Dave Sheinin explained:

The news Thursday morning may have been absolutely stunning – Albert Pujols, the premier player baseball, to the Los Angeles Angels, on a 10-year free-agent contract worth somewhere worth a reported $250 million – but the Angels’ motivation was perfectly logical.

The Angels had been slipping. After a six-year run from 2004 to 2009 during which they won five AL West titles and averaged 95 wins, they had missed the playoffs two straight years, and could see themselves being left in the dust by the Texas Rangers’ frighteningly efficient player-development machine, which had produced back-to-back World Series appearances for the Rangers.

And there were other motivations: The awful state of the Dodgers, which leaves dominance of the Los Angeles market up for grabs. The many times in recent years when the Angels had been runner-up for one elite free agent or another.

So the Angels did the unthinkable, emerging within the past 48 hours or so with a stealth bid that stole Pujols away from the Cardinals, who had drafted, developed and deployed him for the past 11 years, watching him become a St. Louis icon surpassed only by Stan Musial himself. Up until the end, the Cardinals believed a combination of Pujols’s sentimentality, his understanding of own his legacy and a just-close-enough-to-the-highest-bid offer would keep the slugger in St. Louis.

It was a big miscalculation by the Cardinals, but hardly a killer blow. They almost certainly got the best seasons of Pujols’s career. He turns 32 in January.

The Angels coupled their move for Pujols with a big pitching acquisition in C.J. Wilson, the former Texas Ranger left hander. As Matt Brooks reported:

According to Wilson’s agent, Bob Garber, Wilson’s deal is worth about $77.5 million over five years , as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

After helping the Texas Rangers to consecutive World Series appearances, the 31-year-old reportedly told his former team that he planned to sign with its American League West rivals on Thursday morning.

The additions of Pujols and Wilson immediately make the Angels the front-runner in the West and serious contenders to return to the World Series for the first time since they won it in 2002.

Wilson will complement a staff loaded with talented right-handers in Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana, and give the Angels one of the most imposing starting rotations in the league.

According to Fox Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal, Wilson made his decision at 5:30 a.m., and potentially could have gotten significantly more money had he remained on the market.

More from Washington Post Sports:

Astros hire Jeff Luhnow as GM

Marlins Albert Pujols offer shows new financial muscle in Miami

Darvish posted, Nats interested

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