Albert Pujols is in the final year of a massive 10-year contract he signed with the Los Angeles Angels back in 2012, but the slugger will not play out the entirety of the deal.
The Angels informed Pujols on Thursday that they are releasing him, according to multiple reports.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale notes that Pujols wanted to be released if his playing time was going to be significantly cut back, and the Angels are granting his wish.
Pujols is hitting just .198 this season after seeing his production fall off a cliff in recent years. The 41-year-old has five home runs in 24 games this year, but he has hit .245 or worse in every season but one since 2015. He’s averaging career lows across the board in 2021, which is not surprising to those who have watched him the past several years.
Prior to the season, Pujols’ wife appeared to break the news that her husband would retire at the end of the year. Pujols downplayed the Instagram post and said he had not made up his mind about playing beyond 2021.
Assuming he does not sign with another team, Pujols will finish his career with 667 home runs and 2,112 career RBI. The RBI rank third all time, and the home runs place him fifth. Pujols should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.