FanDuel - WFBC

April 29, 2012

AP: 'So Far Pujols is a $240 Million Mistake': How bad has Albert Pujols' start been for the AL West last-place Los Angeles Angels? "With the game on the line with two outs in the eighth inning Friday night and a runner on second base, the Indians pitched to Pujols instead of giving him the open base," writes AP's Tim Dahlberg. Pujols popped out and is hitting .226 with no homers and four RBI.

posted by rcade to baseball at 05:22 PM - 25 comments

The Angels come to Texas for three games beginning May 11. That will be a good early test for whether the West is in their reach this season. I'm surprised Pujols is off to such a miserable start.

posted by rcade at 05:58 PM on April 29

At the risk of coming off as an overly-confident Rangers fan full of schadenfreude (which is only half-true):

posted by Ufez Jones at 06:25 PM on April 29

Nice. I'm not confident of Rangers glory. Getting to a third World Series in a row is too much to hope for. I'm just enjoying the moment.

posted by rcade at 06:27 PM on April 29

Eh, I just meant division confidence, which is certainly higher than it was four weeks ago, but remains appropriately tempered. It's an awfully long season and we're not even in May yet. Pujols will almost certainly shake it off, but even if he winds up emulating Adam Dunn of last year, that doesn't mean he's done for good.

The ten year deal still seems silly, though.

posted by Ufez Jones at 07:20 PM on April 29

Judging a 10 year contract after just 21 games is insane.

That's 1.3% of the way through.

That's like judging the content of a movie after the initial Miramax logo appears on the screen.

posted by grum@work at 09:43 PM on April 29

He's had slumps before, but when it starts to click, it usually does so in a big way. I think Angel fans will not be disappointed in the long term. After all, he didn't get all the money up front, right?

(But I really like the Miramax logo. And that " Optimized for Stereo Sound" speaker thing. That's cool.)

posted by BoKnows at 10:00 PM on April 29

I'm surprised Pujols is off to such a miserable start.

He's just the latest member of the "sign a big deal with great expectations and underperform" club.

He's in good company there.

I have a hunch he'll eventually do better this year than Crawford did last year relative to prior career performance.

Rangers fans shouldn't necessarily want to go to a 3rd consec. WS unless there's a good chance they can break thru and win it. Otherwise, you'll start getting candygrams from people in Buffalo.

(Have to say, the older I get, the deeper the appreciation I have for the magnitude of what the Bills accomplished by going to 4 straight Super Bowls).

posted by beaverboard at 10:02 PM on April 29

Judging a 10 year contract after just 21 games is insane.

Honestly, I wasn't even necessarily referring to Pujols' deal. Ten-year contracts are, by nature, silly, IMO. I know it's what it took to get him to sign, and I'm sure the Angels have all sorts of actuarial algorithms queued up for any number of circumstances, but it still seems silly to me. But again, Rangers fan, and that whole A-Rod thing didn't exactly come up roses, so my perception may be skewed.

posted by Ufez Jones at 10:33 PM on April 29

Ten-year contracts are, by nature, silly, IMO.

Agreed.

But again, Rangers fan, and that whole A-Rod thing didn't exactly come up roses, so my perception may be skewed.

If you think ARod wasn't smelling like a rose while with Texas, then I do think your perception may be skewed.

He averaged 53 HR, 15 SB, and a 155 OPS+ over 3 years, and won an MVP, three Silver Sluggers, two Gold Gloves, and was an All-Star starter each season.

There was absolutely nothing wrong with what ARod did on the field in Texas. He was more than earning the money they were paying him. It wasn't his fault no one could pitch.

The fact that Texas owners found themselves in a financial bind wasn't his fault. I think it had more to do with signing Chan Ho Park than ARod.

posted by grum@work at 12:21 AM on April 30

Pujols started slow last year as well -- though with more HRs. He had a .250 BA after the same amount of games in 2011. He ended up with a .299 BA, so you can see how he must have been hitting after his slump ended. It does look like he is hitting doubles where he was hitting HRs. Could that be a ballpark effect?

posted by bperk at 07:15 AM on April 30

Rangers fans shouldn't necessarily want to go to a 3rd consec. WS unless there's a good chance they can break thru and win it.

The Rangers had a good chance both times they went. They were the favorites against the Cardinals. If they win a third consecutive AL title they could easily be the favorites again.

posted by rcade at 08:15 AM on April 30

It's like the housing bubble.

No, no really, it is.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:45 AM on April 30

I think Pujols will turn it around. I also think the contract will be a bad one in the long run (and possibly in the short run). In some respects, the only place where that contract (or something approximating it) would have made sense was St. Louis, because Pujols was more valuable to the Cardinals from a historical-Stan-the-Man-one-team-lifer perspective.

During last season's World Series, George Vescey had a pretty good article about whether/why Albert should stay with the Cardinals (the article was titled "Pujols Won't Find Unconditional Love Elsewhere," which should tip you off to Vescey's angle). An excerpt:

He is a logical man who has to know this one central fact: no town will ever love him more as a great player and, by all appearances, a steadfast, charitable and religious family man.

It will never be easier for Pujols to be the person he is which includes private, taciturn, perhaps even distant than in this city, which adores its heroes. St. Louis never demanded that Stan Musial be anything more than the gracious hey-hey-whattaya-say superstar next door.

The legion of elders who saw Musial play from 1941 to 1963 maintain that he would have higher recognition today as a career .331 hitter if he had played in a coastal city like New York, Boston or Los Angeles. What is overlooked is that the East Coast news media hectored Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams in ways large and small in a kinder and gentler time before the 24-hour gnawing of the carpenter ants of blog land and Twitter land.

Pujols may not be prepared to be the $300 million savior of a rich franchise. Who is? After a bad second game here, he vanished into the night without dropping a few words to sate the news media. Later he said that he did not know anybody would want to talk to him, which just does not calibrate. Derek Jeter gives nothing away nothing but he shows up, says his controlled piece, and moves on.

bperk -- on the parks effects thing, Busch III plays (or at least has in the past three years) slightly less homer-friendly than Angel Stadium (both are in the lowest third of the league the past couple of years).

posted by holden at 10:06 AM on April 30

That's like judging the content of a movie after the initial Miramax HappyMadison logo appears on the screen.

It sucks. Said with complete confidence.

posted by tahoemoj at 11:16 AM on April 30

I'll say this; if you're talking about a contract where Pujols is perhaps going to be significantly declining on the back end, you've got to win up front to achieve the kind of results that would make it worth it from an owner's perspective (the other being attendance, which I have no stats on.)

Pujols' performance will likely improve, and his overall numbers might even out, but who cares about production if the team isn't in the realm of making the playoffs?

The Angels have dug themselves a pretty epic hole for 22 games in. 9 games back from a very good Rangers team. He's certainly not alone in his ineptitude, but having hit .133 with RISP while the team goes 7-15 is a pretty colossally bad way to start your new contract.

posted by dfleming at 12:35 PM on April 30

22 games in. 9 games back from a very good Rangers team

Is that really relevant though? They're (I think) 4.5 games out of a playoff spot.

posted by yerfatma at 12:43 PM on April 30

Is that really relevant though?

Well, it's early, but going 8 games under .500 means you have to dig that much further up to make it.

Boston last year would've been post-season team 5 at 90-72, which means the rest of the way they'd have to go 83-57 to get to that level. That's quite doable, but the longer the mediocrity lasts, the better you are going to have to be the rest of the way.

So yeah, there's certainly a lot of ball to be played and you can get 90 wins a number of ways, they just really need their $240 million man to start playing a little less like their $3.8 million man.

posted by dfleming at 03:06 PM on April 30

Judging a 10 year contract after just 21 games is insane.

Definitely. The 10 year contract should be judged insane regardless of how he started. Besides, Pujols contract shouldn't be compared to Arod's Rangers contract, but to Arod's Yankee contract, which, at this point, should be a cautionary tale.

I know it's small sample size, and I'm sure he'll have good numbers at the end of the year, but I don't think this is a meaningless slump. His numbers have been trending down, and that's probably not going to change. The question I find interesting is 'would this slump have happened when he was 28', and I'm guessing not. The little bit of bat speed he's lost, the 4 years of wear and tear added, I don't think this happens when he was in his prime.

Joe Posnanski:

I suspect that Pujols will soon have a stretch of hitting awesomeness that will blow the mind and once again remind America that he is Albert Pujols. And everyone will say, 'OK, Albert's as great as ever.' But it might not be that easy. I have this theory about age. Remember the McDonald's commercials about the McDLT which kept the "hot side hot and the cool side cool?" Jason Alexander was in one of those commercials. Anyway, I think that one thing that happens with age is that the hot side loses some of it's heat, and the cool side gets a little colder. I've been convinced that streaks and slumps are largely illusions of time and chance, but they still happen. The month Albert Pujols just had -- with a .265 on-base percentage -- was simply not a possibility for a 25-year-old Pujols, not over a 100 plate appearances.

posted by justgary at 10:29 AM on May 01

Comparing Pujols to a McDLT makes me think he's worth every penny of his new contract. I loved that sandwich. So much flavor! So much packaging!

posted by rcade at 11:04 AM on May 01

The month Albert Pujols just had -- with a .265 on-base percentage -- was simply not a possibility for a 25-year-old Pujols, not over a 100 plate appearances.

How about a 21 year old Pujols?

Or a 23 year old Pujols?

Or how about the fact that on May 3rd 2011, Albert Pujols had a .298 OBP for the season?

Side note: looking for bad ~100PA stretches for someone of Pujols' caliber is REALLY hard.

posted by grum@work at 12:07 PM on May 01

Really rough quality, but here's the Jason Alexander McDLT spot referenced by Posnanski. Ah, the 80s.

posted by holden at 12:19 PM on May 01

Or how about the fact that on May 3rd 2011, Albert Pujols had a .298 OBP for the season?

Which was last year, when he was 31, and his numbers were down. No one has been ignoring last year. They've been referring to it constantly.

I don't think anyone is claiming he won't be a great player again. Maybe, however, he'll be one of the best players in the game instead of the best.

posted by justgary at 01:42 PM on May 01

Well, if he struggles like last year and only finishes fifth in the MVP voting, then I guess that is something to worry about. ;)

posted by grum@work at 03:12 PM on May 01

Well, if he struggles like last year and only finishes fifth in the MVP voting, then I guess that is something to worry about. ;)

Well, point taken, but I wouldn't be worried so much about this year as 3-5 years down the road. Time will tell.

posted by justgary at 04:38 PM on May 01

0 for 4 last night.

posted by Atheist at 02:20 PM on May 02

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