Could Albert Pujols have been part of this postseason if he was still playing with the St. Louis Cardinals?
The foot injury that sidelined him the latter part of the season could have been been rehabbed in time for the last week or so of the regular season and for the playoffs. So, technically, yes, he could have played the postseason.
Rather than staying on in St. Louis, Pujols went for the big bucks and the Hollywood lifestyle, as he signed a 10-year, $250 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels. Now, he’s a spectator during MLB playoffs while his old team and his current crosstown rival battle for the National League pennant. A title he won three times (2004, 2006 and 2011).
Pujols was reaching legendary status in St. Louis and he gave it all up. He could have been the modern Stan Musial or even bigger. He took pride in the community and he backed it up with big numbers on the field.
The most recent news surrounding Albert involves him being accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs by former big leaguer Jack Clark, and being challenged to take a lie detector test to prove he isn’t. It may be nonsense, but it feels like Pujols has fallen off his throne.
He’s an aging superstar, but one who should he have stayed in St. Louis where he was loved and where he could have been part of another team making a playoff run.
Pujols won two World Series titles in St. Louis and helped restore the franchise to elite status. He was the face of the franchise, but he may have underestimated just how strong the team was.
Should he have signed with the Dodgers, instead?
The Dodgers have been on a major spending spree for the last few of years. But I don’t think anyone really knew for sure how things were going to work out for the Angels and Dodgers this season. In the long term, it remains to be seen what becomes of Pujols with the Angels.
Meanwhile, he’ll have to wait for next season to prove all of his detractors wrong. He’s motivated now with redemption on his mind.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com