After eleven spectacular seasons in a St. Louis Cardinals uniform, Albert Pujols is trading the “Birds on the Bat” for an Angels halo.
Pujols and the Los Angeles Angels have agreed to a 10-year, $254 million deal which becomes the second biggest contract in baseball history, behind the 10-year, $275 million deal Alex Rodriguez signed with the Yankees before the 2008 season.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney the Cardinals offer to Pujols was for nine years and “slightly more than $200 million.”
Before the 2004 season Pujols signed a 7-year, $111 million extension with the Cardinals that expired after the 2011 campaign.
Pujols will turn 32 on January 16th so the Angels deal will pay him an average annual salary of $25.4 million per year through age 41.
“El Hombre” is now the highest paid first baseman in the game in terms of both average annual salary and total contract worth. Pujols’ deal eclipses Ryan Howard’s average salary of $25 million per season with the Phillies and also Mark Texeira’s 8-year, $180 million contract with the Yankees.
Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt, Jr. released the following statement on Pujols signing with the Angels:
“We are disappointed that we were unable to reach an agreement to keep Albert Pujols in St. Louis. Albert is a great champion and we will always be thankful for his many achievements in a Cardinals uniform, as well as his contributions to the St. Louis community. I have the highest regard for Albert both personally and professionally. And appreciate his direct involvement in this process. I would like our fans to know that we tried our best to make Albert a lifetime Cardinal but unfortunately we were unable to make it happen.”
Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak offered this brief statement:
“Albert has been a special player in this organization since the moment he was drafted over 12 years ago. His accomplishments on and off the field have been spectacular. I wish him well in the next phase of his career.”
Over eleven seasons in St. Louis Pujols batted .328 with 445 homeruns and 1,329 RBI. He won the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2001 and was the NL MVP three times, in 2005, 2008 and 2009. He also helped the Cardinals to three NL pennants and World Series titles in 2006 and this past season in 2011. Pujols has been very active in the St. Louis community through the work of his Pujols Foundation, and has been particularly supportive of children with Down syndrome.
The Albert Pujols Foundation released this statement:
We appreciate your support and prayers as Albert and Deidre enter a new chapter in their lives. The Pujols Family Foundation will continue its work here in the St. Louis region and around the world. We currently serve hundreds of families with Down Syndrome in the St. Louis region and appreciate their continued trust in us. We look forward to touching more lives, which is ultimately what the Foundation is about. — Todd Perry