The Los Angeles Angels released slugger Albert Pujols on Thursday, abruptly ending the future baseball Hall of Famer’s tenure with the club in the final year of his 10-year contract.
Officially Pujols was designated for assignment, a move that immediately drops him from the team’s 40-man roster as a precursor to his release.
No reason was given for the move and Pujols himself did not immediately comment.
“The Angels Organization proudly signed Albert Pujols in 2011, and are honored that he has worn an Angels jersey for nearly half of his Hall-of-Fame Career,” owner Arte Moreno said in a statement.
“Albert’s historical accomplishments, both on and off the field, serve as an inspiration to athletes everywhere, and his actions define what it means to be a true Superstar.
“Since his Rookie of the Year Season in 2001, Albert and his wife Deidre have generously given their time and resources to countless charities throughout the world. We are thankful to the entire Pujols Family,” said Angels owner Arte Moreno.”
The Cardinals signed Pujols, now 41, to a 10-year, $253 million contract in December of 2011, luring him away as a free agent from the St. Louis Cardinals, the only other team he ever played for and where for a decade he was widely regarded as the best player in the National League.
Pujols, who helped the Cardinals win the World Series in 2011, is a three-time NL Most Valuable Player and 10-time All-Star currently ranks fifth on Major League Baseball’s all-time home run list with 667, fifth in doubles with 669 and second in runs-batted-in with 2,112.
The Dominican star connected for both his 500th and 600th career home runs with the Angels, becoming just the ninth MLB players with at least 600 homers.
On May 4th, 2018, he reached the prestigious 3,000-hit plateau and joined Hank Aaron as the only players ever to amass 3,000 hits, 600 home runs and 600 doubles.