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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

December 8, 2011 at 8:25 AM

10 quick thoughts on Albert Pujols signing with Angels

pujolsangels.jpg

(Photo by Associated Press)

1, Jack Zduriencik told our Geoff Baker this morning in Dallas that the Angels’ signing of Pujols does not increase the pressure on him to get a bat.

2, The Angels’ signing of Pujols increases the pressure on Jack Zduriencik to get a bat. Of course.

3, The upper echelon of the AL West is now a powerhouse. On the one hand, you have the two-time defending league champion Texas Rangers, and now the newly beefed up Angels, adding not only the game’s greatest player in Pujols but also, reportedly, C.J. Wilson to join a rotation that already includes Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana. They had already added a pretty good catcher in Chris Iannetta.

4, That said, there will come a point when the Pujols contract is tremendously crippling to the Angels as they’re paying $25-million plus to an aging and rapidly declining player (see Rodriguez, Alex — though the Yankees have little problem absorbing the salary).

The question is how far Pujols will take the Angels before he becomes an albatross. As my old buddy Les Carpenter (former Seattle Times writer now with Yahoo) tweeted today, “By year four of his deal, Pujols might be the most overpaid tea cup ride operator at Disneyland”

5, Pujols reportedly has a full no-trade clause, which apparently was very important to him and a sticking point with the Miami Marlins. Seems like a moot point to me. When the time comes the Angels would entertain trading him, they won’t be able to.

6, Pujols has played nine games against the Mariners. In those games, he has three homers, 11 RBIs, a .353 batting average, .421 on-base percentage, .706 slugging percentage, and 1.127 OPS.

Yeah, I know. Small sample size. And two of the homers were off Jamey Wright.

7, That said, it’s going to be fun to see Felix Hernandez face Pujols, what, 20 times a year? They’ve never squared off in the regular season, though Hernandez did get Pujols to ground out to shortstop in the 2009 All-Star Game in St. Louis.

8, Those poor Houston Astros. They thought by moving to the AL West, they were finally rid of Pujols.

9, Good work by Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi of FOX, who I believe were the first to report that the Angels had interest in Pujols way back on Tuesday. Jon Heyman of SI and Danny Knobler of CBS reported the same thing, but there were also some strong denials that night that the Angels were involved in the Pujols negotiations.

This just in: They were.

10, As the great Ross Newhan, the Hall of Fame reporter retired from the Los Angeles Times, told Mitch Levy on KJR this morning, Arte Moreno paid $183.5 million when he bought the Angels from Disney in 2003. Now he’s paying one player more than $250 million.

Moreno’s first, hugely popular, move as owner was to lower the price of premium beers from $8 to $6.75. No immediate word on the beer prices at Angel Stadium in 2012.

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