MLB legend David Ortiz thinks Albert Pujols deserves better after the slugger was released by the Angels on Thursday.
Ortiz, who grew up with Pujols in the Dominican Republic, reacted to the news in an Instagram post on Friday.
“Brother @albertpujols all the way with you incredible career one of the most beloved player of all time on and off the field,” he wrote alongside a smiling photo that featured the two pros. “l do not agree on the move that just happen that was devastating for fans and player l know this is a business but l was expecting someone like you to walk away like you deserve you have done so much for baseball that is hard to replace someone like you ……much love and respect always our future first ballot HOF 100 all the way unanimous.”
The Angels released Pujols nearly two months into the final season of a 10-year, $240 million contract. Despite struggling at the plate as of late – he had a .198 batting average with a .250 on-base percentage in 24 Angels games in 2021 – Pujols has been a consistent defender in the latter half of his career.
Perry Minasian, the first-year general manager for the Angels, said the decision was solely determined by the baseball operations department.
“It’s more about opportunity,” Minasian said, according to ESPN. “Albert is not a bench player. We felt like, for him, with respect to him, keeping him on the bench, him not getting any playing time, would not do him any good or the team any good.”
Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez, who’s good friends with Pujols and a former Red Sox teammate of Ortiz’s, called the release “shameful” in a tweet on Friday.
In February, Pujols told the Los Angeles Times that he would likely decide if he’ll play beyond his Angels contract “at the end of the year.”
In his illustrious 21-season MLB career, Pujols recorded 2,886 games played, 12,486 plate appearances, 10,925 at bats, 1,852 runs, 3,253 hits, 669 doubles, 667 home runs, 2,112 RBIs, 1,334 walks and 99.4 WAR.
The 41-year-old is a three-time MVP and 10-time All-Star. He ranks third all-time in RBIs and fifth in career home runs.