Albert Pujols will sign a 10-year, $250 million deal to play for the Los Angeles Angels, multiple media outlets citing unnamed sources reported Thursday morning.
When the talk is of first baseman Albert Pujols, superlatives abound.
At a news conference during the baseball winter meetings in Dallas, Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto called Pujols an icon who'd proven with the St. Louis Cardinals to be the best player in baseball.
"You have the opportunity from an offensive perspective to plug one of the great hitters of all time into the middle of your lineup, and we feel like you can never have too much depth."
The Albert Pujols deal is reportedly for 10 years and worth at least 250 million dollars. That's a lot of money and a long time for a soon-to-be 32-year-old who has already played 11 years in the majors. When a reporter pointed out a last season's decline in Pujols' stats, Dipoto disagreed.
"Players will go through peaks and valleys of sorts," said Dipoto dismissively. "Albert has spent many years operating at the peaks, and if we want to call a 'decline' going from super-human to just great, I don't think we've seen the last great days of Albert Pujols."
David Carter, who runs USC's Sports Business Institute, disagreed, saying that "it's not just 'what does he immediately deliver in terms of numbers at turnstiles and tickets sold?', but what does it really say about the owner's commitment to putting the best possible product on the field."
That may be intangible, said Carter, but fans want to know that an owner has that commitment. And by shelling out a quarter billion dollars for a hitter who ranks with Babe Ruth, Angels owner Arte Moreno has made that indisputable.
The Angels won the World Series in 2002. Last season, the St. Louis Cardinals took the Series in seven games from the Texas Rangers. If Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson pass their physicals, the Angels will head into next season with a top player from each of those teams.
This story has been updated.