Albert Pujols will be a Hall of Famer, this much no one will doubt.
But, by and large, the most common reaction to Pujols' signing with the Angels has been negative because of the length of the contract. In fact, most reports have been written from an emotional perspective. These writers haven't had time to separate themselves from the issue and get a firm grasp on what has occurred.
So all we've seen about Pujols so far is he's either a hero, a savior and the best thing since sliced bread, or he's a villain who somehow wronged the city of St. Louis and the Angels are wrong for offering him such a mega-deal.
There has to be a middle ground somewhere.
Why not start here?
The Los Angeles Angels will win the World Series in 2012 and, ultimately, Albert Pujols will be labeled a winner by all.
There won't be any coincidence about Pujols collecting three rings by age 32. The Angels have the best rotation in baseball, and if a certain other 1B gets healthy (Kendrys Morales) they may have one of the most dangerous No. 3-No. 4 hitting combos in the game.
Albert Pujols will win the 2012 AL MVP award. With Aybar, Bourjos, Kendrick or Trout hitting in front of him and Morales, Trumbo, Hunter or a resurgent Wells batting behind him, pitchers will eventually be forced to pitch the The Machine.
In the simplest terms possible, when pitchers throw Albert strikes, Albert hits home runs. I'm predicting .335/.440 40 DB and 40 HR.
Albert Pujols will win his third Gold Glove at first base in 2012. It's not enough to catch legendary defensive outfielder and new teammate Torii Hunter, but it's a start.
Albert Pujols will win his seventh Silver Slugger Award in 2012—and this probably won't be his last.
With the Angels and specifically without Matt Holliday, I believe Albert Pujols will shatter his previous record of 44 intentional walks and 115 base on balls. I love Torii Hunter, but at this point in their careers, if there's a runner on second or third, or the bases are empty, why pitch to Pujols when you can pitch to Hunter?
Albert does his fair share of grounding into double plays. He doesn't have to feel bad, though—he'll have Torii Hunter keeping him company at the top of these ranks.
It doesn't make them bad hitters, they just happen to hit a lot of hard-hit ground balls and don't run as fast as Mike Trout does.
Pujols is tremendously gifted, and even if his numbers take a nosedive, he'll still be one of the most dangerous hitters in baseball.
But a 10-year contract is bound to not pay dividends in the end. I believe Pujols will remain a .300-plus/.400-plus, 30-plus DB, 30-plus HR hitter for the first five years of his contract.
Pujols plays hard and that can take a toll.
Eventually, his body will break down. In five years, Pujols will begin to experience a series of injuries that will sap him of his super-human abilities and make him mere mortal.
Pujols is a Gold Glove-caliber first baseman, but in order to save his body from the normal onset of age-related injuries he will need to eventually be shifted to DH. Since 1B is not a demanding physical position on the field, I think Pujols will remain the regular first baseman for seven years of the 10-year contract.
I think that, to a degree, Albert Pujols will be extremely useful to the Angels. Even if it's not on the field, Pujols is a great example for Angel players to follow. He conducts himself in a professional manner, is respectful and does a lot to help out the community in which he lives.
As far as being an everyday player, I think Pujols will be a useful middle-of-the-order hitter until age 38. His contract takes him through age 42, and Albert will be an everyday player until age 40.
The final two years of his contract, though, I expect Pujols to take on more of a specialty role, which is playing against LHP and mentoring the young hitters.
The Machine will record home runs No. 500, 600 and 700 all in an Angels uniform.
King Albert will record his 3,000th hit in an Angels uniform.
Albert Pujols will finish his career with a batting average over .300 and an OBP over .400.
Albert will retire an Angel and have the No. 5 retired in an Angels uniform.
Albert Pujols will enter the Hall of Fame as a St. Louis Cardinal.