Albert Pujols Reportedly Blasted Joe Maddon's Managing Before Angels Release

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2021

Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols, left, speaks with new manager Joe Maddon after a baseball news conference at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. Maddon is returning to the Angels, where he worked as a coach before successful managerial stunts with baseball clubs in Tampa Bay and Chicago. (AP Photo/Greg Beacham)
Greg Beacham/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Angels announced they designated Albert Pujols for assignment on Thursday, but there was apparently more to the story. 

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Pujols grew frustrated with Joe Maddon's managing and was particularly upset when he was not in Wednesday's starting lineup after being told he would be the previous night. 

"By the time the day was over, Pujols was yelling at manager Joe Maddon, telling president John Carpino and GM Perry Minasian that he wasn't going to retire, insisting he did not want to spend the rest of the season on the bench and blasting Maddon's managerial skills," Nightengale wrote.

For his part, Maddon disputed the notion that Pujols was hostile toward him. 

"I'm hearing all this stuff being reported, but that's not with me," the manager said, per Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times. "I've heard this stuff, but it was not what I actually witnessed."

Maddon previously commented on the decision to designate Pujols for assignment, saying "He does not want to be a bench player of any kind. He's got a lot of pride," per Nightengale.

There was a time when Pujols not being in the starting lineup would have been a stunning development.

After all, he is a two-time World Series champion, three-time MVP, six-time Silver Slugger, 10-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glover. Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Alex Rodriguez are the only players in Major League Baseball history who hit more than Pujols' 667 home runs.

With a resume like that, it doesn't come as much of a surprise that he wanted to be in the lineup on a daily basis.

Still, he is 41 years old and slashed .198/.250/.372 with five home runs and 12 RBI in 24 games before the Angels moved on by designating him for assignment.

Maddon may be known as a quirky manager who sometimes bucks traditional moves, but it is not particularly surprising that he wasn't putting Pujols in the lineup every single day given the slugger's age and struggles.

There may have been some communication issues in play, though, and Pujols was clearly frustrated.