Angels' Joe Maddon Explains Albert Pujols Release, Says 'Divorce Is Difficult'

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 11, 2021

Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols walks to the dugout after he was called out on strikes during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Sunday, May 2, 2021, in Seattle.  (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon has addressed the team's decision to release Albert Pujols last week.

Appearing on The Starkville podcast with Jayson Stark and Doug Glanville, Maddon described the situation in terms of ending a marriage.

“Divorce is difficult,” he said. “It is difficult. There’s never a good time to go through with the act. … Sometimes it organically just has to occur.”

The Angels announced on May 6 that Pujols had been designated for assignment. General manager Perry Minasian said at the time that the team evaluated all of its options before deciding to part ways with the 10-time All-Star.

"Albert is not a bench player," Minasian said. "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. Never a good time for this, but with that being said, we felt like it was the best thing for the organization."

Maddon added that Pujols wanted to continue playing first base, and they don't have an opening at designated hitter with Shohei Ohtani off to a hot start, which in part led to the organization making the "difficult" decision to move on.

One reason the Angels were able to move on from Pujols is the emergence of Jared Walsh. The 27-year-old is hitting .347/.426/.593 in 33 games this season.

Pujols was in the final season of the 10-year, $240 million deal he signed with the Angels in December 2011. He hit .198/.250/.372 with five homers and 12 RBI in 24 games.