While playing for the St. Louis Cardinals, Albert Pujols was one of the greatest hitters of all-time. His play was ultimately a big reason the Cardinals won two World Series titles while he was there. It also ultimately resulted in him getting a massive deal with the Los Angeles Angels after the 2011 season. However, Pujols almost didn’t play for the Angels. He nearly signed with the Cincinnati Reds.
Albert Pujols was an all-time great on the St. Louis Cardinals
Making his MLB debut in 2001, Albert Pujols had instant success in the league with the St. Louis Cardinals. He ultimately earned an All-Star selection in his first season as he went .329 at the plate and hit 37 home runs to go with 130 RBIs.
After still finding success in 2002, Pujols was then an All-Star selection eight seasons in a row from 2003 through 2010. He also won three National League MVP awards during that time span. One came in 2005 as he went .330 at the plate, hit 41 home runs, and had 117 RBIs. Another came in 2008 when he went .357 at the plate and had 37 home runs to go with 116 RBIs, and his third came in 2009 when he went .327 at the plate, hit 47 home runs, and had 135 RBIs.
Pujols did not just come up big during the regular season, though. He was ultimately a big reason that the Cardinals had a lot of success in the postseason while he was there. The Cardinals went to the World Series in 2004 with Pujols and then won two World Series titles in 2006 and 2011. He even won the NLCS MVP award in 2004.
The 2011 season was the last year Pujols played for the Cardinals. In 11 seasons there, Pujols went .328 at the plate and had 445 home runs to go with 1,329 RBIs.
Spending recent seasons on the Los Angeles Angels
After the 2011 season, Albert Pujols signed a massive deal with the Los Angeles Angels. He, however, has not had nearly as much success there. While Pujols only had one season where he did not hit over .300 while in St. Louis (he hit .299 in 2011), he has not hit .300 or better once since coming to LA.
Pujols has, however, continued to hit home runs. He has had three seasons with 30 home runs or more with the Angels, including the 2015 season, where he hit 40 home runs. Pujols has also had four seasons with 100 or more RBIs in Los Angeles. Last season, though, Pujols went .244 at the plate, hit 23 home runs, and had 93 RBIs.
In eight seasons with the Angels, Pujols has gone .258 at the plate and has hit 211 home runs to go with 746 RBIs. For his career in total, Pujols has a .300 batting average and has hit 656 home runs to go with 2,075 RBIs. His 656 home runs are sixth all-time, and his 2,075 RBIs are fourth all-time.
Pujols almost signed with the Cincinnati Reds
After the 2011 season, Pujols signed a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Angels, according to USA Today. The Cardinals ultimately offered him a nine-year deal worth $210 million. They finished fourth in the bidding war, USA Today reported. The Miami Marlins offered a $275 million deal that would have been worth about $300 million with no state income tax, according to USA Today. However, it did not have a no-trade clause.
The team that ultimately came in second in the bidding war was the Cincinnati Reds, according to USA Today. The Reds already had Joey Votto at first base, who won the NL MVP award in 2010. However, they offered Pujols a 10-year deal worth $225 million, according to USA Today.
“We thought we were going to get him,’’ said Walt Jocketty, according to USA Today, the Reds’ executive adviser to the CEO who was their general manager from 2008 through 2015. “We thought he would certainly give our organization a lift with his presence, on and off the field.”Walt Jocketty
After Pujols ultimately signed with the Angels, the Reds signed Votto to a 10-year extension worth $225 million four months later, according to USA Today.
It is hard telling how things would have gone had Pujols signed with the Reds. Cardinals fans probably wouldn’t have liked it too much. However, would Pujols have played better during the last eight seasons? Would he have played even worse? Would Votto have stayed with the Reds or gone elsewhere? We are left to wonder what could have been, but nothing will ever beat how successful Pujols was for the St. Louis Cardinals.