The Albert Pujols Contract is 25% Finished

...making the quarter-turn... - Lisa Blumenfeld

The Albert Pujols contract is officially 1/4 finished. Let's look at what the Angels have got so far...

The 81st game of the season will be played tonight. It will mark the halfway point in the 2014 season. It will also be the 50% mark of C.J. Wilson's contract (2.5 of 5 years) and the 30% mark of Josh Hamilton's contract (1.5 of 5 years) with the team. This first part of Albert's stay here was to be the gravy of the the ten-year-deal, the win-now mode was to be on, he was supposed to have a ring by now with us before he aged.

Well, it didn't quite work out that way.

But it hasn't been a complete bust. Not yet at least.

Albert had played in 331 games for the Angels. Two full seasons is 324 Games. He missed most of the second half of last season recovering from plantar fascitis. He missed 63 games last year and eleven combined between this season and 2012, his first year in LA of Anaheim.

He has already hit 63 home runs so he is on a pace to hit 252 HR as an Angel, so he could finish with around 630 HRs - except his HRs this year mostly came during a hot-streak April. His streakiness seems to coincide with health issues that see his swing and baserunning break down into ache-and-pain compensation. This doesn't bode well for him to sustain those "hot steak" periods where he is feeling good enough to produce at his "Cardinals prime" pace.

His Slugging Percentage with a Halo has been .482 ranking him ninth best in Angels history. Mark Trumbo and Garret Anderson are tie for tenth with a .469 career Angels Slugging %. The problem though is whether this is sustainable over the next 75% of the contract. When Pujols signed he had a lifetime .420 On-Base Percentage and a .328 batting average. If he had sustained those numbers in his first two and a half seasons - again, the years where we could suppose he would be at the closest to his amazing career norms - those numbers would have put him ranking #1 in both categories in Angels franchise history. But Vladimir Guerrero's .319 Batting Average and Mike Trout's .404 OBP seem safe from the .271 batting average (ranking 31st behind Bengie Molina's .273) and .333 OBP (the 33rd best in club history, just ahead of the career .332 of Gary Pettis).

Most of Albert's numbers as an Angel were from a very good 2012. He hit 50 doubles that season, the second most in club history. His 80 Extra Base Hits then matched the total XBH that Vladimir Guerrero hit in his MVP 2004 campaign. His 4.8 WAR that season was pretty good in Angels history, ranking just ahead of Adam Kennedy's best-ever season here (4.7 WAR in 2002). We did win 89 games that year. So we got ...well it was almost something.

But the fans were grumbly even then - Arte isn't paying Albert the big bucks to produce the 36th best single season WAR in club history. His total WAR as an Angel over the first quarter of the contract, 8.3, is good but let's look closer. In advanced statistical calculations, a "WIN" In the "Wins Above Replacement" Stat is currently valued at $5 million. The Annual Average value of the Pujols contract is $24 Million, meaning that Pujols should have put up 12 WAR already. Take that almost half year injury off and round down and Pujols was is still behind almost an entire WIN for the contract at this point - and understand again - this borrows HEAVILY on his very good 2012 numbers to justify things.

So there he is - slowing down on the basepaths, hanging on hot streaks to pad his good but not great numbers and now, at the quarter point, becoming a mouthy excuse-maker for every flaw after already being known as an aloof clubhouse presence to whom the ordinary rules do not apply.

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