First point: If Pujols were to stop playing today, he'd be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Or at least he should be. He has the seventh-highest slugging percentage (.597), the eighth-highest on-base plus slugging (exactly 1.000), and the 25th-most homers (508) of all time.
Second point: The contract hasn't worked out that well. Here are Pujols's numbers starting in his last of three MVP seasons, 2009:
That's not pretty.
Today at Hardball Talk, Aaron Gleeman noted:
Pujols’ power has remained strong throughout his overall struggles and his 16 home runs rank eighth among AL hitters, but that comes with a lowly .255 batting average and .315 on-base percentage. And after a decade of walking more often than he struck out for the Cardinals he’s whiffed 36 times compared to just 23 walks in 72 total games.
He’s been better than he was last season, but just barely, and overall Pujols looks nothing like the all-time great hitter he was in St. Louis. Sadly it was just a hot start for a banged-up 34-year-old with another seven seasons and $189 million left on his contract.
Insult to injury: Which of these two first basemen would you want?
Player A is St. Louis Cardinal first basemen this season. Player B is Los Angeles Angel first basemen this season. Primary Cardinals 1B Matt Adams is making $22,484,000 less than the primary Angels 1B this season.