Albert Pujols to work with young players, to be Angels ambassadors

Albert Pujols will be working with young players on the Angel‘ academy in the Dominican Republic and taught big leagues and minor leagues during spring training in Arizona as part of retired Slugger’s 10-year personal services contract valued at $10 million with the team, club president John Carpino said.

“He’s going to be like a team ambassador,” Carpino said Monday at Pelican Hill Golf Club in Newport Beach, which was hosting a celebrity tournament benefiting MLB Youth Academy in Compton. “We are really excited about the possibilities that are developing in the future. He is Albert Pujols. It’s an asset. He’s got a lot of baseball knowledge.”

The personnel service contract is linked to the 10-year deal for $240 million that Pujols, 42, signed with the Angels before 2012 and that Pujols plans to honor despite owner Arte Moreno’s intentions to sell the team and the disappointing end of the first baseman’s nine-plus-year tenure at Anaheim.

The Personal Services Agreement essentially gives the Angels exclusive rights to Pujols during the first 10 years of his retirement. When asked if it would deter Pujols from doing similar work for the St. Louis Cardinalsthe team Pujols played with for 11 years before signing with the Angels, Carpino said, “Possibly.”

Do the Angels intend to stop Pujols from working with Cardinals players and performing on behalf of the team?

“I don’t know,” said Carpino. “We can probably work that out with him and the Cardinals.”

Pujols was among several former Angels — including outfielders Torii Hunter and Gary Matthews Jr., manager Mike Scioscia and coaches Mickey Hatcher and Ron Roenicke — who competed in the Monday golf event. He declined an interview request before teeing off and was unavailable after that.

St. Louis Cardinals batter Albert Pujols smiles during batting practice October 6.

St. Louis Cardinals batter Albert Pujols smiles during batting practice October 6.

(Jeff Roberson/Associated Press)

Carpino said he spoke to Pujols about the staffing services agreement a few months ago and both parties agreed to move forward with the agreement.

When asked if Pujols has expressed a desire to maintain his close ties to the cardinals, whose cap is set to adorn Pujols Hall of Fame plaque, Carpino said, “No, he didn’t address that.”

Pujols officially retired on Nov. 1 and capped his 22-year career with a second-half performance boost — hitting .324 with a 1.128 percentage on base plus slugging, 17 home runs and 44 RBIs in 47 games from Nov. August through the end of the season — which helped push the Cardinals into the playoffs.

Pujols hit his 699th and 700th homers at Dodger Stadium on September 23 to join Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) in baseball’s exclusive 700 homer club. He finished his career with 2,218 RBIs, ranking second to Aaron (2,297) on the all-time list.

Pujols was baseball’s most feared right-hander during his first 11 years in St. Louis, where he hit .328 with 1,037 OPS, 445 home runs and 1,329 RBIs from 2001-11, won three National League Most Valuable Player awards and led the championship Cardinals to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011.

He signed his massive contract with the Angels before 2012, and despite his 3,000. Hit and hit his 500th and 600th home runs as Angel, his tenure at Anaheim was marked by a dramatic decline in production and a series of lower-body injuries, including a postseason appearance in 2014 and zero playoff wins.

Pujols hit .256 with .758 OPS, 222 homers and 783 RBIs in 1,181 games with the Angels and was released in May 2021. He finished that season with the Dodgers and signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with St. Louis last spring.

Pujols can terminate the staffing services contract at any time, but as of now the Angels plan to have Pujols join them for part of spring training and be attached to the team next season.

Carpino is particularly excited about the impact Pujols, who grew up in the Dominican Republic before moving to suburban Kansas City as a teenager, could have on impressive young Latino prospects.

“He’s going to have a similar relationship with the kids as Vlad did,” Carpino said, referring to Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero, who won the 2004 American League MVP with the Angels. “He will be a great asset there.”

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