Wow. Who would have thought we'd be seeing headlines like that only two years into the Pujols contract. Most people speculated we wouldn't be seeing any significant problems with him until about 5-6 years into the contract. It seems now that the Angels have some serious deliberating to do on the topic of what is going to happen with Pujols. I don't want to come off as sensationalist or anything, but Pujols has been facing some problems that have caused his on-field play to suffer in a big way. Fortunately these are problems that can be easily overcome, we can see Pujols get back to form, but it's going to take proactive measurements on the part of the Angels brass. Letting Pujols stick in the 3-hole indefinitely where he can rot away due to his foot and knee problems have already proven to do farm more harm to this team than good. On ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball this past weekend the announcers working over the Angels/White Sox game were in marvel at the fact that Pujols was playing through serious pain. They used words like "grinding" to describe his incredible fortitude to stay on the field every day and help his team win. They made it sound like a positive he's working through pain to play right now, but the fact is it's not even close to a positive.
Pujols' plantar fasciitis and weakened knee from offseason surgery are sapping his ability to drive the ball on consistent basis. No major league hitter can be expected to drive a ball on a consistent basis when they're losing a serious amount of drive from the lower body. No torque and no momentum to carry the upper body can do damage to a hitters power stroke, which has been made clear by Pujols dipping SLG%. From April 20th to May 14th Pujols SLG% had dropped nearly 100 points, from 508. to 416., marking a drop in his ability to drive a ball. We all know how much pride Pujols has, and as a veteran he wants to be able to inject leadership into the club and by that he wants to be on the field every day. However, should he be hitting in the lineup every day when his problems are costing this team?
As much as Pujols doesn't like it he needs to spend some time on the DL; not a lot of time, but enough to rest his feet and legs. It might seem daunting to lose Pujols to the 15 day DL when the Angels are strapped for depth and serious power hitters, but in all truthfulness are they really that strapped? If Pujols were to hit the DL Trumbo could easily man 1B every day, and while nobody wants to see J.B Shuck playing every single day he can hold down LF without serious problems. Even if the Angels don't want to see Shuck out there every day they could shift Trumbo to the OF and have Luis Jimenez play 1B every now and again, as he's proved to be able to do so. We all know how big the Angels fetish is for turning everyone on the roster into super-utility players; with Jimenez, Trumbo, Harris, Shuck and eventually Kole Calhoun, the Angels have enough depth to cover the field in Pujols absence.