The worst season of Albert Pujols’ career is officially in the books.
According to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, the Angels have ruled Pujols out for the rest of the season. The 33-year-old went on the disabled list with a partially torn plantar fascia in his left foot in late July and was holding out hope for a return after shedding his walking boot on Friday, but that scenario never made much sense with the Angels so far out of the race. At this point, it’s best for all involved to turn the focus to 2014.
Hobbled by the foot injury, Pujols batted just .258/.330/.437 with 17 home runs and 64 RBI in 99 games this season while seeing the majority of his at-bats out of the DH spot. His OPS has dropped from 1.001 to .906 to .859 to .767 over the past four seasons. The Angels will have to hope that improved health reverses that trend. Pujols still has another eight years remaining on his monster $240 million contract.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Red Sox and outfielder J.D. Martinez are close to a deal. He takes care to note that the deal is not done yet and the details are not known yet.
Martinez, 30, entered the offseason as the top free agent hitter. Last season, between the Tigers and Diamondbacks, he hit a lusty .303/.376/.690 with 45 home runs and 104 RBI in 489 plate appearances. He missed the first 33 games of the season with a sprained right foot; one wonders what his numbers might’ve been like if he hadn’t been injured.
The Red Sox were the team most strongly linked to Martinez throughout the offseason, despite the relatively slow-moving market. Martinez said he wants to play in the outfield and the Red Sox are currently spoken for at all three positions with Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley, and Mookie Betts. Hanley Ramirez is also penciled in at DH. Should the Martinez deal become official, the Red Sox may try to trade Bradley and move Benintendi to center field. If Martinez is willing to concede his outfield wishes, the Red Sox could slot him in at DH and move Ramirez to first base.
The AL East is shaping up to be a familiar two-horse race between the Red Sox and Yankees. The addition of Martinez, in a way, answers the Yankees’ addition of Giancarlo Stanton.