If this is the end of Albert Pujols’ career, 1 number proves he’s an elite, all-time talent

This is the Morning Win. Charles Curtis is filling in for Andy Nesbitt.

The Los Angeles Angels released Albert Pujols on Thursday, and although that wasn’t a huge surprise, it was still a bummer.

The Angels have a full-time DH and MVP candidate in Shohei Ohtani who needs to play all the time. Jared Walsh and his 22 RBI can play first base. And despite hitting five dingers this year, Pujols was batting just .198 and had an OPS of .622.

Given that this is a release and not a retirement announcement, it seems obvious that the all-time great still wants to play at age 41, and maybe some team who needs a designated hitter who can occasionally hit lefties will pick him up.

But let’s say no one wants to sign him and he retires. Just how good was his career?

I knew Pujols totaled 667 homes, good for fifth all time, and that his RBI totals (2,112) were third behind Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron. But for stacking him up against other talents through the generations, we go to Wins Above Replacement.

Did you know that Pujols has a 99.4 WAR, which is 32nd all time? Better than Cal Ripken Jr., Jimmie Foxx, George Brett, and Chipper Jones. Among first basemen (I know he played some outfield and third base), that’s second behind Lou Gehrig.

And what’s nuts is he totaled a 101.4 WAR from his debut in 2001 through 2016. Since then, he’s actually lost a couple of points in his decline with a -2.0 WAR from 2017 to 2021.

The point? We’re not just talking about an instant first-ballot Hall of Famer. This might be “Hey, he should be in consideration for an all-time 25-man roster” good. Did you realize he was that good? I can safely say no, I didn’t.

And I really hope we get to see him play again, maybe in a bit of a farewell tour. But if this is the end, what a career.

Quick hits: Floyd Mayweather vs. Jake Paul … NHL hypocrisy … what a play by Gleyber Torres … and more.

— Jake Paul snatched a hat off Floyd Mayweather’s head ahead of Logan Paul’s exhibition fight with the boxer.

— Our Mary Clarke wrote about how the NHL’s hypocrisy on player safety has never been more apparent after the Capitals-Rangers mess and its aftermath.

— You have to see this awesome heads-up play by Gleyber Torres to score from first on a ball that didn’t leave the infield.

— Here are four playoff sleepers and four teams who could drop out of the postseason in 2021.

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