I am going to present to you some facts. Last December, the Los Angeles Angels gave Albert Pujols a ten-year, $240 million contract. In 2011, Albert Pujols posted a 148 OPS+. So far in 2012, Albert Pujols has posted a 46 OPS+. Mario Mendoza, the infielder after whom the Mendoza Line was named, posted a career 41 OPS+. Mendoza was a defense-first shortstop and Pujols is supposed to be an offense-first first baseman.
So, Albert Pujols' slump is a bit of a thing. Here's Joe Posnanski with his analysis:
One thing I never see -- ever, no how matter how many replays they show -- is what the analysts talk about when they break down a golfer’s swing with the Konika-Travolta-Biz-Hub-Scientology-Royale-With-Cheese camera. It’s always “look at the downward plane of his and watch the hand position when he and notice how he maintains his body pose to create torque that torques when he torques and see the subtle movement of his left wrist as he …” No idea what they’re talking about. Was watching the Players Championship over the weekend and Johnny Miller -- when he wasn’t talking about how every player chokes always -- was explaining the left arm of some golfer, and all the other analysts were going “Yes, oh yes, I see that, oh isn’t that fascinating.” And I saw nothing.
So that’s why it was absolutely shocking when I watched Albert Pujols play Sunday night.
Even to a dunderhead like me, it’s clear: His swing has absolutely fallen apart.
But I’ll say it anyway. I think [Terry Francona's] completely wrong. Pujols' swing looks nothing like it did. The wide stance has narrowed significantly. His legs used to be tree trunks; a hurricane could not move this guy. Not anymore. He looks wobbly at the plate. His swing used to be the most balanced thing of beauty imaginable -- everything stayed perfectly still as the bat would rush through the zone with fury -- now he’s lunging at the ball, stepping at the ball, his head seems to be moving all over the place.
I don't know if Joe Posnanski is correct. I'm not watching Albert Pujols right now, and I'm not an expert on swing mechanics. I'm not even an amateur when it comes to analyzing swing mechanics. Terry Francona knows a lot more about swing mechanics than I do, or than Joe Posnanski does, and Francona evidently isn't concerned. But Posnanski is seeing something and I find it highly unlikely that Pujols isn't in some way messed up. Maybe reversibly messed up, but messed up. A guy like that ... this shouldn't happen to a guy like that if he's more or less normal. The slump has gone on for too long.