Angels first baseman Albert Pujols may not play again this year after he was placed on the disabled list on Sunday with a partially torn plantar fascia in his left foot. Pujols has been dealing with the injury for awhile, but aggravated it while running to first base on Friday against the A's. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said that Pujols would be out for "a significant amount of time". Cole Kalhoun was called up from AAA Salt Lake to replace Pujols on the Angels' roster.
Pujols' second year in Anaheim was going much worse than this first. The 33-year old was hitting .258/.330/.437 in 99 games with 17 homers. Him and Josh Hamilton haven't been the one-two punch in the middle of the Angels lineup like they imagined this year, as Hamilton has struggled even more than Pujols in his first season with his new club. Hamilton is hitting .221/.275/.409 this year with 15 homers.
The Angels are in an ugly position with Pujols going forth, because his ten year contract was heavily backloaded. So while Anaheim will be 20% of the way through his contract after this season, they'll still owe Pujols $212 million over the final eight years of the contract, an average of $26.5 million per season. That's a stark contrast to the $12 million Pujols made in 2012, and the $16 million he's making this season. The Angels already have nine figures committed to their payroll through 2016, and those figures could rise substantially with Mike Trout still in his pre-arbitration years and putting together a 2013 season that is a near carbon copy of his historic 2012 campaign.
Calhoun will be replacing Pujols in the Angels lineup, and started in right field on Sunday in Oakland. The 25-year old Calhoun was hitting .354/.431/.617 with Salt Lake, belting 12 homers and swiping 10 bases in 59 games. This is his first stint in the majors this season after a 25 plate appearance tryout last year. He's a vastly superior player to JB Shuck (who was the Angels DH and leadoff hitter today, speaking to their current depth issues at the moment), and should stay in the lineup once Peter Bourjos ends up returning from a broken wrist.
This team wasn't going anywhere with Pujols, considering the way they've played over the first four months of this season, and they won't be going anywhere without him over the final two months of the season. You might as well start giving younger players like Calhoun playing time instead of running washouts like Brad Hawpe out there.