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Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Career of Albert Pujols is on borrowed time

By Art Garfamudis
Special to ESPN.com

Albert Pujols
Do the Los Angeles Angels consider the 10-year, $240 million contract of Albert Pujols an albatross?
The first thing that comes to mind about Bryce Harper is this: There is now a ballplayer whose entire career I will not see, even if I live to the average life expectancy of an American man. If he plays into his early 40s -- as superstars usually do -- I’ll probably be croaked for his last few seasons. Now I’ve made myself all depressed, so I’m gonna talk about Albert Pujols instead. At the rate he’s going, I’m definitely going to make it to the end of his career.

Just to cut to the chase for those with short attention spans: Pujols is clearly on his way out.

I’m not saying he’s done, but to mangle a Winston Churchill quote, this isn’t the end of the beginning, but the beginning of the end -- or something. The writing is on the wall, and the wall is telling us the St. Louis Cardinals are looking like geniuses right now.

In exchange for room and board and telling the police I haven’t seen him in two years, my nephew does research for me, because doing research coagulates my blood. He made a list of every month in Pujols’ career and ranked them by production divided by plate appearances. My eyes glazed over when he explained it, but I guess it’s simple enough.

It shows what you probably already knew: April 2012 is easily the worst month of his career. The only one that even comes anywhere close is June 2006, when he was injured and appeared in only 10 games -- and even that was better. The guy had never had a homerless month. In fact, aside from June 2006 (when he hit one), he’s never had fewer than two homers in a month. Now he’s at zero through May Day. And don’t try to use that “he’s always been a slow starter” line on me, either. His best month ever? How about April 2006? Four of his best 11 months have been the first one of the season.

Hey, everybody has to have a worst month, right? Not like this they don’t. For a guy of Pujols’ caliber, this is end-of-days bad. Get your big fork ready, because this guy is nearly done.