The Angels probably should have dealt with this earlier, as Pujols has been plagued by plantar fasciitis for years, and it was clearly affecting him in spring training. They should have tried to treat it then, even it meant Pujols missing some time.
Instead, he played at 80 percent all season and wasn't all that productive, hitting .258 while grounding into a league-leading 18 double plays. He aggravated the injury on Friday night and will now miss "significant time" in the words of manager Mike Scioscia.
Any hope the Angels had of making a second-half push was predicated on Pujols recapturing his All-Star form, so this certainly changes their outlook with 72 hours to go until the trade deadline. If there was any doubt about the Angels being "sellers" before, it has been removed. Problem is, they have nothing to sell.
Don't believe me? Let's go through the roster.
The outfield has Josh Hamilton, whose contract no one wants, and Peter Bourjos, Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout, who aren't going anywhere. Bourjos is on the DL and has been good when healthy this year, Trout is obviously a superstar and Trumbo will probably get more reps at first with Pujols out.
As for their infield, Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick would have some trade value since they are both locked up for a few years at a reasonable cost, but after trading away Jean Segura last season in the Zack Greinke deal, they don't have any middle infielders in the system ready to step in. They would trade Alberto Callaspo, but there is not a lot of demand for a third baseman who is slugging .353.
Let's move on to their catchers, Chris Iannetta and Hank Conger, who haven't performed well enough to be worth much in a trade.
They have a similar situation on the mound, as Joe Blanton has been one of the game's worst starters. C.J. Wilson would be a nice chip, but he specifically chose the Angels as a free agent because they were the club that would give him a no-trade clause.
The Halos do have a few relievers who would be intriguing to other clubs, such as Scott Downs. The problem is that the market has far more supply than demand on the reliever market, so it's not like Downs would fetch much. Besides, the Angels think they can contend next year and will want to have Downs.
In the big picture, shutting down Pujols is the right thing for the Angels, as he will get an opportunity to fully heal. I expect him to come back in full force in 2014, and I'd call him an early favorite for comeback player of the year.
Right now, GM Jerry Dipoto is staring at a team that is 12 games out of first and he must start looking ahead to the offseason to find ways to improve his club at catcher, third base and at the back of his rotation, and to make sure that a season like this doesn't happen again.