Albert Pujols is a legend, with slugging titles and records that will likely never be broken. His signing to the St. Louis Cardinals brought nostalgia back to a city in need of it, but he brings little else to an already stacked lineup.
The “st louis cardinals baseball” is a question that many people are asking after the Albert Pujols signing. The Cardinals have added a lot of power to their lineup, but what does he add to the team?
Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals reached an agreement late Sunday night that would return the future Hall of Famer back to St. Louis after ten seasons in Los Angeles.
The Cardinals are recognized for their commitment, particularly to the players who are beloved by Cardinals supporters. Yadier Molina returns to the squad for his 19th and final big league season. For the 17th season, Adam Wainwright is returning. Now comes the chance to catch up with Pujols, the future Hall of Famer who helped the Cardinals win the World Series in his last season with the team in 2011.
In a day when front offices are sometimes cold and calculated in their assessments of players, this decision has a strong emotional component. It seems to be as much for the fans as it is for the organization. The closest parallel would be when the Mariners signed a 39-year-old Ken Griffey Jr. in 2009, when he was a shell of the outstanding player he had been in Seattle during his earlier years.
Of course, the same can be said about Pujols, who is now 42 years old and only plays on a part-time basis. The Mariners, on the other hand, were coming off a 101-loss season in 2008 and saw Griffey as a draw. The Cardinals are attempting to achieve victory.
And maybe Pujols can assist. His career seemed to be finished when the Angels discharged him on May 13 with a.198/.250/.372 batting line. The Dodgers, on the other hand, signed him four days later, needing a right-handed hitter after a run of injuries rocked their team. Pujols started 37 games at first base and came off the bench for the Dodgers, batting.254/.299/.460. He had a particularly good year against left-handed pitching, hitting.294/.336/.603 against them.
That guy can aid the Cardinals as a designated hitter, likely splitting responsibilities with offseason acquisition Corey Dickerson, and provide new manager Oliver Marmol with a late-game pinch-hitting alternative. Pujols was practically worthless against right-handed pitching in 2021 (.180/.233/.266), and there’s no guarantee he’ll produce like he did last season against left-handed pitching given a less-than-stellar.235/.288/.453 line against them from 2018 to 2020, but there’s no harm in trying. In today’s game, the estimated $2.5 million agreement has almost no risk, plus his Dodgers colleagues raved about his presence in the clubhouse, so keeping him around has an extra bonus.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that Pujols is really done, as he looked to be with the Angels. Griffey was OK when he returned to the Mariners in 2009. With a 97 OPS+, it’s not terrific, but it’s playable. The Mariners had an unexpectedly successful season, winning 85 games. However, he was brought back in 2010 and played 33 games, hitting.184 with no home runs. Everyone was waiting for that one big moment, but Griffey only began once in his final 15 days with the squad before deciding to leave. If a similar circumstance arises, how will the Cardinals handle Pujols? Will he, like Griffey, avoid being a distraction and resign if he doesn’t feel like he’s making a difference? It may turn into a difficult issue. What if Pujols is having trouble and Juan Yepez is raking in the minors? This is a squad that is attempting to compete.
The cool and calculated appraisal implies that emotional judgments are out of the question, particularly because the Cardinals have a young man in line to take over the DH job. Yepez, a right-handed first baseman, hit.286/.383/.586 in the minors (primarily at Triple-A), with 27 home runs in 367 at-bats and a low strikeout rate of 19 percent. Yepez has also had a few of weeks to be evaluated by the Cardinals. Perhaps they don’t believe he’s ready to contribute, despite the fact that 21 plate appearances in spring training is hardly indicative of anything.
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Although Yepez did play some third base and corner outfield in the minors, it would be impossible to accommodate both Pujols and Yepez on the roster. However, if the Cardinals carry 13 position players and Dickerson is the usual DH, Pujols, a backup catcher (Ali Sanchez or Andrew Knizner), Edmundo Sosa or Paul DeJong (whoever doesn’t start at shortstop), and most likely outfielder Lars Nootbaar would form a four-man bench. Nolan Gorman, a top prospect, is expected to start the season at Triple-A, but he might potentially push Tommy Edman aside at second base later in the season. Due to the abbreviated spring training, teams are only permitted to carry 28 players in April, so it’s probable they’ll bring in an additional position player, particularly since Marmol has shown a desire to be more flexible with his lineups than Mike Shildt, who liked a fixed lineup. Perhaps this opens up roster space for both Pujols and Yepez, with Pujols functioning as the ideal mentor for the 24-year-old Venezuelan.
I want to see how a player fits in versus division opponents when a transfer like this is made. Here are some of the left-handed pitchers in the NL Central that Pujols may face:
Eric Lauer, Aaron Ashby (Brewers) (and Josh Hader and Brent Suter in relief)
Mike Minor, Reds
Wade Miley, Drew Smyly, Wade Miley, Wade Miley, Wade Miley, Wade Miley, Wade Miley,
Jose Quintana (Pirates)
The NL Central isn’t exactly replete with left-handed starters. The Braves (Max Fried, bullpen), Dodgers (Julio Urias, Clayton Kershaw, Danny Duffy, Andrew Heaney), and Giants (Carlos Rodon, Alex Wood) are all stocked with lefties, and those are the teams the Cardinals will have to go through if they want to make a long run into October.
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Pujols is aiming for some major achievements. He’s 21 home runs shy of being the fourth player in MLB history to reach 700. (and 17 away from tying Alex Rodriguez at 696). Although Pujols told ESPN in September that “I’m not pursuing anything,” that is the big one. On the total bases leaderboard, he may overtake Willie Mays and Stan Musial, leaving just Henry Aaron in his wake. He’s now in 12th place on the all-time hits list, and he’s just 19 songs away from passing Eddie Collins and then Paul Molitor for 10th place.
Pujols, on the other hand, seems to want to keep playing baseball. On April 7, the Cardinals face the Pirates at home. Even though Pujols won’t have much time to prepare, you have to believe he’ll be in the lineup with old friends Molina and Wainwright. Redbird Nation will give him a standing ovation. Griffey hit a home run in his return to the Mariners. Isn’t it something if Pujols hits a home run?
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Albert Pujols regret leaving St Louis?
A: I am sorry, but this question does not exist.
Does Albert Pujols have a Gold Glove?
A: Albert Pujols has not won a Gold Glove Award.
What is Albert Pujols contract for St Louis?
A: Albert Pujols is signed to the St. Louis Cardinals for $21,000,000 over 2 years
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