Albert Pujols
(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Albert Pujols Is More Valuable Than People Think

Future hall of fame first baseman Albert Pujols really sucked as an Angel. He essentially took up valuable roster space and was grossly overpaid. He underperformed and just flat out was not the same player he was when he played for the St. Louis Cardinals. Let’s not forget though, it’s hard to be motivated, especially when your team only has one playoff appearance in ten years.

If you look at Pujols from a surface level, you may think he’s worthless. At the time when the Angels cut him, the 41-year-old had a slash line of .198/.250/.372 with only five home runs. And this is coming off years of subpar performance with Art Moreno paying him $24 million a year. This is not to mention that he is perhaps the slowest runner in baseball. The LA Angels had enough and finally designated him for assignment on May 6, 2021.

Meanwhile, the defending World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers lost left fielder AJ Pollock to a hamstring injury. They also lost first/third baseman Edwin Rios to a season-ending shoulder injury. Both of these men have big-time power, and the dodgers rank 6th in the National League in home runs. Losing these bats creates more of a need for pop evidently.

The Los Angeles Dodgers signed Albert Pujols to a Major League contract on May 15, 2021. Confusion spread throughout the baseball world. But I see many reasons for it. What the Dodgers lack this season is a veteran leader who can motivate the younger players. You saw that with past signings like Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Rickey Henderson, and Greg Maddux. Much of their talent is gone, but the spirit isn’t. Pujols will fill that void and be there for the younger players like Sheldon Neuse, DJ Peters, and Luke Raley who may need that boost. After all, he could give tips and be an unofficial hitting coach.

The Angels made a mistake continuously started him at first base. This was a man who was underperforming day in and day out on a crappy team with no depth until Jared Walsh came along. As a Dodger, he’ll be that power bat off the bench. He may get a few starts against lefties and play some first, but that limited playing time will work to his benefit, as there’s less weight on his shoulders. He’s also on a team in a serious hunt for repeating as World Series champions. This may motivate Pujols himself to play even better.

Let’s not forget this too. The Dodgers are paying literally league minimum for Pujols which is around $500,000. The Angels are still paying him around $20 million. That’s an absolute steal for a Hall of Famer who wouldn’t have to play every day and be that veteran motivational leader on the squad. Those who think he’s done don’t know what he still brings to a ball club. There’s a reason why he’s on a Major League contract and not a Minor League one.

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