Current free agent Albert Pujols has had a magnificent career. Pujols has been an icon of the game and his spot in Cooperstown is likely already reserved. Last year, the Dodgers signed Pujols after he was waived by the Orange County Angels. He made an impact on and off the field for LA.
Pujols appears open to playing at least one more season. If Tío Albert does play in 2022, it won’t be to chase personal accolades according to Dodgers third base Dino Ebel. Ebel, who has a close relationship with Pujols dating back to their Angels days, had this to say:
“He’s never said anything to me about chasing 700 home runs. I think he’s 21 shy of 700. That’s probably one if his goals if he decides to come back, but if he does, it’s going to be strictly helping a team win a championship because I still think he’s hungry to win his third championship. That’s how I feel.”
Ebel had his math right. Pujols is fifth all-time with 679 career home runs. 21 more home runs would make Tío Albert just the fourth player to ever reach the 700 home run milestone.
Another season for Pujols won’t solely be a retirement tour. He was a valuable hitter against left-handed pitching for the Dodgers in 2021. The six-time Silver Slugger posted a .939 OPS against southpaws between his time with the Dodgers and Angels.
Pujols can still hit, even if it’s just against lefties.
An interesting wrinkle that Ebel brought up during his interview on AM570’s Dodger Talk was the possibility of the universal-DH. A universal-DH could create more opportunities for playing time for the 21-year veteran.
“I think he can help a team, especially if there’s a DH in both leagues, maybe he will give it one more shot.”
Make no mistake, if Pujols does come back for one final season, it will be to help a team win a championship, not personal glory.