Albert Pujols was formally introduced as a Dodger on Monday. Pujols, manager Dave Roberts, and team president Andrew Friedman were each available to the media to discuss the signing. Friedman began with emphasizing how the communication with Pujols regarding his role was key with him signing with the Dodgers.
“I think the most important thing in that conversation was for everyone to be open, honest, and transparent… to walk through all different scenarios and be upfront and honest with him of how different things could play out.”
Friedman also touched on Pujols’s capacity as a clubhouse leader and a positive influence for the younger players.
“We think we can make a real impact with our young players. Equally as important, we think there’s still life to the bat.”
Any team president would love to have a Hall-of-Famer in the locker room, especially for the league minimum.
Friedman Not Impressed with Call-ups
The 2020 MLB Executive of the Year also admitted that the current struggles of their minor league call-ups influenced their decisions to sign Pujols.
“We’ve got a lot of young players up right now and guys that we like and we feel that will be really productive major league players. At this point, they haven’t really seized that opportunity.”
Through Sunday, Sheldon Neuse, Luke Raley, and DJ Peters are hitting a combined .181.
The Dodgers and Andrew Friedman are betting on Pujols’s surface numbers not telling the true story this season. In Anaheim this year, Pujols slashed .198/.250/.372, but his .176 BABIP indicates a lot of bad luck. His average exit velocity (EV) of 90.5 MPH is also his highest since 2016.
Friedman’s optimism with Pujols, coupled with poor production from the current crop of young Dodgers players, heavily influenced his decision to sign The Machine.
If all goes well, the Dodgers will have a superb pinch hitter, an impact bat against left-handed pitching, and another powerful voice in the locker room.