Future Hall-of-Famer Albert Pujols has reportedly agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Pujols was designated for assignment by the Angels last week and cleared waivers this past Thursday. Meaning, the Dodgers will pay him the league minimum, about $430,000, with the Orange County Angels picking up the rest of the $30M tab.
The Dodgers have had success in the past with respected, veteran players on the back-end of their careers. Pujols fills the David Freese-Chase Utley mold of grizzled graybeard who will provide additional locker room leadership.
For the year, Pujols is hitting just .192/.250/.372. Despite that, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and team president Andrew Friedman must be hoping that Pujols can provide quality at-bats in a pinch-hitting role. Much like Freese and Utley.
Pujols seemed unwilling to do it for the Angels, but his apprehension could have been the culmination of deeper frustrations with his former employer.
He will join a championship roster on a stable, and professional, Dodgers franchise. Not to mention, greatly reduced expectations.
Pujols Adds Depth to Thin Bench
A lineup decimated by injuries could surely use another bat. Cody Bellinger and Zach McKinstry remain out. Lefty slugger Edwin Rios is slated for season ending shoulder surgery. Although Sheldon Nuese, Luke Raley, and DJ Peters have filled in to their best abilities, they’ve shown their youth in a few crunch time at-bats this season.
On top of pinch-hitting duties, Pujols pencils in as the DH for inter-league contests and could spell Max Muncy at first as needed.
To be clear, Pujols is far, far, removed from the days of winning league MVPs. His sub-.200 batting average isn’t pretty and there may not be all that much in the tank.
But, like Freese and Utley, he may just be here for one crucial October at-bat.