The MLB community received some disheartening news earlier this week when it was reported that the Los Angeles Angeles released Albert Pujols after he cleared waivers on Thursday, just one week after the 41-year-old was designated for assignment.
It was always expected that Pujols would land with a contender at some point in the near future, and the latest reports suggest he actually won’t be leaving the state of California.
In fact, if you can believe it, the three-time MVP will be staying in the same city.
Per Jorge Castillo of the LA Times, the Los Angeles Dodgers (of all teams) have reached an agreement with Pujols for the rest of the season.
It’ll be a major league contract for Pujols, meaning he’ll be able to report right to his new club right away.
Given the myriad of injuries the Dodgers are dealing with up and down their roster, especially at first base, they were bound to be active on the transaction front sooner or later. It’s just shocking to think they actually went out and signed Pujols.
The Dodgers signed Albert Pujols for the reason of the season.
The Dodgers are simply desperate for reinforcements at first base given the injures to Cody Bellinger and Edwin Rios, who’s expected to miss the rest of the season with a torn labrum.
Luckily for manager Dave Roberts, Max Muncy’s versatility (he can play both second and third base) should open up plenty of opportunities for Pujols to crack the starting lineup while the Dodgers wait for some of their key contributors to return from injury.
It goes without saying that Pujols isn’t an everyday player at this stage of his career — he’s slashing 198/.250/.372 with five home runs and 12 RBI in 92 plate appearances this season — but he’ll provide some much-needed depth against left-handed pitching.
For context, the Dodgers enter Saturday’s clash against the Marlins with a .663 OPS against southpaws this season, a whopping 136 points fewer than their OPS vs righties. In 28 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers this year, Pujols is hitting .259 with with three home runs and six RBI, so you can imagine the role Los Angeles has planned for him.
Whatever Pujols’ role will be, let’s hope this move pans out for the Dodgers as they look to overcome what has been an adversity-filled start to the season.