Albert Pujols: Stays with the Dodgers
It sounds crazy, I know. But it sounded crazy when Albert Pujols signed with the Dodgers back in May and I was here back then to explain to confused Dodger fans why the signing made sense. Five months later and the value in Pujols was evident.
Yes, Pujols is 41 years old and is somewhat of a liability in the field. Yes, the Dodgers are supposed to be this loaded team that is not wasting a roster spot on someone who is going to be 42 next season and essentially is a platoon player.
That being said, answer this question for me: what right-handed batters do the Dodgers have to bring off the bench as a pinch hitter or platoon option? You might say Chris Taylor, but it is not even a guarantee that he returns (more on that later).
Steven Souza? Not a great option. Andy Burns is probably going to be with the big-league club next season, but we can’t be sure that he is going to succeed in that role. Michael Busch is left-handed. Kody Hoese is still a year away.
The Dodgers need that veteran right-handed bat off the bench, and this is a team that has not shied away from keeping veterans on the roster. The team understands the importance of these veterans, and we saw it last year with how well Pujols gelled with the team.
The Dodgers gave a contract to Chase Utley when nobody thought they would and I think they do the same with Pujols. With the universal DH likely coming, his value against left-handed pitchers is even higher. And if it doesn’t pan out, the Dodgers could always take the phantom IL approach with Pujols, saying that he has a “sore ankle”.