Dodgers sign Albert Pujols to a one year deal
May 27, 2021
Sir Albert Pujols traveled up the Interstate 5 freeway from Anaheim to LA, but this time he's staying. A dream come true for Dodger fans as Pujols agreed to a one-year deal with the Dodgers on May 17 and hit the ground running as he made his debut that same night starting at first base against the Diamondbacks.
Pujols started his journey with the Cardinals where he played for 11 seasons and was unanimously voted NL Rookie of the Year in 2001 and then would go on to contribute to two World Series championships in 2006 and 2011. After the 2011 season, Pujols became a free agent and signed a 10-year contract with the Angels. On May 6, 2021, he was designated for assignment, cleared waivers and became a free agent again seven days later. And he's already showed Dodger fans that the oldest player in the majors (41 years old) still has plenty of "gas left in the tank."
He hit the "gas" last night as he launched his first home run as a Dodger in the fourth game of the four-game series against the Diamondbacks to contribute towards the eventual sweep. It was a two-run, opposite-field blast in the second inning to drive in the player that idolized him growing up, Will Smith. Then Smith would notch his own solo blast later in the game to seal the 3-2 win.
"That was special. I'll remember being on base when he hit his first one as a Dodger, getting the high-five when he touched home plate. I'll always remember that," Smith said. "It's pretty cool, pretty surreal."
That home run gave Pujols 668 in his career and according to Elias Sports Bureau, put him all alone in 12th place on the all-time hit list with 3,256, surpassing Eddie Murray.. Since joining the Dodgers, he's hitting .273 (3-for-11) with a homer and four RBI.
During the series, the future Hall of Famer also recorded his first hit in the pinch since 2009.
So far, the signing has worked out even better than Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and manager Dave "Doc" Roberts ever imagined. Their faith and investment in Pujols is already paying dividends. A magical life-force has touched him as his career seems to already be resurrected.
There are many benefits to signing Pujols. He's a veteran who can mentor the young players, an experienced bat off the bench, and can start at first base, which he's already done successfully. He's also still in good form with his glove in the field as he's already proved.
"I think coming through here for 20 years plus, I see the energy this organization has. It always seems like these guys were ready to play every day," Pujols said. "I'm glad to be on this side now and enjoying the energy and just kind of jumping on the wagon with some of these guys. I'm excited to contribute and hopefully, to continue to help this ballclub to win."
And the Dodgers organization is just as excited, especially Roberts.
"I've been a fan of Albert for quite some time, like many of us have," Roberts said. "But to have him and to know that his production helps our team win is certainly a lot better. It was a big hit (Pujols homer). Like we said from the very beginning, he still has a lot of life to the bat."
And Pujols energy and enthusiasm is contagious. Closer Kenley Jansen refers to him as "the legend," and feels that the teams recent success is due to him now being on the roster.
Pitching ace, Clayton Kershaw also chimed-in.
"Just the attitude and personality that he's bringing to the clubhouse every day, he seems really excited to be here in his role," Kershaw said. "There's something to be said when he comes up with guys on base, you know there's no panic or no stress in him, we know exactly what he can do. I think it's a great pickup for us."
So as the season continues to unfold, the mystery question is what will become of Sir Albert at its conclusion. Will he retire or will the Dodgers make another offer?
Pujols is keeping his cards close to his chest with regards to the issue of retirement, so, for now, lets just enjoy the ride and hope there's a happy Hollywood ending.