Future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols has found a new home that is only a few miles away from his old team in Anaheim. The 10-time All Star signed a deal with the reigning World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers. Here are three reasons the Dodgers brought in the 41-year old slugger.
Because of Injuries, the Dodgers Need Power
The Dodgers have experienced some unfortunate luck due to injuries to some of their star players. Former National League MVP Cody Bellinger suffered a lower leg injury that may sideline him until almost June. Power hitting shortstop Corey Seagar could miss the next six weeks or so with a hand injury.
There is a serious power outage in L.A. and Pujols can help remedy that problem for the Dodgers. Though Pujols’s batting average has dipped in recent seasons, he is still one of the greatest right-handed hitters of all time and knows how to hit the long ball. Pujols should get a few starts at first base, but his main role with the Dodgers will be as a pinch hitter off the bench.
Pujols Will be a Key Leader in the Dodgers Clubhouse
Pujols led the St. Louis Cardinals to two World Series titles in 2006 and 2011. The Dominican Republic native knows how to win and will provide lots of leadership in the Dodgers clubhouse. Angels superstar Mike Trout has mentioned several times how important Pujols was in his development as a big league player (latimes.com).
The Dodgers goal is to repeat as World champs this year. Pujols’s goal is to go out with a bang as a world champion. It is a win-win situation for all parties involved.
Team leadership and positive clubhouse morale are intangible qualities that cannot be underestimated. The Dodgers are accustomed to bringing in veteran players to mentor some of the young guys on the roster. For example, the Dodgers traded for former Phillies star Chase Utley during the tailend of his career from 2015-2018. That move ended up paying huge dividends for the Dodgers. Utley was a crucial factor in the development of young hitters like Joc Peterson, Kike Hernandez, Corey Seagar, and Cody Bellinger.
The Dodgers Need Help Against Left-Handed Pitching
The Dodgers offense has struggled all season long against left-handed pitchers. In fact, the boys in blue rank 24th out of 30 MLB teams in batting average against lefties with a paltry .217 mark. The Dodgers only rank 20th in home runs hit against left handers.
Pujols may be a bit long in the tooth, but the guy still has plenty of pop left in his bat when facing lefties. In fact, if you look at his 2019 and 2021 power numbers, Pujols ranks far better than the league average in lots of categories. Though many Dodger fans may have scratched their heads when they heard of the Pujols signing, the move makes plenty of sense for this team.