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Albert Pujols’ five options

Albert Pujols’ five options

It’s been almost a week since the Angels stunned the baseball world by nominating Albert Pujols for future Hall of Fame assignment several months before his 10-year, $ 240 million contract expired. It was an unceremonious farewell for a superstar like the Dominican. Many are wondering if we will see Pujols, one of the best players in history, on a pitch again.

Albert Pujols, from nowhere to stardom

Since then, nothing has happened. No teams saying they don’t have room for him (with the exception of the White Sox, who publicly said no, thanks to fellow Dominican Yermín Mercedes). Nothing from Pujols. Any. He has not retired. Obviously he wants to keep playing. So what’s going on? Are you still shocked by the Angels’ decision? Is negotiating? Are you waiting to see what opportunity appears out there?

Pujols, the loudest slugger among those born in the DR

It’s worth noting that while Pujols may not have had room in the Angels – with all the at-bats they had to split between him, Shohei Ohtani and Jared Walsh – there are teams where things could work out a little better. It would probably take Pujols to stop asking to be an everyday player, a tipping point that clearly turned out to be a problem in Anaheim. But if he could accept a different role and still want to achieve those milestones he’s looking for (and maybe win his third World Series), there are options for him. Here are five potential destinations, in ascending order of possibilities. There may not be a perfect team, but maybe you still have something left in the tank. After all, Pujols has an .878 OPS against lefties this year.

5. Cleveland

Cleveland could benefit from any kind of offensive help, especially from the right side at home plate. Franmil Reyes would seem to have secured the designated hitter spot, but wouldn’t it make at least a little sense to alternate Pujols and Jake Bauer at first base? Again, this is all based on the idea that Pujols would take a supporting role – which is perhaps just something we’re bragging about – but if he’s trying to get to a team in the fight, this would be a great way to do it.

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4. Nationals

This could end up going wrong: After all, the Nationals are in last place, with a record even worse than the Angels. Washington may end up being a “seller” in the middle of the season. That’s likely not what Pujols wants. But, if you’re looking for a team that has proven willing to hire veteran hitters to try and see if they can get a few last drops of production, the Nationals are exactly that club. This is particularly so with the problems that first baseman Josh Bell has had, who throughout his career has struggled against lefties. The Nationals need a move like that. Could that player be Pujols? We also speculate that Juan José Soto would like to have the best hitter of all time born in his country as a teammate. By the way, Pujols’ 1,153 OPS against the Nationals is his best against any team in his career.

3. White Sox

Yeah yeah, the White Sox already said they’re not interested. Manager Tony La Russa, who managed Pujols for the first 11 years of the slugger’s career, said they have no quota. And he is right. But in the first place, the reality is that there is no team that has an obvious place for a 41-year-old hitter – and yet this is what we’re talking about here – and on the other hand, Mercedes is a monster right now, but He’s still a 28-year-old rookie who hasn’t tried anything, rarely walks a walk, had only one MLB at-bite before this season, and surely has pitchers the length and breadth of the American League studying video. yours to see if they find a weak point in you. Will you be able to adjust? Remember, also, that one of the reasons why he never finished arriving before this year was that he was injured a lot. It is always possible for you to get injured. There may be no place for Pujols in South Chicago right now, but if a hole opens up, do you really don’t think La Russa isn’t going to call Pujols right away?

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2. Real

Pujols, as you may know, went to community college in Kansas City and has obvious ties to the state of Missouri. He played current Royals manager Mike Matheny and certainly seemed to share an interest in social work from both the franchise and the ownership group. It’s obvious which team Pujols could close his career with perfectly (where there’s an arc), but if that club says no, the Royals could appeal to the same sentiments. And that would allow him to be BD occasionally and also make one last farewell trip to Busch Stadium.

1. Cardinals

Wow, it’s not hard to explain why Pujols wouldn’t end up in St. Louis. The Cardinals have a first baseman and there is no BD spot for him. This is a team that will be in the middle of a fierce fight for the postseason, without much margin for error. It would be sad to see Pujols hit .178 anywhere, but especially hard to see him hitting here.

But please. There isn’t a single living Cardinals fan who saw Pujols play for St. Louis who doesn’t want to see him again in his No. 5 uniform. Even once. And it’s not that crazy that they can get you a place either. The Cardinals opened the season with a man named John Nagowski, a power right-hander who can only play first base. Things have not turned out well for Nagowski, who is on the disabled list, but the fact that St. Louis opened the season with a player of that class is a sign that they are not completely opposed to the idea of ​​having another. now. And, without offending anyone, John Nagowski is not Albert Pujols.

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Pujols would join a team with Adam Wainwright and Puerto Rican Yadier Molina, with whom he won two World Series, as well as Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, the kind of veterans he has always loved to play with. Don’t you think having those five just talking in the dugout would have tangible value? And if Pujols still has something to come up with with his bat, isn’t this the ideal setting to find that second wind? For a team with World Series aspirations, there has to be a value with the most timely hitter in club history, right?

It would be a risky move, of course: The situation would be very uncomfortable if Pujols failed to hit anything. You don’t want to make up a lot with the chemistry of the team with the best record in the National League and you have to be sure that Pujols is comfortable playing exclusively in the role of Nagowski, something that, according to his ex-manager Joe Maddon, Pujols was not willing to accept. .

But even so, what some see as a situation where the pieces don’t add up, others might see with the stars lining up for the story between Pujols and the Cardinals to have a perfect ending. Pujols could retire in a St. Louis uniform, playing on a team that wants to win a championship. And Cardinals fans could say goodbye to one of the franchise’s historic icons. It’s impossible not to get romantic with baseball. They have to make this happen, right? (GG) (MLB in Spanish)

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